A total of 6 feet, 2 human and 4 horse, will need to traverse 100 miles of mountain wilderness in Northern California for the Tevis Cup in August.*
The human feet are easy. I will wear the same shoes that got me through 250 miles of the Wild Coast of South Africa last October.
But the horses were provided for that race. Complete with shoes. Now I am responsible for preparing my equine partner. Each of her feet will hit the ground somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 THOUSAND times (give or take a few thousand and assuming an average BPM of around 75 over an optimistic 17 hours).
Currently she wears a simple steel shoe. Training last weekend, we climbed a trail that had sections of steep rock and there was slippage. My approach so far has been, ‘if it’s working, don’t mess with it.’
Anyone reading this who isn’t horsey is probably thinking, ‘there’s more than one kind?’ While you horse people are undoubtedly nodding to yourself and thinking, ‘well I use (__insert your favorite shoe/boot__).’ There are VOLUMES written about shoeing of the horse. And as many options and variations and opinions as there are riders. Barefoot. Nail on. Screw on. Glue on. Steel. Aluminum. Plastic. Boot.
Back to the issue at hand. What to put on the Mare’s feet. I stick stuff to other stuff for a living so naturally the composites engineer part of me is attracted to plastic glue on shoes like the FLEXX with grABS TECHNOLOGY! It has comparative charts! And GRIT!
Or maybe I need a sciencey metal shoe solution complete with supporting data like the Razerhorse shoe and ProPad, “…a line of flexible steel horse shoes and polyurethane hoof pads that mimic the natural function of the hoof while still offering protection.”
Or maybe I’ll just see how a simple rim shoe does this weekend at Descanso….
*Assuming all goes well, we qualify, stay sound, and complete (fingers crossed). Heck, I’m not taking any chances putting an assumption of completion or even making it there in writing! Hear that universe?? No jinx!