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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Horses (and their hooves) don't lie

If the horse doesn't look right, then something isn't right. Its that simple.

I used to compete in Endurance. I liked the fact that my horsemanship was being tested. My aim was to complete the course with a horse that was in excellent condition and happy with their work.

Barefoot does that for me now. It tests my horsemanship. If I fail the results show in the feet. Much more quickly than they might elsewhere, and the marks on the hoof provide a timeline of my successes and failures.

Of course the rest of the horse is a reflection too. A poor coat, a rib showing that shouldn't be. But these are relatively easily managed and past successes and failures are not recorded. A good foot on a metabolic horse is more challenging.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

If my heart wasn't already broken

Then I think this hoof scenario would do the job. The deterioration in this foot in less than 3 months is distressing. Fortunately the owner is great and knows better than to slap a shoe on, which would mask the hoof pain, but do nothing to fix the cause.

The first picture, which is far from perfect, shows a foot which is on its way to good concavity, nice thick sole, tight white line. Now an inappropriate diet has put paid to that.

The second photo shows bruising extending across most of the sole, which has lost a lot of concavity. You can also see the extensive flaring of the hoof wall. The third photo below shows just how much concavity there used to be.

This is a super mare, practically perfect. Well trained, well made and pretty. Loves to work and will have a go at almost anything. But everything has a downside right? And hers is her metabolic challenges. If she were human we would probably label her diabetic and treat accordingly. Guess what we do to horses - we nail an iron ring to their feet so we can ignore the problem. But thankfully not (yet anyway) in this case.
I kid myself I am upset for the sake of the horse, which is true, but I am also frustrated at the ignorance of some 'equine professionals' who ruin horse and rider alike.

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Southern England, United Kingdom