Read our blog tips, tricks, and what you need to know about Barefoot Equestrian Riding and keeping your horse healthy.

Ride Your Way to the Equine Lifestyle Festival in Australia!

The team at Cavallo Horse & Rider wants to make sure YOU are entered in ACTHA’s draw to win a free week-long trip to Australia and the Equine Lifestyle Festival this November! (Here’s more on what’s happening at the festival – briefly!)

Horse Hoof Boots

If you love horses and have got the travel bug, this trip of a lifetime will introduce you to the exciting equine culture “Down Under” and offer you a glimpse of Australia’s stunning terrain. Enjoy the carefree Aussie culture, savor a shrimp off the Barbie, see the Joeys bounding freely…but watch out for those Crocs!

Included in the prize package for a lucky winner and their guest:

• Free return coach Airfare and hotel accommodation

• Free tickets to the 3 day Equine Lifestyle Festival

• Free return train tickets from Sydney to Hawksberry.

Here’s how you can enter to make it happen…

• You will be automatically entered in the draw each and every time you ride in the Open or Pleasure Division of an ACTHA Arena Challenge or ACTHA Trail Challenge.

• You will also receive an extra entry if you receive a Cavallo Judges Pick Award at any ACTHA event.

• Use your Cavallo Hoof Boots to increase your chances of winning! Just dress your horse up in Cavallo Boots and ride in any ACTHA event to be entered once more in the draw!

• Get another entry by hosting an ACTHA event (AOC or CTC)! Gain an extra entry for each and every event you host!

*The ACTHA Ride Year ends May 31st – so time is running out for a chance to win this trip “Down “under”!

For more information on how you can win the coolest draw of 2015, check out these links:

Read more:

  Horse Hoof Boots

Dakota Memorial Ride


“The horse is sacred; they come from the sun….” – Lakota tribute to the Horse Nation.

December 2014 saw more than 45 riders take part in a 16 day, 330 mile journey, barefoot. The event is the Dakota Wokiksuye Memorial Ride, also referred to as the Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride, and commemorates the largest mass execution in U.S. history – the hanging of 38 Dakota people in 1862. How awful.

The ride began in 2005 and promotes reconciliation between Native Peoples and non-Native people. Other goals include providing healing from historical trauma, remembering and honoring those who died, bringing awareness of Dakota history and promoting youth rides and healing. With dozens of businesses, several churches and hundreds of volunteers donating to the ride, peace and inclusive community opportunity are foremost objectives during the trip.

Cavallo Horse & Rider Horse Hoof Boots

Native Americans didn’t believe in shoeing their horses. They were, and many are, fantastic horsemen with horses that run over all types of terrain and eat nothing but local native grasses. Horses transformed the lives of the Native Americans, enabling them to hunt better and carry supplies. They were used to move villages, explore new territory and in warfare. They were seen as a status symbol and a system of currency and wealth amongst their peers.

The bond between rider and horse is a spiritual one: “Native peoples forged spiritual relationships with the Horse Nation. Plains tribes embraced the horse as a brother in the spirit and a link to the supernatural realm, and incorporated the horse into ceremonies. Embodiments of beauty, energy, and healing power, images of horses on ceremonial objects represent these spiritual connections. Horse visions are still reported by traditional believers who seek knowledge and strength through fasting. Although visions are intensely personal, some may be shared through song, performance, and art.” – quote taken from

You and I love our horses and I personally can always find strength with them when I need it. Historically, they have given us courage. So this is just a little reminder that in all its gruesome memories, the Dakota Memorial Ride invites us to consider that we can still refer to a little Native American wisdom in our horse relationships.Horse Hoof Boots

Monty Roberts on Barefoot Horses

“Nature will dictate the angle that is appropriate for the leg conformation that it compliments. The surface of the earth will do a better job of trimming than any trained farrier could ever do. The absence of shoes will tease and condition the foot to grow and produce the strongest possible tissues so as to sustain soundness” – Monty Roberts

I read this quote recently from an article written by Monty Roberts, one of my good friends and favorite horseman. I thought it was a beautiful reminder of nature and natural hoof care.

Did you know that in 2003, Monty put the barefoot ‘theory’ to test? He was asked to pay tribute to the American Mustang at the Rose Parade Festival in Pasadena, California. Monty took six wild mustangs and placed them in training. Three of them were from the Bureau of Land Management, the Federal Agency that is in charge of the wild horses on public lands. The other three were captured on Indian reservations and given to Monty by the New Mexican Horse Project. Monty and his team spent six months preparing the horses to ensure they were ‘bomb proof’. All of this was done with no violence and NO SHOES.

Previous years had seen horses take part in the parade with shoes covered in rubber or borium to stop the animals slipping. Monty was constantly warned about the dangers of possible slips on the pavement, unlevel surfaces and thrown shoes.

