Transitioning to Barefoot and Natural Hoofcare
Transitioning to Barefoot
Making the decision to take the shoes off your horse and go barefoot we know is not a decision you take lightly. We help, advise and guide you every step of the way and are always on hand for every question that you have....and there will be a lot!
Unfortunately we don’t have a crystal ball and we never know how long it is going to take each horse to transition to total soundness. For the most part it is fairly smooth. Gone are the days when your newly barefoot horse had to go for months without being ridden. With the exception of possibly the first 4 weeks, we encourage owners to buy boots and to get on with their riding asap.
All horses that have been in shoes without exception find stoney and uneven surfaces a challenge once their shoes have been removed. Gradually though, once the 3 keys to success have been implemented, the hooves begin to change, relax, grow correctly, become healthier and then become sounder on varied terrains.
Visits will need to be scheduled every 4 weeks for the first few trim cycles so that we can monitor the progress of your horse.
Flat, thin soles, contracted and poorly developed frogs, thrush in the white line, collateral grooves and frogs are all common for horses who are in shoes. You need to take into account that the shoes have become crutches and therefore it takes time for the horse to quite literally find his feet again!
Top photo: Before Natural Hoofcare
Bottom photo: Only 6 months later
Hoofing Marvellous currently uses the Easycare range of hoofboots. These include the Gloves, Old Macs, Boas and the new Trails. Boots range in price from £110 to £160 per pair depending on the type of boot. These are available from http://www.trelawneequine.co.uk Not all horses fit all boots, that’s why Easycare developed a range of boots so there could be something to accommodate each foot shape - whether it be long and narrow, or wide and short or somewhere in between.
We predict that in the next 15 years we will see a huge shift away from shoeing in favour of Barefoot and Booted horses. Horses are already winning competitions at high levels in barefoot and in boots. We encourage all owners who are thinking of transitioning to buy boots in order to keep your horse as comfortable as possible. Your horse will let you know when they don’t need them anymore!
The booting revolution started some years ago but it has really only been in the last decade that it started to truly take off. No longer do horses need to ‘suffer soreness’ when transitioning and no longer do chronic founder cases need to teeter around their paddocks without protection while their hooves recover.
As soon as a horse is sound on a surface then it doesn’t need boots. However if you are intending on long distance riding then we would encourage you to put boots on your horse to protect them from unnatural wear.
There are many types of boots available at Trelawne Equine such as the new Back Country http://www.trelawneequine.co.uk/products/easyboot-glove-back-country/
Natural Hoofcare principles are based upon one of Mother Nature’s finest creations....the Wild Hoof. Sadly in our modern domestic horses it is in fact difficult to find a horse with hooves which are as healthy as their wild counterparts. Equus Cabullus - the modern horse - has not changed for millions of years and the domestic horse we see today is that same equine, their digestive systems, biomechanics, in fact the whole horse, other than specific breed characteristics, are no different to the horses in the wild. The problem our domestic horses face..... domesticity....and the resulting pathologies that come with it.
Natural Hoofcare Practitioners around the world have long recognised the damaging and potential fatal consequences of unnatural diets, unnatural management and unnatural hoofcare. The world has an epidemic of hoof pathologies, one of the most major being laminitis.....would it surprise you to know that it is estimated that over 95% of all domestic equines show sub clinical signs of laminitis?
As NH Practitioners we are not magicians waving a magic rasp....but when owners work with us and listen to our advise barefoot becomes a reality and a success.
There is a lot of confusion amongst the equine professional world as to the best way to trim, rehabilitate and treat our domestic equines. Research over the last decade has discovered the main causes of most hoof pathologies and an enormous proportion are due to laminitis. Coupled with this research, NH Practitioners have vast field knowledge and an immensely successful track record and because of this the equine world will gradually begin to change, moving away from shoeing and detrimental horse care practices to a more understanding, natural lifestyle for the horse.
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