Don’t panic when you watch defending Olympic silver medalist Peder Fredricson’s H&AM All In in the upcoming show jumping competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The bay, the only horse to jump all six rounds of competition cleanly five years ago in Rio, did not lose a shoe.
He doesn’t have any.
H&M All In, along with Swedish teammate King Edward (ridden by Henrik von Eckermann), will compete without shoes in Tokyo.
H&M All In began competing barefoot in April and is part of a growing group of horses performing at the top levels of the sport with “non-invasive forms of hoof protection.” Names like Christian Ahlmann (GER), Simon Delestre (FRA) and Julien Epaillard have also taken the shoes off some of their top horses.
Henrik Von Eckermann began showing King Edward barefoot in March. The duo was part of a unique statistic at CSIO5* Doha that month. In one class, three of the top five finishers were ridden without shoes.
Not all horses without shoes are completely barefoot, as some compete in hoof boots, but they most definitely are shoeless.
According to von Eckermann, it was mandated quarantine and the temporary shutdown of competitions in Europe that led to his experimentation with hoof care. He told World of Showjumping in May, “…I was curious to see how they move and if anything changes in the way they feel. Also, being without shoes results in a natural trimming, which can help the blacksmith to optimise [sic] the shoeing […] Every horse is different. I always try to keep an open mind because I believe that in our sport we are never really fully learned – every day is another lesson.”
Uniquely, H&M All In and King Edward will make up two-thirds of the Swedish show jumping squad in Tokyo—the “Shoeless Swedes,” if you will.
Regardless of footwear, these combinations are serious contenders in both team and individual competition. Show jumping in Tokyo gets underway Tuesday, August 3, following the First Horse Inspection on Saturday, July 31.