Ivory's Story - a Barefoot Tennessee Walking Horse

Ivory being ridden by our bare foot trimmer

Overcoming Neglect and Abuse

We purchased Ivory from a breeder in McEwen TN in 2014, bringing her out of a life of abuse and neglect and into one of love and care. She was petrified of men handling her, as her former owner bragged that none of his horses kicked , because he took a 2x4 to the ones who did. Apparently, she was a beneficiary to this 2x4 "training technique". She was especially afraid of men handling her hooves, as this was 

when the "training technique" would take place. 

For the first year of her new life, our female bare foot trimmer was the only one that Ivory was comfortable with when it came to her hooves. Because of the neglect she had suffered, her hooves were weak and she became tender on rock, requiring protective hoof boots when being ridden. Over that year, she gradually regained her trust towards men, eventually allowing our male farrier to handle her hooves. 

Ivory's hooves before and after being shod with composite shoes

Shoes, Hoof Boots and Barefoot

As Ivory's training progressed, she became not only one of the schooling horses, but also part of the endurance team. As she became healthier and more comfortable, her true personality showed. Her sweet and affectionate attitude and her smooth gaited made her a favorite among riders. In 2015, she successfully completed her first limited-distance endurance ride, while wearing Easyboot Gloves and Epics.

Unfortunately, it became obvious that her soles were too thin to handle being barefoot out in the pasture during winter, when mud and freezing temperatures created a rock hard footing. After consulting with several veterinarians and performing x-rays, it was clear that she would benefit from being shod. At first we used steel and aluminum shoes, but eventually we experimented with composite shoes. During this time, she successfully completed another limited-distance endurance ride in 2016, while wearing shoes.


Barefoot and Pregnant....

For a decade, we had refused to breed any of our mares; however, Ivory is a perfect example of what Tennessee Walkers were classically bred to be. Forget the high-steps you see at shows, classic Tennessee Walking horses are bred to have a smooth ride without the need for specialized heavy shoes and pads. She has the proven herself to have the endurance, smooth natural gait, wonderful conformation, and sweet willing personality that defined the breed in the old days. Since we currently do not support the TWHBEA and their passion for Big Lick (high-step) training, we decided to breed her to a racing Standardbred stallion in order to produce a smooth Singlefooter (racker). While we sadly lost the first foal in 2017, we are looking forwards to the full sibling in 2018. In the future, she is likely to be the mother of palomino gaited mules , as we have started to fall in love with gaited mules for their strength, smoothness and stamina!

She is now a barefoot horse again, but wears Easyboot Clouds and RX boots while in turnout on frozen ground, and is back in her Easyboot Gloves while being ridden. We are very thankful for the new products out there that can be used in place of steel shoes!

Eventually, she may return to endurance competition. However, right now she sure seems to be enjoying the life of slow weekend horseback riding Nashville,  and snuggling with children and foals.