Ride and Tie

Ride and Tie - A competitive sport

Misty Kale
One horse, two humans, combining riding and running with a mindset for strategy and the body and lungs for endurance.  Read more about this horse, rider/runners sport.  Covers Ride and Tie history, works, and rules.

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Horseshoe Materials Throughout The Years

Misty Kale

The horseshoe goes back thousands of years but not in the way we know it now. Though some of the first horseshoes used by ancient Asian and then Roman riders were made of leather, the technology has changed and developed over centuries to include metal and now even plastic/composite horseshoe materials. century, iron shoes were generally used. With the most changes being seen in the last century, we now have access to a variety of materials meant for a variety of functions.

By 1000 A.D., the use of cast bronze horseshoes was common in Europe and, by the 14th century, iron shoes were generally used. With the most changes being seen in the last century, we now have access to a variety of materials meant for a variety of functions.

Steel vs. aluminum

Most horseshoes are made from steel or aluminum. The material is chosen depending on what function the shoe is going to perform as well as what job the horse will be performing. The material that is chosen will have a large impact on the horses’ performance, overall stability and hoof health. Steel is heavier and very sturdy, while aluminum shoes are lighter but tend to have to be replaced more often. Heavy horses that are driven or worked need a more hard-wearing shoe as do horses that do a lot of high impact work like jumping or trails and may benefit from a sturdier shoe. Horses that spend most of their time on soft footing won’t need to worry as much about having a sturdy shoe and may benefit from a softer aluminum shoe. There are manufacturers that make a rubber-coated steel shoe, which has the benefit of more grip and cushioning for the horse. The structure of the hoof will also play a big part in what kind of shoe the horse can wear. Thin-walled hooves can be softer and may require a different shoe than that of a thicker walled hoof that is naturally harder. Steel shoes will wear down less quickly and you will get longer use out of them where aluminum shoes are softer, wear down quicker and will need to be replaced sooner.

Plastic/composite horseshoes

Plastic or composite horseshoes have been on the market for 20 years or more and are made from a number of composites that are designed to replicate the hardness of a healthy horses’ natural hoof. Some plastic shoes have a steel or aluminum core and some are composite materials only. They can reduce concussion and improve traction.  composite horseshoes with no steel or aluminum core offer significantly more shock absorption for those horses on street surfaces such as the carriage or police horses. They are lightweight and flex with the horses’ foot, come in a variety of sizes to support the hoof structure and can be trimmed by your Farrier for a custom fit. They can be glued or nailed on so they are beneficial to horses with many different hoof structures and also different hoof problems. Composite shoes are durable, lighter weight and can aid in reducing discomfort from a variety of chronic conditions such as ringbone, laminitis and navicular disease. Thermal imaging studies also confirmed improved overall circulation.

There are a lot of options out there and knowing what is right for your horse, and their feet can make all the difference in their performance and overall hoof health.

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Preparing for your Farriers

Preparing for your Farriers

Leslie Batistich1 comment
The horse’s foot is completely surrounded by a substance similar to your fingernail to protect it against having to sustain the wear and tear of having to carry one quarter of your horse’s weight over the varying terrain you may be riding him over. A horse’s foot consists of an outer layer of horn (hoof), inside which is contained the pedal and navicular bones, and the deep digital flexor tendon which is attached to the pedal bone.
The foot also contains the digital pad, lateral cartilages, coronopedal joint, blood vessels, and nerves. The foot as a whole absorbs concussion and by its continuous growth, it is able to replace its striking surface which is lost through everyday wear and tear. As a horse owner, you can help assist your horse in this latter process by choosing the right farrier for your particular horse’s needs. Farriery is one of the most vital of all the professions connected to the horse. If there were no farriers, the entire horse world would just about come to a stop; except for a few fortunate individuals lucky enough to be able to ride always and exclusively on grass, or in an arena completely void of rocks.
Even these folks would find it difficult to keep their mounts sound and true if there were no one to trim, shape, and generally care for their pony’s feet. The best way that I have found to increase my own knowledge of my horse’s feet is to watch my farrier shoe my horses. It will also be to your advantage to pay attention, and actively participate when your farrier comes out. Here are a few things that I always try to do to help out to make the whole process easier. I always let my farrier know in advance if I am going to have any special shoeing needs, or if I have a youngster that is going to be shod for the first time. Horses being shod for the first time should be used to having their feet picked out and be familiar with having the wall and sole of their foot tapped. You should ALWAYS present your horses for shoeing with clean, dry feet and legs. And always provide the farrier with a well lit area, and dry solid footing; undercover if possible. The first time the farrier shoes your horse, let him know how your horse is going and what discipline you use him for: trail, cutting, endurance etc. Assuming the horse is already shod, he will look at the wear of the shoes and the growth of the hoof to determine wear and growth patterns. With your help, the farrier will then determine whether your horse has any problems such as overreaching, stumbling, dragging its toes etc. If such problems are discovered, your farrier will discuss alternative shoeing solutions with you. The above ideas will help you and your farrier develop a relationship that will benefit you both, and more importantly, benefit your horse.  

