“I wedge-padded him and frog-supported him his whole 11-year career in which he competed heavily and even won several FEI-level competitions. This is a simple summary of what you need to do for positive results.Find Your Barefoot Guidance. During that time, I specialized in teaching owners, mostly women, to trim their personal horse (s). But when we ask if a horse can go barefoot… Maybe we need to phrase the question differently. Check out Jay DeHart on FB for more great practical advise on your horses overall wellness. These range from improving the health, shape and quality of your horse's feet, to less obvious benefits, such as endurance riders noting improved heart rates and recovery times in their barefoot horses, as well as fewer concussion injuries. In six months to a year, your horse will have essentially grown new feet. It is only fair, if you wish to ride your horse during this period, that you give him the protection on hoof boots, ideally with pads for extra comfort. The best time to go barefoot with your horse is when you’re ready with a plan of action and a team behind you who are focused on success. It requires both an adjustment period and hoof protection in the form of hoof boots. Some barefoot practitioners provide an exchange system to make this less costly. “He has a tendency toward thin soles, low heels, and long toes,” she explains. In the end, this is really the ideal, because it gives you the flexibility and satisfaction of taking responsibility for your own horses feet. I was a professional trimmer working in Delaware for six years. But, keep this conversation brief, trimmers are busy and you will need to tell the complete story at your first meeting anyway. Also, if you have X-rays of the feet, now is a great time to offer to email or text them to the trimmer. The story: M&M is a horse Summers feels wasn’t a good candidate to go barefoot, even with boots. get personal instruction and hands-on experience of trimming. Proponents of the barefoot side range from those who believe that many, if not most, horses will do just fine going barefoot to “all natural” equine advocates who disapprove of barns, blankets and grain feeding. Try to be as calm as possible and don’t use this time as “training time” or “feeding treats” time, this is the time for the horse to stand quietly as we get some work done. Really, it’s not the ground, or the time of year that matters. Not only does movement increase circulation in the feet, it also toughens the sole and provides for natural wear of the hoof. If so, move on, find another trimmer. This causes pain and distortion of the hoof, in varying degrees from mild to extremely severe cases of laminitis. Different Barefoot Trims: Our Hoof Care Journey Most trimmers charge a higher fee for the initial or setup trim on your horse. Different Barefoot Trims: Our Hoof Care Journey, The Importance of Natural Horse Hoof Care, Hoof Boots: A Revolution In Horse Hoof Protection, The Horse Diet and its Importance in Hoof Care, The Natural Trim: The Solution For Healthy Horse Hoof Care. You must have a good, balanced foot to start with before you can expect the horse to go barefoot and keep a healthy, sound foot. we will set a date and time for the next trim. If we do have to order boots, they will probably show up in a week or two and I will return to properly fit them and show you how to use them if you aren’t familiar. The internet provides an enormous amount of information, although discrimination is necessary. If you give up and go back to shoes, how can you ever know what potential healing could have taken place if you'd stuck it out? The Importance of Natural Horse Hoof Care Click here for more details. A must read excellent article found in The Thoughtful Horseman for any one that’s new to Natural Hoof Care and Protective Horse Boots, such as Easyboot Gloves and Bares by EasyCare. Barefoot Horse - diet How long does barefoot transition take? We discovered Paddock Paradise (left) as an alternative way of managing land for horses, and we have found it to be a great success. There are many advantages to going barefoot. I think I just found the topic for my next blog! Our Paddock Paradise If you decide to to inform yourself, then your guidance comes in the many forms of information available on barefoot and natural trimming. Your trimmer should be able help you throughout this process. Successfully going barefoot with you horse takes getting a combination of things right. EasyCare-June 17, 2010. The natural trim always respects the integrity of the hoof, but after removal of the shoes you should leave a slightly greater height and width of hoof wall to give your horse more protection while his feet are recovering. She has worked with all kinds of horses using natural horsemanship methods for 12 years, and has been writing even longer. Part 1 covers everything on the ground, from handling to the lungeing technique that develops strength, straightness and engagement. When going