Laurie Corles First Endurance Ride

Laurie and her half Arab/Saddlebred Mare, Splash.

   “Exhilarating” and “intense” are probably the best words to describe my first experience at endurance riding. The ride was fast-paced and required my constant attention.  A few times I found my mind wandering or relaxing a little too much and was jolted back to reality by a sharp turn onto the next trail.  Even at the vet check around the halfway point, diligence was required in keeping our horses hind ends away from the crowd of other horses and riders.

   Yes, it was intense and exhilarating and so much fun!  Thanks a million to Kirt and Gina for allowing me to share their campsite, their trailer, their spirited Polish Arabian mare, Spin, and all that goes with the endurance ride experience.  They were so great – all I had to do was show up.

   I first met Kirt and Gina Lander when I suddenly came to the realization that putting iron shoes on a horse’s beautiful, natural feet is horse abuse.  After reading the book A Lifetime of Soundness by DR. Hiltrud Strasser, I decided that my mare’s shoes had to come off.  I called Kirt, who was highly recommended by a horse-loving friend, and had him look at my mare’s feet (Kirt trims in the Mustang style, Ed.).  Within 2 weeks of reading the Strasser book I had moved my mare to a natural boarding facility, had her shoes pulled and had her hooves trimmed toward the natural hoof form.  I have not regretted that decision.  I only wish I had known enough to do it sooner, and I won’t make the same mistake with her two-year-old filly.  This filly will never have iron shoes nailed to her feet, and I’m confident she can become a performance barefoot horse.

   Having barefoot horses is more work for the horse owner, because it isn’t just about the trim.  I have learned from Kirt, Gina and others, that proper nutrition, hoof maintenance, and the right living conditions are all important to the health of a horse’s hooves.  Shoes can disguise bad care for quite a long time.  Eventually, however, it catches up with us.  Barefoot is about the whole horse and what’s best for this wonderful creature, and it takes research and diligence and constant attention to their well-being.   Having seen first-hand what four barefoot horses were able to do in Wickenburg last weekend, however, I know it’s the right thing for my equine friends.

Laurie's mare Splash with her never to be shod filly, Jazzie.

Copyright 2004,  Kirt Lander