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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Sharing the love and my lunch

The former on purpose and willingly; the latter not so much.

Lesson learned - even on a really hot day don't leave your car window open - the YO dog will jump in, eat your lunch and an entire family packet of plain choclate digestives - leaving you with nothing but a seat full of crumbs and wrappers, an apple and a can of Fanta. Poor dog - I hope he wasn't too ill afterwards. 

It was a day full of blessings, starting with the gift of a sun hat and an ice lolly.  Finishing with meeting a truly wonderful family who have just taken on two young ponies.  Both total sweethearts.  Great feet.

I started at 4am - didn't get home til 9.30 pm - but arrived floating on cloud 9.  You know, I am the luckiest girl ever - my clients are brilliant! :-)

Friday, 8 April 2011

Who to trust?

Well your horse of course.

Sad but true, in these days of a market driven economy you have to be very careful.  We are all aware of various horse oriented products which don't quite live up to the big print on the front of the packet.

My own horse Grace was compromised big time when on the recommendation of another trimmer I tried a 'lami safe' feed.  Mmm - not for her nor for a few other horses I've heard about either.  Grace did react spectacularly badly - not only did she get very foot sore, but she also had extended EPSM issues and it made her really grumpy.

So listen to your horse, if something makes them footsore they are not faking it.  If they do well on a product celebrate - but don't expect it to work for the horse in the stall next door.

Even scientific research has to be questioned.  I was brought up to think 'scientifically' and I've had a job editing and publishing research - and I benefit from that experience probably every day.  Does make me a big time cynic though.

At present there is debate among the scientific community about the role of fructan as a causal factor of laminitis in horses.  While the process of debate is interesting, it can be unhelpful if it only serves to confuse or bemuse people struggling with managing their lami prone horse.

Most of us barefooters are more than aware that grass can be a big time problem and we don't need scientific research to tell us that - especially when different sources contradict each other.  What would be helpful is greater awareness of the impact of inappropriate diet on hooves beyond the barefoot community and more useful and reliable information on how we can manage our horses in a way which benefits them but also fits with our available resources.

Most regular readers of this blog will be aware of the Jamie Jackson material on feral horses and paddock paradise systems - and I am sure many of us long to be able to provide our horses with these types of facilities.

However in the meantime we have to find ways to make the best of what we have.  So how do you know that what you are doing is working?  Listen to your horse and trust what they are telling you. They don't have an agenda or a product to sell.

Listen to your horse, not to the feed rep, the barn owner or the man next door :-)  Sound or lame that is the question.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Slightly gruesome - don't view if you are squeamish

Shod - hoof wall rasped 'moderately'

Note how foot is running forward, heels are collapsed
and are forward of the back of the foot which is in suspension

Shod solar view note overlaid bars,
position of shoe against frog

Deshod view of above


Cleaned up view of above


Detail of above

Reminder - 'ideal' nail placement -
oriented on water line

Nail on pair of above

Detail of above

Very thin sole

I don't know what killed this horse. I do know it had the most enormous abscess - pus was blowing out through the frog in huge quantities - so I have my suspicions.

I chose this foot for this post, because you see feet like it on every yard. Probably the majority of shod feet I see look something like this.

The hooves are running forward, the heels are collapsed and the sole is thin. In an attempt to reduce the duck bill impersonation the hoof wall gets rasped - further weakening the foot. This leaves little space for the farrier to place the nail and mistakes happen.

My question is - you can see the issues the foot has, you know how to fix them (diet, exercise, natural living as much as possible) - what contribution to foot health did the shoe make for this horse...

Never buy a shod horse

Based on recent (and past) experiences - of my own and my clients.

Too many people are buying problems in blissful ignorance.  Even with horses that have been vetted.

Shoes are being used to cover up a range of problems from footiness to twisted limbs. 

Don't set yourself up for heartache and a financial black hole.

If you want to buy a horse - buy a sound barefoot horse.

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Southern England, United Kingdom