It Takes a Team!
Your Hoof Care provider can’t do this alone!
The owner is responsible for:
Exercise... Environment... Nutrition!
Exercise & Environment: The owner plays an important role in the health of the hoof. Their feet need to move, either in the form of exercise and/or 24/7 turnout on hard, dry ground. A concept referred to as Paddock Paradise (www.paddockparadise.com) is worth taking a look at. Wild horses easily move up to 20 or more miles a day.
These feet were meant to be well circulated, standing around in small stalls and wet runs, does not emulate the mustang lifestyle and we cannot expect their feet to function as such. We need to look at the entire horse, when addressing hoof care.
Nutrition: Most domestic horses do well on plain grass or a grass mix hay served as many times a day as is realistic. www.safergrass.org Feeds low in carbohydrates and starches are important. Large amounts of concentrated grains can be harmful to the health of the horse and should be avoided. High quality hay with a mineral/vitamin supplement suits the needs of most equines. If you would like to have your hay tested, you can contact Equi-Analitical Laboratories at www.equi-analytical.com. It is a cost effective method to learn about the hay you are feeding. This is especially important if you have ‘easy keepers’ or insulin resistant type horses.
Hoof Care: As a Natural Barefoot Trimmer, my main goal is the comfort of the horse. Studies have shown us how Nature intended hooves to perform and function. I trim the individual foot based on its internal structures to make it as strong and healthy as it can be. I am careful to leave as much protection as possible and reduce any distortions which might be present to help grow a well connected, strong and healthy foot. I focus on providing optimal protection, support and balance based on the individual horse’s conformation.
I believe in hoof protection! I trail ride my horses in EasyCare Glove Horse Boots. Our trails here in the Rocky Mountain region are hard and rocky. My horses can do it barefoot and they do so happily, but I boot them as a precaution. I have a full inventory of EasyCare Gloves and provide free boot fittings for my clients. www.easycareinc.com
Transitioning from metal shoes to barefoot: If your horse is currently shod and you would like to go barefoot, here is what the initial process might look like: I remove the shoes at the first appointment and perform a minor trim, if appropriate. For the first week, the hooves will be very sensitive and may cause an ache. This is normal as the foot’s circulation is improving with the removal of the shoes. The internal structures are no longer confined by the metal shoes and are needing to adjust to this new feel. This is normal. Patience is very important at this step! After about a week or two, I return for a set up trim, addressing any distortions the hoof might have and fit the horse for hoof boots if desired. A good time for this transition is in the fall, winter or spring, when our ground is a little less hard.
Silja & Ruby
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