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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Speed of wear and growth - working in arenas

For new 'Sally'

Wear outstripping growth is a concern for many first time/newbie barefooters.

It doesn't need to/shouldn't happen.  Especially if you are largely doing arena work.

If you have concerns then please work your way through this list.

1 - Be absolutely sure you know how to read a hoof (its not common knowledge)
2 - Triple check you know the parameters of a healthy hoof (also not common knowledge)
3 - Feed an appropriate diet (definitely not common knowledge)
4 - Manage the horse's environment (a rare skill these days)
5 - Exercise a hoof in a similar way to a muscle (usually treated like a car tyre rather than a living thing)
6 - Remember change takes time (impatience shortens horses' lives)

While the Tevis Cup might be a trip too far, there are many many horses out there who are doing some serious mileage over hefty terrain without shoes or boots.

So unless it is made of ground diamonds an arena surface shouldn't pose too many wear problems.  (Depth and Give are another subject)

Wear v. Tear - common misconceptions and the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In no particular order:
  • Chips are ugly, they are not always bad and can often be 'good'
  • Walls that are more than a few mm longer than the hard sole plane are bad, never good and are frequently ugly
  • Uneven wear can be bad, is often ugly and rarely good.  But it is easily fixed
  • Cracked, flaky soles can be viewed as ugly, are only sometimes bad and can be good
  • Shredded frogs are ugly, often bad, rarely good
  • Damage to the coronary bad is hard to see as good, but is rarely as bad as it appears even if the result is ugly
  • Cracks in the hoof wall are ugly, are not good, but are rarely as bad as they are usually painted
  • (Self trimmed) Squared off toes, are neither good nor bad, (they are an indicator which should be noted) and they can be ugly
  • Corns, flares, folded over bars, under run heels, blood in the toe etc are not normal wear, they are not good, usually bad and frequently ugly
  • Heels are sometimes insufficiently worn which is bad, rarely good and in health terms; ugly
  • Badly balanced feet, or those with caudal heel pain will wear the toes heavily, this is not good, often bad and ugly (but note the toe does not wear through)
This list is not extensive, but it is a starter pack.

Let me know if you think of anything I should add.


Anonymous said...

I have found this problem in the US is usually due to poor nutrition: insufficient minerals and vitamins, and poor quality protien.

Wolfie said...

The misconceptions list is great! I am going to print it and stick it to the inside of my tack box!

p.s. So glad you got the "comments" option sorted out! ;-)

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