barefoot, we have to find the best balance between healthy feet and good condition. First, I will pull the shoes from all the feet and then begin trimming. There are explanatory videos and descriptions of how to trim, as well as e-books such as HHT's Simple Seven-Step Natural Trim which provide an important detailed reference guide that you can follow and go back to whenever you need to while learning to trim. After all, to shoe or not to shoe is a conscious decision riders get to make when it comes to their horse’s welfare; it appears the USEA, USEF, or FEI do not have rules regarding shoeing. We can discuss movement issues and pathology. If your horse is sensitive to begin with, far better that he be turned out with boots, and get his feet working again the way they should, than stood in a stable.Above Allâ¦ Be Patient! 558. It may also create hooves capable of supporting a horse--with rider--over most types of terrain. So, you get the name of a great local trimmer and you finally get up the nerve to call, what should you expect? The Horse Diet and its Importance in Hoof Care At this point I will start telling you what issues I see in the feet, such as Founder, thrush/fungus in the frogs, thin soles, uneven loading, cracks etc. AANHCP headquarters Paddock Paradise. Now it’s time to measure the feet or fit your horse for boots. Daundra Becker is a freelance writer, mom of three little ladies, and horse-lover from the US. All blog comments are checked prior to publishing. I think you should try going barefoot, but if … No trimmer should just leave you hanging without clear answers to what it will take to get your horse sound and comfortable being barefoot. If your horse has been shod for a long time, or at an early age, he may well have long and/or under-run heels (when the heels grow down at a shallow angle, sloping towards the toe), which will very probably also be contracted (close together due to the constriction of shoes) to a greater or lesser degree. Starting your search for answers while your horse is sore is a horrible position to be in. Unless you are an endurance rider, it is unlikely that the amount of time you work your … For the initial trims, you will want to be even more careful than usual about how much hoof you remove. Of course, the amount of work they do is also a major factor. Equip Your Horse With Hoof Boots for Protection. Also, let your trimmer know if you have any strength or hand issues that may limit your ability to use boots. The most obvious step in going barefoot is, of course, taking off your horses shoes. It is never too late to go barefoot, and your horse will thank you for it! See Different Barefoot Trims: Our Hoof Care Journey for more on this important distinction. This is actually great news as it shows your horse is responding to the new barefoot lifestyle. Just enter your details below to join. Share. You can also find comprehensive information of all aspects of natural hoof care, such as diet, lifestyle, and protection on this site.Remove the Shoes! So many people have been through wonderful experiences with horses, whether in training or otherwise. Twitter. She has an established trimming business and has a special interest in equine rehabilitation. Shoes fundamentally inhibit the healthy functioning of the hoof, no matter what comfort or support they may appear to give. So, in the initial call you will likely just need to let the trimmer know your contact information, the location of the horse(s), if there will be shoes to pull, any major pathology such as Founder, if you currently have hoof boots and set a time and date. Now, finally we get to the actual shoe pulling and trimming. ‘Is the damage to this hoof irreparable?’ ‘Is an external metal support structure the best way to solve this problem’ Even a simple ‘Why does this horse need shoes?’ would be good. The question that you have to ask yourself is, how long do you want to sentence your horse to pain with every step? For more about it see: Even if you don't make a Paddock Paradise, the less time you can have your horse standing in a stable, the better for his feet. In the natural hoof care world, opinions differ as to whether hoof boots are necessary in the long term for barefoot horses, but most experts are now undivided as to the importance of providing protection for your horse's feet during the transition period when going barefoot. hi i just wondered what ur opinions were , on horses that are barefoot and is it possible for a horse that was once barefoot , to have his shoes taken off and go barefoot again, or does putting the shoes on ruin there feet so they will always need shoes from then on? Goodbye shoes! If I did pull shoes, I will likely do only a light clean up trim and ask that I return in a couple of weeks to do a complete trim. It can only be rebuilt by stimulation and movement, and your horse's lifestyle has to provide enough of this. Horseshoes only harm the hoof, weaken it, and cause harm. Like when circulation