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Navicular Syndrome

Navicular Syndrome

Leslie Batistich
Navicular syndrome is a critical problem with the riding horse. Navicular is usually suspected when your horse is showing pain in the caudal aspect of its hoof. Typically when this problem is diagnosed the horse owner will not only need to revise the horse’s training program, but will also need to look at corrective shoeing. I have found the composite shoe to be a more than competent corrective shoe for navicular problems. Every horse owner or caretaker should fully understand hoof mechanism, proper trimming, and how it affects the horse’s entire body, health and longevity. Navicular problems are not hereditary. Many horse people may believe that navicular problems are hereditary. Do not mistake this for a hereditary weakness. It is a very common health care problem. Navicular problems are almost always man made through improper trimming, short term or long term shoeing, and/or inadequate natural environment throughout the horse’s life. This type of improper care can cause problems in the navicular area of your horse’s hoof. The navicular bone is located directly behind the coffin bone, held in between the short pastern and coffin bone by tendons and ligaments. The navicular bone has two main functions: To protect the joint and tendons from pressure and concussion; and to act as a valve for blood flow to the coffin bone and corium in the hoof. An insult to this region causes pain and lameness in the horse. When your horse is diagnosed with navicular syndrome by your veterinarian a common drug therapy will normally include isoxsuprine hydrochloride, a drug which causes dilation of the small blood vessels. This is a long course of drug therapy which can become quite expensive. Corrective shoeing is always going to be required in more chronic cases of navicular syndrome. Your horse should be trimmed according to its own conformation and properly fitted with a corrective shoe. The main point is that to be able to continue using your horse, you are going to need to be proactive in making your horse comfortable while he is working. Remember, you are never going to be able to cure navicular problems, you and your farrier can, however, assist in relieving him from pain.

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Performance Horse Shoeing Tips

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No matter what kind of performance horse you might happen to have, cutting, reining, roping, or pleasure, one thing is a constant fact: your horse must be in balance with his body to perform at his optimal level. It is your farrier’s job to trim and shoe your horse to allow for optimal balance. 

I have been lucky with my reining cow horse, Smoke ‘em. He has never needed any corrective shoeing. I simply have my farrier trim him flat and level based on the conformation of each of his legs. I have his feet trimmed short to ensure that he moves naturally. Horses with toes that are too long or heels that are too high do not stride naturally and do not look pretty to the judges. Eventually, excessively long feet cause problems that may require correction and even rehabilitation down the road. You can compare this problem to the human athlete. If a runner wore shoes one size too small, or too large, for even one training session he would feel a lot more stress and strain in the legs than with shoes which fit properly. The same is true for your horse. The most important factor in the shoeing of your performance horse is to have him land level on the ground, You can notice this by observing your horse move at a walk. View him from the front and from the side. Does the inside or the outside of the shoe hit the ground first? Or, does he put the entire hoof down level? If his walk is level, he will most likely lope and trot level also. And, most importantly for cow horses, he will stop level also. If he does not land perfectly level his timing (and yours) will be off. This problem will only get worse as you work him at a quicker pace. Remember, all foot and leg problems intensify as the horse moves faster. The best way to make decisions about your performance horse’s shoeing needs is to watch him move from the ground, and learn to listen to your seat. If you have any tips on shoeing the performance horse please post them here and share your experience.

 

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Barefoot vs. Shoeing

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A common debate in the horse world these days is whether or not to shoe your horse. Of course this can only be answered by knowing what you are requiring of your horse and the current condition of its feet. A horse that is retired and spending his days on pasture has different needs than a competition cutting horse. Other than an occasional hoof trim the pasture horse should be fine going barefoot. The question becomes more complicated when the level of your horse’s activity is raised. One thing that I have noticed is that you rarely see a non-working horse come up lame. I believe that a big part of this is that when we ride we are placing unnatural stresses on the hoof. While it is true that wild horses live out their lives unshod, it is also true that natural selection takes the horses that have weak feet. In addition, the restrictions we place on the horse’s movement in various disciplines are issues which the wild or pasture horse does not have to deal with. For example, when we ride we control the headset of our horse for appearance more often than for function (i.e. pleasure classes), our horses also constantly have to compensate for the weight of the rider above them, which compromises their balance. We also ask them to move in ways that generally affect their overall carriage and hoof placement. Finally, working horses are first and foremost athletes, subject to the same types of injuries as their human counterparts. In the wild, a horse moves freely without a lot of repetitive motion. The working horse is asked to repeat gaits over and over again causing the hoof to strike the same way. In humans, runners in particular, this is called Repetitive Motion Injury. I feel that this sort of disciplined movement is the cause of most hoof problems. I have found that a happy medium between steel shoes and barefoot to be the composite shoe. In a composite shoe or a hybrid composite horseshoe you get the benefits of support and shock absorption, while retaining the flexibility and the circulation of going barefoot.

