Khaleesi has been barefoot for 2 years and riding in ScootBoots very successfully. The boots rarely come off and I have completed some rocky 50 mile rides in them.
One issue I need to sort out is the 40-plus mile rub. The boots do very well without rubbing until I get over 30-40 miles. So far I can finish the 50 mile distance with minor rubbing however I would not want to continue on to a 75 or 100 miler without solving that.
Complicating matters this year is the almost entire year of unusually wet weather which has been a challenge to already soft hooves.
I had been toying with the idea of a composite shoe for a while now for part of the season. My biggest obstacle has been finding someone I trust to put them on.
Not only do most farriers I know not particularly like the composites but I am incredibly particular about who I allow to work on Khaleesi. I’ve worked for years to build her trust and too much is at stake for me to put her into the hands of anyone who will not handle her with respect.
My first order of business was to find someone who has successfully applied the shoes and actually believes they work well. After picking some brains at the OD 100 in June I found a recommendation from a long-time endurance rider who many successful miles and has been using composites for years. He gave me the name of the farrier who has been doing his shoes.
I sent an email inquiry to Travis at Virginia Tech and he was glad to fit us in.
I chose the new easycare flex with side clips and ordered 3 sets of sizes my best guess for fit.
We drove the two hours to meet Travis at the VA-Maryland vet school at Tech. I was very pleased at his way with Khaleesi and she trusted him immediately. She stood calm and still for him to do all he needed in the strange new environment of the farrier barn.
I decide to go with nails (no glue) at this point for a few reasons. I am not likely to ever put a metal shoe back on her but I like the composites. Even with nails they allow the hoof to flex and move and the composite gives better shock absorption than either metal or barefoot. Our wet climate isn’t ideal for glue for a weeks at a time.
Three weeks later I’m pleased with them. Khaleesi is moving great in them and she seems to like them. This was a mid-summer test but I’ve made an appointment to have a new set put on for our next 50 mile attempt.
It’s likely I’ll pull them myself after about 5-6 weeks and leave her barefoot for a few weeks and get her feet trimmed and some breathing and growth. I’ll ride in Scoot Boots in between as I used to.
One of the benefits is the composite shoe can actually be slightly rasped or trimmed with the hoof at least in small increments. The shoe also brings her hoof off the ground which is helpful in the wet conditions this year.
I will update as I try them out in competitions. My hope is they will give me a better option as we eventually move out of 50 miles into 75 and 100.