Trail Riding Group Changes Hoof Protection Rule

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Beginning with the 2011 ride year the North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC) will allow in competition all hoof boots designed for sole protection, including those that have attached straps, keepers, or gaiters, as long as these attachment devices do not extend above the pastern. The NATRC is the governing body for the sport of competitive trail riding.

The National Board of Directors voted the rule change in at their Nov. 13. board meeting in Denver, Colo. The restriction of having no hoof protection that extended above the coronet has long been a controversy within the organization especially since technology has progressed, offering an increasing amount of hoof boot options and designs that achieve more effective and reliable fit.

"There have been many recent advances in hoof protection technology," says Laurie DiNatale, the executive administrator for NATRC. "Previously the only hoof boots that were allowed in competition were those that did not cover or come above the coronary band. The new rule will give riders more of a choice in hoof protection during competition."

According to the NATRC, the organization's board of directors, judges committee, veterinarians, and other officials worked over recent years to make a rule that was right for the organization now and in the future. The wording was thought out very carefully, as well as wording for other rules impacted by this change. Leg protection, such as bell boots or wraps, is still not permitted.

These changes will give riders more choices for hoof protection. Judges may, and are encouraged to, check for fit and adjustment as well as rubs or chafes under any boot or its attachment. 

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