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

Cavallo Rhythm of the Ride

Patterns of repeated sounds and silences create rhythm.  A rhythm has a steady beat.  Since you have surely listened to music if not also played an instrument or sang, you’re very familiar with the nature of rhythm – long and short beats, fast and slow tempos. A single piece of music can incorporate many different rhythms. Rhythm isn’t man made; like some other patterns, it’s born out of nature.

There is rhythm in falling raindrops, the waves of the tide rolling in, the bark of a dog, the beat of your heart, the pulse in your veins, and the gallop of your horse. The patterns are a movement – be that the movement of sound or things, or both. Rhythm is flowing movement.

When I was first learning to ride I noticed the rhythm of my horse. When I was able to connect to his rhythm the ride was easier. If you connect to their cadence when you’re riding, you give your horse a lot more freedom of movement and fluidity is created. If you can’t, or choose not to realize that rhythm then you force your horse to adhere to your own movement with bits, legs, strength and muscle. I urge you to try not to control him. Give him some freedom. If you can surrender to the natural rhythms of the horse and his nature, riding him is like dancing with your partner. Sometimes to get into the flow of that dance, I find it beneficial to listen to music while riding.

rocking-horse-pencil-school

A great example of connecting to the rhythm of your horse can be seen in the discipline called Dressage Kur. Dressage Kur is a more formal English style of riding where the rider moves together with their horse in a dance movement to music. It is stunningly beautiful.

I’ll never forget the time I was at a reigning competition called Super Slide. It was several years ago and I was at the event with a booth to promote my therapeutic saddle pads. All these western riders were involved and the ride included fast spins, sliding, maneuvering horses in different patterns and showing off their abilities. While it is a more western style, it is based in dressage – control and movement together in a certain rhythm that is trained. At the end of the night, the three dressage riders wanted to show the western riders what they do. One of the dressage riders stopped by my booth. I told her all about my saddle pad designs. She shared with me that her horse seemed really stiff in the shoulders. She was frustrated because he was a big investment that she had flown over from Holland; he was supposed to be a fluid mover. I gave her a saddle pad to try, and to my surprise she tried it in competition right then. Most people don’t put on a new piece of equipment in competition, but she did.

When the rider put on the saddle pad, her horse found that he had freedom of movement in the scapula. He was a big Dutch Warm Blood, bred to perform and move. Saddled up and ready to go, just as this rider started her dance, her horse moved out, realizing he felt freedom of movement for the first time since he had been with her under the saddle she was using. He immediately remembered what he used to do. The rider wasn’t ready for it and she fell off!  Even though I didn’t see it happen, she came back to me at the booth afterward with her saddle pad in hand and with a stern look said, “I fell off my horse.” I felt terrible. Thankfully, she then giggled and went on to say, “All of a sudden I realized that my horse was moving properly the way he was meant to move for the breeding and money I paid to import him. Now I know he can really move and I got what I paid for…but I had to fall off.” That’s the difference that a freely moving horse can make!

The scope of movement is limited for a horse that is hitched in cadence or if you’re not in balance with him. If you’re moving with him and he is free, you can have a lovely dance. But sometimes we have to learn the hard way.

Check out Cavallo Comfort System Saddle Pads: https://www.cavallo-inc.com/?products=shop-saddle-pads

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Kicking Navicular’s Butt!

The idea that working horses can be barefoot is not new. Horses have a long history of barefoot performance and have carried fully armoured men into battle. They have been used for fieldwork, war and performance in their natural barefoot state.

The hoof is a miraculous structure designed with innate intelligence to function as support for the weight of a horse in movement. In its natural state, when a horse’s full weight descends, the hoof is sandwiched between that load and the ground. The hoof spreads apart, allowing the coffin bone to drop, like a trampoline. This is the natural shock-absorbing feature of the hoof. The walls spread (up to 6mm from side to side) and the sole draws flat.

The question is: When metal is nailed in all around, how can the hoof function properly? Where is the shock absorbed? Perhaps it’s absorbed in the sensitive tissue of the hoof or further up the structure of the leg. The proliferation and growing use of products containing glucosamines, MSM and anti-inflammatories is a result of our inadequate understanding of the shock-absorbing features of the hoof. Allowing our horses hooves to function more naturally will show a decrease in their symptoms of pain and discomfort.

Horse Hoof Boots
Coffin Bone

The metal shoe is nailed on with the idea of protecting the hoof, or with no real goal but just because it has always been so. The shoe is nailed on when the hoof is in the air, at its smallest, most contracted shape. Since the metal shoe freezes the hoof in this contracted position, the hoof can not expand and contract with weight-bearing or movement, and there is no room for the coffin bone to properly descend. So as the coffin bone pushes down under the horse’s weight, it bruises the solar corium because the sole cannot draw flat to get out of the way.

