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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Hooves are barometers

Hooves are barometers, with a time lag. The last time Grace had a jab she had an allergic reaction and it has shown up as a significant event line on her hooves.

I wonder if her tying up yesterday will present itself as another event line in the weeks to come?

This is one of my issues with horse shoes. They don't just cause damage in themselves, they mask the symptoms of other health issues which need addressing, but because the horse is wearing shoes the problems go unrecognised.

With Grace being barefoot I know that if I don't manage her diet properly she will get footy. I can address this quickly and she will recover quickly. Depending on how deliquent her diet was and for how long she might not even get an event line.

But I see horses with countless event lines; indicating a more severe problem, which have not shown any lameness; probably because they are wearing shoes. As the shoes restrict the circulation to the foot, the horse can't feel them properly, so vital feedback is denied.

Which of course is why we shoe horses. It allows us to work animals that are sick and to ignore the consequences.

5 comments:

Barometers said...

Now barometers measure the atmospheric pressure and again can be used to see if the pressure is rising or falling or steady, providing a good indication of the near future weather.

Wolfie said...

I just found your blog. I am a new rider/owner. My horse is a registered Canadian and has always been barefoot. I have started reading through your older posts and find them educational.

Sophie said...

Hi Wolfie

Thanks for joining my blog. Let me know what you find of most interest and what you want to read about and I'll see if I have anything at all to offer.

I am not familiar with Canadian horses, but your boy is extremely handsome! Fabulous.

Is he a liver chestnut? Looks a similar colour in his winter woolies to Grace. See http://danceswithgrace.blogspot.com/

Anyway thanks again for following. Good luck with your lad and here is hoping you don't fall off too often! :-)

Wolfie said...

Hi Sophie! Something weird just happened with trying to post a response, so I hope this isn't a duplicate. I am just trying to be proactive to any potential problems Gem may come up against. He's actually registered as black, but he's outside all day and the sun bleaches him out...I like how he changes colours like the seasons. :-) And, yes, here's hoping that my falling off trend does not continue!

Sophie said...

Hi Wolfie

No not a duplicate. As to problems - I use the acronym DEET:

Diet
Exercise
Environment
Trim

in that order to keep me on the straight and narrow.

ie many issues have an inappropriate Diet as their root cause.

Successfull barefeet need lots and lots of Exercise.

Environment is important - if a horse lives in soft wet mud 24/7 it will struggle to become rock crunching.

And finally Trim - a bad trim can ruin a foot, but even the best trim will never fix problems caused by inappropriate Diet, Exercise or Environment.

I seem to end up with metabolic horses. And they are the hardest to take barefoot because the UK grows lots of lush sugary grass. Always a glutton for punishment!

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