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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Of house bricks and more cheese

Got contacted by a client via Facebook last night. Said client was being trolled by a farrier for following the barefoot 'fad'.

Well I've been a barefooter for more than 15 years...........

And I only took up this route because the standard of farriery in my area is so poor.  If my then farrier hadn't proposed putting my unbroken two year old in pads and shoes it might never have crossed my mind. If the answer to every question by his replacement hadn't been 'Well you can always put shoes on.' I might never have sought to learn to trim myself.  (Seriously - I asked about natural solar exfolation - you know when it goes chalky and flakes off - and the answer was to shoe.)

And as far as I can tell my ex shoddie clients are making the same decision for very frequently the same reasons. 

For example; last client of the day yesterday.  Wonderful lady, knew something wasn't right but was getting no joy from her current hoof care provider.   Apparently everything was 'ok' and 'normal'.

Since when has it been normal for a horse to have feet shaped like house bricks?  With hooves twice as long toe to heel as wide and shoes covering a good inch of white line stretch? (And the farrier had said nothing about the stretch or what the owner should do to resolve it.)

This is why horse owners are looking for alternatives - because they know that all is not well and their current providers are unable or unwilling to help them.

Trolling people via Facebook or other social forums is not the answer.  Learning how to treat clients with respect and answering sensible intelligent questions with well informed and helpful responses just might be.

And learning how to recognise and manage laminitis might be another. 


amandap said...

No excuse for that behaviour! Perhaps it's a sign things are changing and owners being empowered is starting to bite.

We are so lucky these days, we have blogs like this (thank you) and so many other resources on the net where we can find out things and even get a chance to see other horses hooves and compare what is truly healthy with ours! No longer will the 'brush off' be acceptable to most owners and they will vote with their feet, as you are finding. Unless all farriers start to learn more and step up to the plate they will loose business!

More power to owners! Great that this one got some real help for her horse. I wish her the best.

Lisa said...

I have recently taken on a client whose former farrier refused to shorten the 8 week trim cycle because the horse would get 'too sore'. The poor thing has separation almost to the coronary band and is now on a two or three week cycle (depending on availabilties).

The old farrier saw me trimming the horse today and had a very funny look on his face. Well buddy, if you had taken care of the flare and shortened the trim cycle then I would not have 'stolen' your client.

They are shooting themselves in the foot in all honesty.

Val said...

Good post.

sue said...

It's not all bad though. I made a decision to take the shoes off both my horses 4 weeks ago. I have the complete support of my farrier who has taken the time to talk to barefoot trimmers and other farriers with barefoot horses on the books. He's also made the effort to learn more by reading up and attending seminars. He believes it to be the best thing I could do for my horses and is as committed to making the transition as I am. He also sees more people making the switch, has more barefoot horses on his books and can see it as the way forward.
He's learning about boots, feeding and the holistic approach to the management of the horse in order to advise his clients.
This decision was not made to solve a problem, both my horses were OK in shoes, we just both know they will be better without.

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