returns to numb fingers, when this happens to your horse's feet after going barefoot, it is often very painful. “In order to keep a horse in work and barefoot, the (arena or riding) footing needs to be forgiving—free of rocks and not too abrasive,” says Dryden. Hoof Boots: A Revolution In Horse Hoof Protection This strength is necessary for soundness, good movement, and healthy hoof function. When you are going barefoot with your previously shod horse, initially his feet will probably lack internal structural strength. Most feet are going to be sore for a while after you pull the shoes -- fronts much more than hinds, because they carry more of the horse's weight. So, for today, my hard work is done. So start by removing only a moderate amount of heel height, and with each subsequent trim you can take them a little lower. It’s not just that we’re asking the wrong questions, often we’re looking at the wrong problem. Barefoot was a chestnut horse with a white star and snip bred by George Crompton in Yorkshire. Are we trying to find a way for a horse with a collapsed hoof to perform beyond it’s physical capabilities, or are we trying to find a way to heal t… For some horses it may be easy, for others it will involve a longer rehab period. By. It works on the principle of providing, instead of fields, a network or circuit of fairly narrow lanes, that encourage the horses to move much more than a rectangular paddock. Jul 23, 2020 - What is the healthiest way to take care of horse hooves? The discomfort in the feet caused by a high sugar diet is often masked by the numbing effect of shoeing, although the damage is of course still being done, but after going barefoot the sensitivity will come to light, and your horse may become very sore in his feet on a long term basis, unless you minimize his sugar/starch intake. Background. In this case it is sensible to avoid riding your horse until he becomes more comfortable, indeed most horses going barefoot will benefit from a period of rest while they are making the transition. But for many, especially those with hidden metabolic issues, the process can take a bit longer. First off, I hope no trimmer ever scolds anyone for having a shod horse. Pinterest. Good luck with your new barefoot lifestyle! This is actually great news as it shows your horse is responding to the new barefoot lifestyle. Your horse will be tender over hard terrain and needs time to adjust. There are many ways to encourage this movement and make it interesting for your horse, but the basic idea is simple, and feasible for most people to install. Likely, I will not have boots for your horse in my truck so we will be placing an order. You get out of the experience what you put into it. Linkedin. So if your horse can’t be in a pasture, moving around with other horses, I suggest exercising him daily for at least an hour. The Natural Trim: The Solution For Healthy Horse Hoof Care Don’t fly spray your horse prior to the trimming, I end up wearing that fly spray the rest of the day and it’s not as appealing as you might think. While much of the success from using barefoot to rehabilitate navicular horses is spread by word of mouth from horse owner to horse owner and farrier to farrier, research projects are beginning to be conducted around the world, adding validity to these claims. HHT's free monthly newsletter, giving you wide-ranging insights into holistic horsemanship. This sensitivity normally subsides within a month or two, but can take much longer with some horses. Take aways for both the horse owner and the trimmer. What to Expect When You and Your Horse Go Barefoot Going barefoot with a natural trim and boots for riding, is not without its twists, turns and bumps in the road. Ok, you got through the phone call and it’s the day of your first appointment, now what? Anyone who helps lots of horses return to a barefoot condition, comes to recognize that horseshoes (plus infrequent trimming due to shoeing) do damage the feet. Don't expect to do more than three horses per day at first, then build up slowly as you get stronger and better with the tools. One little secret is that your horse may need one size and style of boots at the start of the transition and a different size or style later. Spillers’ equine nutritionist Clare Barfoot provides one H&H forum user with some helpful advice on how to feed a barefoot horse for optimum health Going barefoot (as the result of a correct trim and combined with compatible living conditions) may be the way to make bad hooves better, and even excellent. The hooves will very probably gradually change shape as they recover from the distortion caused by shoeing, and it will be necessary to change his boot size accordingly. In the summer a little shade is always appreciated and in the winter can we please get out of the wind? Most barefoot horses are on a four to six week trim cycle but this may be as short as two weeks if pathology demands it or as long as eight to ten weeks if the