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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Friday, 6 August 2010

I need your help if you can spare the time - thank you!

I am doing a presentation/workshop aimed at very new barefoot horse owners and those thinking about it.

I am thinking about covering such things as:

How to read a hoof (the basics)
Benefits and challenges of barefoot
Transition from shod to barefoot

The whole thing will be about two hours, so scope is limited.

There will be no live horses (can't manage the stairs in the pub), but there will be photos.

If you were thinking about going barefoot, or were a newbie, what questions would you like answered?

Is there anything you would add to the agenda?

Thanks for all your input - it will all be very much appreciated :-)

11 comments:

Gina said...

My biggest question, one I actually had a fight with my trainer over, is should feet that have just had shoes pulled chip around the toes?

Is it ok to ride while transitioning to bare feet if the horse is not sore?

Is it ok to transition the back feet first? - this is what I am doing.

what to do about under run heels in a newly bare foot?

Do all horses abscess when their shoes pulled? Mine has not but I keep waiting.

Sophie said...

Hi Gina

Thanks for the input - that is really helpful! :-) To answer:

Chips are not the big issue some folk believe. But if you don't like them, they get out of hand or people give you grief then regular good quality trims will help. A chip can be thought of as a horse 'self trimming', but I have seen hooves which are neglected and for these the chips are unacceptable as the hooves shouldn't be so poor.

Always work the horse within comfort levels. If they are happy to trail ride/stressage or ? then so be it. If they are struggling then use boots or stick to easier surfaces. Always always double check their diet if having problems. And don't go mad, unlike one person I know of that took a newly barefoot horse (that had real problems) for hours of work on pavement with no time to transition (and then wondered why they got sore).

I have a client who did hinds then fronts. If it works for your horse then no problem

Under run heels don't have to be a big issue if you know how to trim and manage them. Regular light touch trims usually work for me. If you leave too long between trim intervals and/or exercise inappropriately then you may struggle. Shoes are unhelpful at best

Abcesses are not the norm. However if the hoof is badly contracted, or has heaps of flare then they can be expected as the hoof heals.

RuckusButt said...

Oh, do I ever wish I was attending your presentation! This is exactly what I need…or will need once I finally get my own horse.

I like what you’ve mentioned so far. Here are some suggestions of other things I think and worry about:

Jargon – some clarification around things like “barefoot trim” “performance barefoot” and/or other terms that a newbie (like me) doesn’t know the difference between.


How to find a farrier - How to identify whether a particular farrier will be able to do what you want (i.e., a barefoot horse that can jump, do dressage etc). Is there something specific you should ask for? Or, what do I say I’m looking for when I contact farriers?

Is there ever a time you think going shod is better for a particular horse?

Any tips on dealing with well-meaning nay-sayers? I don’t care about the ones who don’t mean well  But there are some people who are genuinely concerned and don’t want to see the horse hurt.

Only 2 hours, huh? You should make a DVD of your presentation. I’d buy it!

Breanna said...

I think it would be helpful to go over hoof mechanics. Most people don't understand how the hoof works at all, and so can't see why nailing shoes to them doesn't help them.

Wolfie said...

Hi Sophie - I like everything you have listed. The biggest thing for me as a newbie rider and horse owner was recognizing what a good hoof looked like! I am a very visual person. I think seeing a side-by-side view of what a good and bad hoof looks like would be extremely helpful. And, if you do that, can you post them?! ;-)

jenj said...

Oh, I WISH I could attend your lecture!

I've recently made the transition to barefoot with both of my boys. I'm reading all I can, doing a bit of trimming on my own, and working with a professional as well. However, when looking at pictures, I still have a really hard time telling what's going on. For example, in your "Tin Can Hooves" post the other day, you asked "Can you see the signs" in the before picture. Well, I can certainly see things that don't look quite right, but no, I can't tell exactly. In the after pictures, I can clearly tell the hoof looks more "right", but I can't tell exactly what you did to make it so. So for me, clearly labeled before and after pictures with exact descriptions of what was done, along with a list of long-term goals for a particular hoof (i.e. we're trying to get more heel to grow, etc) would be extremely helpful.

Is there any way you could post your handouts on your blog? It would be much appreciated!

Janet said...

My 9 yr old Fell gets his feet trimmed every 8 weeks (he has NEVER) been shod. He is always footsore for about a week afterwards until the sole hardens up. He is not trimmed too much, it seems the sole is tender. I ride him on grass at these times and he is perfectly fine but roads are a no no. It seems normal for him but initially I was very worried about it. Perhaps worth a mention.
Janet x

Sophie said...

Thank you everybody for your suggestions - they have been brilliant! :-) Please keep them coming.

Note to Janet. I came trimming in Scotland in April. Who does your Fell's feet? Is it a specialist barefoot trimmer or a farrier?

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Zena said...

hi there - you don't mention diet specifically in your list, but I am sure it will be on there :-). i think the issue for many is difficulty in changing diet (either because of environment/livery etc) and not achieving full success is a worry (I know it is a worry of mine!). also are you planning some short video clips? these might be useful and can be embedded in a power point presentation. either to demonstrate toe first landing versus heel first landing. some novices may not be used to identifying uncomfortable vs downright sore/lame? anyway just some thoughts. can't do it all :-)

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