There has been a question bouncing around my head of late and I am uncertain in my future path. Knowing the large base of experience and diversity in this forum I will air my thoughts and pose my question.
Ever since I’ve had Sterling, it’s close to 5 years now, we had ridden barefoot. He has great hooves; I have a fantastic farrier who does beautiful work keeping Sterling hoof healthy, well balanced, and trimmed. Other than the occasional gravel grumbles we have been fine riding without shoes. We schooled training jumps, done all our shows through Novice barefoot and have felt we could compete at training barefoot as well (I’ve seen others do this).
So why the question or request for thoughts. Every now and then I get comments from my dressage trainer that having shoes would make him…fancier…at dressage and that it would help in his forwardness. Right now I am stuck in dressage. My trainers want to see more energy and roundness and it seems I can get either roundness or forward energy, not both (sigh). I was happier where we were, but I also understand why we need to advanced in our frame.
I feel that it is me and I am trying to address that, but would shoes help his movement thus help being more forward (and round) with contact? Only once have we ever slipped on course and even in the worst mud/footing conditions at Chat Hills last years he made it work well. How important are shoes in riding BN/N/T? The base question is, should I shoe or not*. How important are they when your farrier says that they are not needed for any hoof issues. This is a big jump in expenses and I just don’t want to do it because its the thing to do, I will do it knowing that I am helping him be better and thus I can learn to be a better rider.
- Sterling is @ 14 yo gelding, we think an Andalusian Warmblood (spitting image of a Lippazaner) or may have Connemara in him. He’s my International Horse of Mystery. Trained to 2nd Dressage before I took him over to the dark side he seems to have embraced jumping whilst spitting on his dressage roots.