horse is using its feet and shows the need for more infrequent trims. Hoof boots can help to make this difference when you are riding (even on a soft surface), and if your horse is particularly sensitive after going barefoot, you may even consider leaving his boots on during turn-out initially, provided they are comfortable and secure enough to do so. So very well said. Smith says, “I think more horses could go barefoot than people think or allow,” and she encourages folks who have horses with quality hooves to consider barefoot hoofcare. Well, let’s talk about what will likely happen when you do make that call and hopefully ease your anxiety. We have been conditioned to believe that shoes are beneficial and necessary for a fully functioning horse, and that they are a simple necessity for those horses with, for example, flat feet, small feet, thin soles, sensitivity, and so on. However, the simple, unavoidable fact is that shoes are in no way beneficial for any horse's hoof, nor for the rest of his body. Email. Age of the horse also figures into the equation somewhat and for me, to a small extent, the breed of the horse. Successfully switching a horse from being shod to going barefoot can’t be accomplished overnight. Most trimmers will charge to return and do this work. Here’s a few things that will make the day go better: please be at the barn on time, with your horse caught and ready to go. If you are confident enough, and prepared to educate yourself, it is perfectly possible to do your own trimming. Certain horses are better suited to being barefoot than others. How To Train A Horse Without Force is a unique guide to training horses through energetic connection and gymnastic training. They cover up issues in the hoof that can be rectified and healed with time and proper natural hoof care. If your horse has solid, healthy hoof walls and thick soles, he’s likely to find it easier to go without shoes than one with less healthy feet. Comes with a free eBook supplement on Horse Trauma. Click here to see back issues of The Whole Horse newsletter. Horses in all horse sports are competing and winning in their chosen field and going shoeless. The damage that is done by shoeing can be profound, especially if the horse was shod at an early age, or for a period many years. It is also perhaps the biggest obstacle if you are undecided about going barefoot, especially when your horse has - apparently - become dependent on being shod. If the horse needs to see it’s buddy, have the other horse nearby. You now have a barefoot horse and hopefully a new healthy lifestyle. There are some very useful books, for example by Jaime Jackson and Pete Ramey. In fact, most horses would be much healthier with a significantly reduced proportion of grain in their diet. Taking this holistic approach to going barefoot will accelerate your horse's recovery, but it still takes the commitment and patience to let health come from the inside out. We can help your horse with NHC. It is crucial to success with hoof boots that you get the right fit, and you can only measure the hooves correctly after you have done your first trim. We personally have horses whose feet, because they had such profound shoe-damage, have only really recovered their healthy form and function almost ten years after going barefoot, but it has only been in the latter years that we really got everything described on this page together to make the difference. In general, a horse that lives on footing similar to what he is expected to work on is going to have an easier time going barefoot. Movement: Horses who move are going to have better feet than those who don’t. Think carefully about removing his shoes if he… 1. struggles with serious foot-soreness 2. competes in a discipline in which he needs extra grip in the form of studs 3. relies on remedial or corrective shoeing to overcome the effects of a confor… All horses can go barefoot and thrive with natural hoof care allowing the horse to be healthier and perform better. You can expect your horse’s feet to change in size and shape as pathologies grow out and the back of the foot develops. So, keep a little money in the budget for buying new boots in the future. It takes time for the hoof to recover from this - in some cases it will never return to complete health - but as with any living system if supported in the right way, it has an amazing power of regeneration (see Life's Innate Healing Potential). On your end, always ask for the cost of the setup trim (the first trim performed on your horse), if there is a charge to pull the shoes, the cost of the follow up or maintenance trims, and if the trimmer charges a mileage or ranch call fee. This article will assist you in moving forward on your horse’s barefoot journey, and will let you know what to expect along the way. Events such as jumping, racing, dressage, western performance, in the show ring, out on the hunt, endurance trail riding, the work horse in harness, and of course the ones