The pain caused as a result of bruised solar corium is often sadly diagnosed as Navicular Syndrome. We must ask, “Is it the pressure from the descending coffin bone or is it the damaged bone that is painful?” Under X-rays the bone is shown to be deteriorating. Enlarged holes and passageways through the bone are a result of congested blood.  Lack of circulation causes the arteries to swell, which pushes against the bone, causing deterioration to bone spongiosa. It’s often the lack of blood circulation that is the real cause of bone corrosion. Pain is an additional  result, through irritation of connective tissue, stress on ligaments and tendons, and bruising when bone tissue meets corium.

We call the Vet because our horse is lame, and too often the horse is diagnosed as “Navicular”. However, instead of treating the causeby re-establishing natural hoof function, we treat the symptom: we have bar shoes applied and the horse walks off, supposedly sound. We think the bar shoes are an extraordinary cure, when what is really happening may be just the opposite. Even less circulation! In a normal horseshoe shape the frog will still make some contact with the ground and allow the blood to pump in that area. With a bar across the heel circulation is fully limited. The horse can walk because he cannot feel his feet. His hoof is numb and the internal damage continues.

Pain medication can mask the condition. Surgery is questionably risky. Both have negative side effects. Either way, pulling off the metal shoes and rehabilitating the hoof to perform its natural function is the only way to correct the condition. The choice is yours.

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Happy Birthday to the Fabulous Trek Hoof Boot!

It is with pleasure that I am announcing the first Birthday of our Cavallo Trek Boot!

It’s been a full year since you were first introduced to the new Trek Boot, by Cavallo.   During Trek’s 1st year on the market, you’ve shown your overwhelming delight by providing some incredible feedback. Trek is now Cavallo’s most popular hoof boot   – and here’s what you’re saying about it:

“We find the new Trek Hoof Boot to be a quality product that has been durable and easy to put on.  The option of ordering a slim boot was helpful, especially for our horse’s narrower hooves. Our horse wears the Trek Slim Hoof Boot 24/7 on all 4 hooves. We go on trail rides, as well as do arena work with boots on. Also, the design of the replaceable Velcro strap is practical, as the Velcro usually is the first thing to wear out on boots. With the replacement strap design, simply replace the Velcro strap when it’s worn out.”

- Janice Wallace, Battle Ground, Washington

Thank you so much for your sponsorship of Cavallo hoof boots for the Caravan transcontinental wagon trek.  Our barefoot /booted horses are doing great!!!  We have gone from California to San Antonio Texas and are currently taking a Christmas break.  The boots are amazing and getting a lot of attention as any metal shod horses are only getting about two weeks of wear before needing replacements (even with borium welded on to preserve them) and our Cavallo boots have lots of miles left in them and we are still on the first pair.” 

- Verne Kemble and Connie Challice, Indus, Alberta, Canada: The Transcontinental Wagon Ride

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What makes the Trek Boot truly special is the TPU Pro Mesh upper – It’s made from the same material used to make the Cavallo Boot soles. This powerfully strong material is exclusive worldwide to Cavallo Hoof Boots.   The TPU Pro Mesh upper was created by combining technologically advanced materials – enabling Cavallo to offer your horse the best abrasion resistance and shock protection possible.   So don’t hold back – Trek Boots enjoy a challenge!   This means you and your horse can ride with safety and confidence that your boots will hold up through any terrain you put them through. Breathable, tear proof and incredibly strong,  no glues or adhesives are used in production. And Pro  Mesh is wonderfully easy to care for…simply brush, shake or hose off if required.

More Features Offered by the Cavallo Trek Boot:

-  Ride a lot?  If your Trek Velcro replaceable straps become fatigued, just switch them out to elongate the life of your boots. An extra strap is included with each Trek Boot,  giving you the most value for your money.

-  Soft, flexible, cushioned collar provides ultra comfort for your horse.

-  Ride at night?  Trek boots have highly visible reflectors on the front and back for extra safety if you’re caught out after dark.

-  Honeycombed design optimizes strength and minimizes weight – making Trek a very lightweight boot.

-  The signature Cavallo drainage slots allow your horse surefootedness through any terrain. There is no buildup of mud or debris and boots never become weighted.

Horse Hoof Boots

 As a bonus, you get The Cavallo Best Boot Warranty. In the unlikely event your Cavallos break within the first 6 months / 180 days, Cavallo will repair or replace your boots FREE OF CHARGE. You can rest assured that at Cavallo, we stand behind the quality of our products, taking the stress out of your purchase!