Monty and his team were proud to complete the five-mile parade with no slips, signs of lameness or discomfort, and no significant cracks or chips at the end of their six months training. Officials present at the conclusion of the parade were astonished at the fantastic condition of the horses and these hooves

Horse Hoof Boots

Would you like to hear more about Monty’s barefoot discoveries? If so, please go ahead and like this post and I will arrange to share more of Monty with you.

Cavallo Horse and Rider Horse Hoof Boots and Saddle Pads

Toe First, Heel First or Flat…Which is Best?

By Carole Herder

I was wrong and Today is a Good Day.

It’s always a good day when I learn something new. Today, I have an opportunity to practice what I preach. You know, I am a big advocate of changing through education. More education means more opportunity. Think of all the things we are learning in science, medicine, behavior, environment and just the way things work.

When nailing metal shoes onto horse’s feet was thought to protect them, we did the right thing and nailed away. Smoking was considered elegant. Bottled formula was better nourishment than breast milk. Of course, I could go on.

So, let’s talk about horse’s hoofs. I have promoted heel first landing in my educational presentations for the past ten years. From what I had learned, this hoof mechanic made the most sense. The heel lands first, the frog makes contact with the ground to spread those heals and draws the sole flat to get out of the way of the descending bone column. It works.

Yet, lately I have pondered conflicting evidence and have seen horses landing both toe first and heel first and consequently the proponents of both suggesting that this is the correct landing. Landing flat was considered cumbersome…like a ski boot. But here’s the thing, horse hoofs are live tissue. They are flexible and when properly functioning expand under weight, especially when landing on a strong flat surface as a counter effect.

Toda,y I learned that landing flat is the best way of going for our beloved beasts and I am happy to pass this beautiful video on to you so you can see for yourself. Steve Hebreck of The Enlightened Equine does a fantastic job showing you the difference between toe first, heel first and flat:

Cavallo Horse Hoof Boots and What is the proper way for a hoof to land on the ground.

Cavallo Horse Hoof Boots facilitate this miraculous process by providing the counter effect of a flat surface while providing 100% hoof protection and allowing the horse’s hoof to function as nature intended.

Hay Facts

By Carole Herder

What, how and when you feed your horses is a very popular topic of conversation for us equine owners. Which type of hay? Where do I feed? How do I feed? How much feed? How often? I could write a realm of essays just on this subject but let’s tie it down to just a few simple ‘hay facts’ to start with.

What is quite vital to the nutrient values and quality of the hay is the stage of growth the grasses or legumes are in at the time when the hay is cut. Also the time of day and month of cutting can have a significant difference on the percentage of fructans stored in the hay (critical when feeding laminitic or insulin resisting horses). Other factors that can affect nutritional value include plant species, fertility of soil, harvesting methods and curing time.

Cavallo Hoof Boots and Equine Nutrition

The nutritional value of hay is related to leaf content. The leaves of grass hay have more nutrients and are more digestible when the plant is immature and growing, and more fiber when the plant has reached full growth. Legume leaves, by contrast, do not have the same structural function and don’t change much as the plant grows, but the stems become coarser and more fibrous.

It is rare to see horses have access to free choice hay, but this is one of the recommendations for keeping horses more naturally. If you leave a horse in a grass field, they have free choice grass, so why not free choice hay? I personally, don’t think horses would have a grassy paddock in the wild and would not get the amount of grass they would domestically. They are scavengers out there, eating shrubs off the sparse, arid tundra. Anyway, I like to see them work for their food a little so a great piece of horse equipment is the small-hole hay net. These can be spread around a track system ensuring slower eating and enticing movement in the hunt for that feeder, thus reducing the possibility of horses being overweight (we’ve all seen those grass bellies in summer!).

Coupled with the varying soil qualities, harvesting procedures, crop maintenances and geographical locations, although opinion varies here are some simple hay descriptions:

Alfalfa – easy to digest and high in protein, energy, vitamins and minerals.

Bermuda – when poor in quality, can be thought to cause impaction in horses so buyer beware (In fact, in all of this – buyer beware. Examine your hay and know it’s origin).

Clover – normal when very dry looking, often mixed with grass hay, be careful it doesn’t get damp as the mold can make horses sick.

Oat – thicker, tougher stalks so can take a while to chew (some horses may not like it), not a good option for insulin resisting animals.

Orchardgrass – not as nutrient rich as some other hays but is high in fiber.

Tall Fescue – can be damaging to pregnancy in mares.

Timothy – easy to digest, high in fiber and nutrients and low in calcium content, can be more expensive.

Ryegrass – commonly used in some areas but produced mainly for cattle due to higher starch/sugar content.

Don’t forget, because of the single-chambered stomach and cecum (hindgut) of the horse, they use bacterial processes to break down cellulose and thus are more sensitive to changes in feeds and the presence of molds or other toxins. They need a more consistent type and quality of hay. Grass hays are safe to feed free-choice but hays such as alfalfa or clover are legume hays and may be too high or out of balance in some minerals and proteins to be fed that way. I prefer more grass to legume, but a mix can work well for most horses.