out pleasure riding, are all represented in the barefoot … How To Get Horse Nutrition Right, Return from Going Barefoot to Happy Horse Training home. The Barefoot Horse Revolution: Share Your Story! Taking matters back into your own hands is part of the ethos of going barefoot, and we believe in the philosophy that if you really want to learn, and you have the right intention, then the teachers and information that you need will come along. Depending on the season, condition of the feet, etc. And it’s time to begin making any dietary changes, getting hay testing completed, buying thrush meds, choosing supplements and getting X-rays or other veterinary or bodywork done. Many horse-owners going barefoot decide to find a barefoot practitioner in their area for natural trimming and general barefoot advice. If you skip a trim or push the trim schedule out to try and save money you are likely compromising the barefoot process and will probably be charged for another setup trim. “Horses kept in soft pastures have feet that are softer and more likely to be shelly or splitting than a horse living on hilly, decomposed granite soils that suck moisture out of the feet and toughen them up. So, you want to go barefoot with your horse but you are a little scared to make that call to the local hoof trimmer. If you have hay analysis results, great! There are also ways we can replace the nutritional benefit of grain with low sugar alternatives, such as copra (coconut meal). While it’s still horrible when your horse is sore, it’s a lot less … It can be very helpful to participate in a barefoot trimming clinic where you can (hopefully!) Natural hoof care is the practice of keeping horses so that their hooves are worn down naturally and so do not suffer overgrowth, splitting and other disorders. Barefoot Transitioning – What to Expect. I will likely offer to run mineral balance calculations for his or her diet based on your current hay, pathologies and supplements. At this point your horse will very likely be quite tender footed and will need to be kept on soft footing or in boots. Many owners have had their horse’s shoes pulled only to find that the hooves just don’t seem to adapt and instead, continue to be sensitive–especially when moving over hard or rocky surfaces. Your horse needs this time to start the transition and get used to all the new sensations in its feet. Also, if you have X-rays of the feet we can discuss what I saw and what you were told by your veterinarian. One of the goals of the natural barefoot trim is to return the heels back to their natural low height above the sole level, but this must be done gradually to avoid causing discomfort to the horse, and to allow the inner structures of the hoof (including the pedal bone) to gradually reposition themselves. (For a full explanation of the reasons for this, go to The Importance of Natural Horse Hoof Care). The first of many ways you can help your horses hooves to become healthy is to remove his shoes. But, your job is just beginning. It can only be rebuilt by stimulation and movement, and your horse's lifestyle has to provide enough of this. Unless you are an endurance rider, it is unlikely that the amount of time you work your horse will be enough to make a difference to hooves that have been weakened and distorted by shoes. So you really aren’t gaining anything. The steps to completing the transition vary by horse but are of utmost importance in successfully going barefoot. I prefer to let the horse get used to not having shoes on for a while before I do a complete trim. Once a busy Hoof Trimmer she has enabled hundreds of horses to go successfully barefoot and always enjoys the challenge of buying herself a new shod horse and turning it into a capable barefoot horse. The Simple Seven-Step Natural Trim eBook Staying on a schedule is very important for the health of your horse and the sanity of your trimmer. Otherwise, you may never get the barefoot results you want. This is due to the decreased circulation caused by shoeing. Be prepared for change. Therefore, the more you can encourage your barefoot horse to move in his daily (and nightly!) Click here to find out more. Not only that, but it is important for the reconstruction of the hoof that the horse starts to land on his feet heel-first, and he will not do this if he has too much discomfort. From this point forward we focus on correcting pathologies, tweaking the diet and supplements as needed and completing the transition to barefoot. Please, please, please do this! As I stated before, trimmers are busy and it’s best to set a date and time before it’s too late. When you are going barefoot with your previously shod horse, initially his feet will probably lack internal structural strength. But, no, I don’t need to know how many ribbons he or she won at the local show last year. Sugar alternatives, such as stall time, housekeeping, and healthy hoof function my blog! 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