Order online at www.cavallo-inc.com or call our customer service experts to make your Trek order  at  1-877-818-0037

Cavallo Hoof Boots are available at quality tack stores, equine catalogs and websites

When it comes right down to it, a hearty, well-functioning hoof boot means a happy, comfortable horse.  If you’re happy, we’re happy!

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Discover The Ride

Summer is just around the corner so let’s see what’s in store for next season:

There is, on average, 120 rides (!!!) per month organized across the country by ACTHA, the American Competitive Trail Horse Association. Summer trail rides, obstacle challenges and guest ranches are just a few of the treats on their schedule this season. And remember, you have more chances to win a trip to Australia when riding in Cavallo Horse Hoof Boots!!

Best of America by Horseback, the famous Trail Riding Television Show, hosts trail rides to include clinics, music, demos, seminars, cattle drives and even fishing tournaments! They have four events coming up in the next two months.

Horse Hoof Boots

Monty Roberts, the internationally renowned and beloved horse whisperer, runs clinics all year round from his Flag is Up Farm in California. If you can’t make any of these, check out his Equus Online University (the quotes alone on this page are inspirational!)

The Double Dan Horsemanship team are also running clinics throughout May and June. These include ground control, liberty work and working under saddle. Want to bring your four-legged friend with you while you learn? The 2015 Mustang Family Reunion Ride is a one-of-a-kind all inclusive vacation in Raymondville, Missouri. Trial rides, fun activities and clinics for one whole week, to include camp facilities and hot meals. Wow! Click here for more info.

Feel like taking the plunge and really learning what barefoot trimming is all about?  Liberated Horsemanship is running a 5-day Gateway Clinic in Wooster, Ohio in June 2015.More details here.

I also thought I would highlight the following web page:

https://www.thehorseshoof.com/links.html. It gives an outstanding list of links for websites containing information on general barefoot information, barefoot clinicians and professionals, hoof care organizations, barefoot schools / education / training programs, natural boarding and rehab facilities, hoof research, hoof boots, hoof tools, natural remedies, nutrition, horsemanship and tack. Happy reading!

 

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Are You a Sack of Potatoes?

Why is riding the correct way so important? I am often asked why I continue to study this. My first response is to say that I like to improve my skills and better understand both mine and my horse’s body mechanics, but I always follow this up with, “And to ensure I am riding in a way that keeps my horse comfortable”. Humans are notorious for falling into bad habits with posture, driving, lifting, sitting and even how we hump over our desks. Horse riding is no exception.

Many non-horsey people think that horses are so big and strong that of course they can carry us humans around no problem. And weren’t they bred for working and riding? Yes, to a certain extent, humans have interfered with nature and tweaked the genetic pool of horses to ensure particular breeds are improved upon (racehorses, carriage horses, etc). But their long backs and overall conformation lend themselves more to flight than packing a load around.  So it’s up to us to make ourselves an easier burden.

So, what are the short term signs that your horse is uncomfortable under you?

  • Knocking jumps
  • Not tracking up
  • Not collecting
  • Not bending

And the long term effects?

  • We don’t know…… well I am afraid to say…..it’s scary!

There are certainly some signs that your horse is not carrying herself as she should be – like weak muscles in the hind end and lower back. However, other issues could be attributed to this, such as badly fitting tack or sore feet. So how do you know?

Horse Hoof Boots

I’ll give you an example. A lady has a horse that is physically fit and well, and all tack fits correctly. However, when riding, he ‘hangs’ on her hands and will not collect or bend. Having had the tack checked, his back checked and investigated all other avenues, the lady finally decided to get a riding lesson. Within five minutes the instructor declared the horse was not working his hind end and all his effort was being put onto the fore. She explained how the owner needed to intermittently lift her hands to request the horse to left his head (without arching his back), collect himself and thus work his hind end. Within 20 minutes the horse was tracking up and working lightly on the bit, something the rider had not experienced in months.

While this might merely be an example of bad riding to you, it is also a simple lesson for all of us that sometimes we don’t see the little things and it takes an objective outsider to see the obvious and assist with correcting it. We should never stop learning. And we should never stop asking for help.

And remember, good riding will encourage your horse to be strong in the back and hind end, thus resulting in less injuries and a longer life working and playing together.

We all know the axiom “No Hoof, No Horse” – so always keep your horses comfortable with Horse Hoof Boots; and of course, make them Cavallo Horse Hoof Boots.

Horse Hoof Boots