Any endurance race places incredible demands on the horse’s foot. In any 100-mile endurance ride, each foot will average 100,000 steps from start to finish.
As the most challenging 100-mile endurance ride in the world, the Tevis Cup increases those demands. Trail conditions at the ride are incredibly challenging, following narrow mountain trails through remote and rugged wilderness. Horse and rider must endure extreme temperature changes from 40 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, with ascents and descents measuring a combined 37,000 feet. Due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the trail, adequate physical training and preparation for both horse and rider are of the utmost importance. The mountains, although beautiful, are relentless in their challenge and unforgiving to the ill prepared, which makes hoof care choices even more critical.
Endurance rides are overseen and judged by veterinarians, with the horses completing detailed examinations every 10 to 20 miles on each endurance ride to ensure the horses are in top health to continue on in the race. Their metabolic status is assessed, as well as gut health, hydration, back soreness and the horse is trotted out to detect any lameness. If there are any concerns in these areas regarding the health of the horse, the horse will be pulled from the race. With so much attention on the health of the horse, lame horses usually are caught quickly.
There are many hoof protection choices available today for endurance horses and their chosen discipline. From steel, aluminum and composite shoes to a wide…