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Navicular Syndrome and HOOF-it Composite Horseshoes

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Navicular Syndrom Dear HOOF-it Technologies: My mare was diagnosed with “Navicular Syndrome”. One day I noticed that her stride had become short and stabby like. We took her to the vet for a full examination and x-rays and sure enough she was diagnosed with “Navicular Syndrome”. The vet prescribed meds (isoxsuprine) that were given to her religiously but she still seemed too uncomfortable to go back to her regular workouts. After looking on the internet I found your HOOF-it plastic horseshoes and was eager to try them. I bought a pair and gave them to my farrier to put on. My farrier is a bit of a traditionalist and gave me a cross eyed look but after some convincing he went ahead and put them on. Much to our amazement she walked out of the cross ties a different horse. We put her on a line and her movement was night and day. Her short and stabby stride became once again free and long. She has now been able to go back to regular work and has even been shown in the childrens hunters. I know she will never go back to the 3’6 ring but she is comfortable and happy. Who could ask for anything more? Thank you for making a horseshoe that just makes sense! Sincerely, Ann Alexander

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Plastic Horseshoes

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I began using plastic shoes on my draft horse that kicked himself in the side of the foot as his confirmation was base narrow and because of the weight of a steel shoe. In looking for alternatives to protect him from brushing, I found HOOF-it horseshoes in draft size and tried them.   I noticed so much growth in his feet and that he was so much more comfortable , moving more fluid, and yes he stopped brushing and injuring his hind leg. I began to try them on my cross country and event horses and haven't gone back to steel since. The plastic shoes contribute to increased hoof growth. This gives the farrier more hoof to work with if the horse needs correction in his hoof.  The shoe flexes, this creates more circulation in the foot and a healthier foot. The shoe flexes and this protects pasture mates form injury of serious kicks from steel shoes, but protects the using horse from hard surface or stone bruises. I've had one thoroughbred with under-run heels for ten years. With plastic shoes and my certified farrier's expertise in trimming and setting the shoe, he has grown upright heel for the first tine in 10 years! I love plastic horse shoes. People ask if there wear as well as steel. I actually had them re set three times on my draft horse. He weighs about 2500lbs. We were doing trail rides and arena work with him. I think they wear better than steel. Thank you Hoof-It! Christine Amber, owner/trainer www.equestriantraining.com

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Customer Questions on HOOF-it Composite Horseshoes

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Question: I am interested in knowing more about the composite shoes - particularly I am curious if you can get more than one shoeing from them? How long do they last? does the farrier use regular nails? Thank-you, Potential Customer  Natural Flex Plastic Horseshoes Answer: Dear Potential Customer: Thank you for your interest in HOOF-it composite horseshoes. Horses wearing our composite shoes benefit in many ways... Here are just a few: -Light in weight - Shock absorption -Increase of blood flow (see graphic) -Less stress on tendons and joins Our composite shoes are quite durable. The average horse will get at least one reset. I have actually had customers call and tell me that they have reset our shoes 5 times. Although I would never recommend re-setting a shoe that many times... I do hear about it quite often. On the other hand if you are doing highly competitive endurance riding or have working driving horses that are on asphalt all day 5 days a week you will probably only get one shoeing comfortably out of our shoes. As for nails... yes (most) any regular horseshoe nails will work. Regards, Team HOOF-it

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Horseshoe for Mounted Patrol Horses

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Minneapolis Police Mounted Patrol Thank you for your help in addressing the concerns of the Minneapolis Police Mounted Patrol Unit regarding shoes for our horses.When I first contacted you, we were preparing for protests related to the International Scientists of Animal Genetics conference that was being held in our City. We were looking for a shoe for our horses that would provide proper grip on the wide variety of surfaces our horses encounter, as well as flexibility and durability. We received our order in less than a week and our Farrier had no problem putting the shoes on. The test would be how they held up during the protests.During the protests, we had other Mounted Patrol Units from other agencies providing mutual aid. One of the things we noticed immediately was the fact that our horses had much less slipping than the horses from the other agencies that were using steel shoes, barium shoes, or a combination (steel with barium tips). Our horses definitely had much better footing, which was a great advantage!The shoes have been extremely durable while remaining flexible, which is healthier for the hoof. We are very pleased with the performance of your Anatomic and Marathon shoes and plan to continue to use them in the future. Thanks again! I look forward to meeting you soon. Sincerely, Officer Angela M. Dodge Minneapolis Police Department Mounted Patrol Unit Coordinator

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