While I’m not someone who stridently believes that shoes are evil, bits are torture and treed saddles will hurt your horse’s back, when I came back from a hack yesterday, I realized that Freedom certainly looked the part.
He was wearing two Cavallo Simple boots, an LG bitless bridle and a Freeform Treeless saddle.
How did we get there? Well, you’ve all read about our ongoing transition into a shoeless existence. While I’ve found that Freedom is comfortable barefoot when ridden in soft footing, he definitely needs hoof boots when I hit the trail.
The LG bridle was Kroni’s favorite. Every once in awhile I break it out to see if Freedom will tolerate it. Yesterday, I was just going for a short hack with the dogs and I knew I wouldn’t need power brakes. Just as well. I got the same response that I always get when I try riding him bitless: Not much. That is, not much control. Freedom doesn’t dislike the bitless experience, he prefers to ignore it.
My Freeform saddle is my favorite hacking saddle. It is incredibly comfortable for both me and for him. I really like how much “feel” it gives me for his back. Unlike other treeless saddles, the seat gives the feel of a twist (no rotated pelvis) and I can position the stirrups so they are in the right place. I also like that the saddle is extremely light weight.
The boots are working out really well. They are helping make this barefoot experience bearable. I’d still like to try the really cool looking renegade boots or the new Easyboot Gloves, but hey, these were available at the right time for the right price.
In general, I do like the “less is more” approach. No shoes means that none will come off. After a summer of dealing with less than ideal hooves, I’m glad that I don’t have to keep looking behind me to see if I left one in the mud. I like the idea of bitless so that my horse can stop and graze (but I will admit that Freedom vastly approves his snaffle). And I like the extremely close contact feel of the treeless saddle (which is so much more comfortable than riding bareback).