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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

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.

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Southern England, United Kingdom