NO HOOF=NO HORSE-THE PROS AND CONS OF BAREFOOT AND HORSE-SHOES!
We don't call ourselves "NATURALHORSE" and then ask you to nail metal shoes onto your horses feet-lol :)
BUT SERIOUSLY WHY GO BAREFOOT?
As a prey animal NATURE has designed the horse to run away from all dangers as a FLIGHT RESPONSE so his feet have evolved into one of the most EFFICIENT FORMS OF ADVANCED LOCOMOTION that we have on THE PLANET.
They have served the equine species extremely well throughout their 55 MILLIONS YEARS OF SUCCESSFUL EVOLUTION and therefore with this in mind please try to understand that your horses feet are already brilliant at their job and DO NOT NEED METAL SHOES to improve this already oustandingly efficient design . . . even when your horse is laden with a human passenger.
Firstly lets get the fiction and facts straight . . .
1-A NATURAL HOOF BAREFOOT TRIM IS NOT THE SAME AS A STANDARD FARRIER TRIM AS THE HOOF NEEDS TO BE CORRECTLY SHAPED AND BALANCED RATHER THAN JUST BEING LOPPED OFF STRIAGHT!
2-IT'S IMPERATIVE THAT THE FEET ARE GRADUALLY TRANSITIONED TO HARD MATERIALS OVER TIME AS THIS PROCESS WILL NOT HAPPEN ON A SOFT PADDOCK -HOOF BOOTS CAN BE USED DURING THIS TRANSITIONAL PERIOD WHICH WORK OUT TO BE WAY MORE ECONOMICAL THAN METAL HOES-WE RECOMMEND THE RENEGADE BRAND
3-ALL HORSES CAN SUCCESSFULLY GO BAREFOOT WITH THE RIGHT DIET, CORRECT TRIMMING -AS FOOD PLAYS A VITAL ROLE IN DEVELOPING A STRONG HOOF AND GRADUAL INTRODUCTION TO HARDER SURFACES LIKE STONES & GRAVEL!
4-WHICH MEANS ALL BREEDS INCLUDING THOROUGHBREDS!
CHECK OUT THIS LINK TO SEE A BAREFOOT WINNING RACEHORSE
FACT . . . .
Correct and professional barefoot shaping, balancing and trimming IMPROVES LEG AND HOOF CIRCULATION and
encourages a NATURAL HARD HOOF to form. This allows your horse to move better due to the PLACEMENT OF THE CORRECT ANGLES of the feet to be in CONTACT WITH THE GROUND including the frog, and the knock on effect of the CORRECT POSITIONING of the legs underneath the horse so he can CARRY HIS BODY CORRECTLY as NATURE INTENDED even when carrying you.
This thermal image ABOVE clearly shows what happens to blood supply and circulation when a shoe is nailed on to the living hoof -which is the blue leg that is obviously suffering.
Can you imagine what it's like to be pushed to your physical limits such as when racing when you have pins and needles in your legs and feet like this? How much faster would a race horse actually run if he was allowed to race without shoes?
So it was due to all this clear evidence regarding the harmful effects that horse shoes have on our horses feet and legs which forced us to make the desicion to go BAREFOOT with our own horses.
We successfully transition ALL of our horses, over 50 horses so far, to being BAREFOOT and we ride ALL of them on the roads, gravel tracks, treks etc....now 100% COMPLETELY NATURAL without the need for shoes without any soreness, lameness or issues and they have excellent TRACTION and are extremely SURE -FOOTED too.
Here is a before and after photo of my own horse-Gandalf :)
BEFORE GOING BAREFOOT AFTER 3 MONTHS BAREFOOT
People says things to me these days like- "well you are lucky your horse already has good feet" which just makes me smile as you can most definitely see it wasn't always this way as Gandalf's feet used to be terrible :)
So if we can transition a horse with crumbly weak and flat hooves like Gandalf to successfully go Barefoot . . . you definitely can do this with your horse too.
THE PROS OF BAREFOOT ARE:
2-Better balance for the horse
3-Improved circulation and more feel in the legs
4-No worrying about your horse kicking another horse and doing major damage
5-No more losing shoes
6-More natural for the horse
8-Less shock and jarring to the joints
We have SAVED a FORTUNE since going BAREFOOT as $50 per trim is a lot MORE AFFORDABLE than $125-$150 every 4-6 weeks for shoes but more importantly our horses are HAPPIER and CARRY THEMSELVES CORRECTLY now through mimicking the Natural Hoof of their ancestors even WHEN CARRYING US on their backs :)
WILD HORSES don't need shoes and nor do our DOMESTICATED horses either and even though you might own a more recent breed of horse like a modern (1800's) genetically engineered THOROUGHBRED you may have come to believe they have poor feet and NEED SHOES but I assure you through intensive and successful research that this is definitely NOT the case as we have transitioned many ALL of ours without issue.
PoorCRUMBLING and WEAK hooves are created by incorrect(which is not necessarily bad) shoeing/trimming and the farrier not getting the right balance of heel and toe and a diet too rich in sugars due to too much grass and grain. We now know that shoes RESTRICT CIRCULATION to both legs and feet which can never be good and due to not allowing any contact of the hoof to be made with the floor it is never allowed the hoof to toughen up naturally so it stays weak hence why we think we need to shoe.
horses ancestry and DNA is still the SAME from when the first larger EQUUS animals evolved with the singular hoof more than 35 million years ago and therefore your horses feet WILL TRANSITION VERY WELL TO BAREFOOT if you just give it a chance with the right trim as simply removing the shoe is not enough and rarely works as it doesn't copy the ancestry of the wild hoof and it's this model that we must follow to acheive real success with this process!
Therefore I cannot stress enough that in order for BAREFOOT SUCCESS to be acheived quickly, painlessly and easily all your trimming needs to be done by a to replicate the WILD-HORSE BAREFOOT TRIM and we only recommend that the hoof is gradually shaped and balanced in a NON-INVASIVE way (which basically means to gradually be shaped this way rather than all at once ) so the horse gets the chance to adjust to this new but correct shape over time and harden his hooves gradually onto a wide variety of surfaces just like hardening your fingers over time when learning to play the guitar.
To be able to trim this way is a HIGHLY TRAINED SKILL which takes a full and professional apprentership (NOT A WEEKENDCLINIC) to achieve and therefore we STRESS this shouldONLY done by a PROFESSIONAL, WELL QUALIFIED and APPROVED NATURAL HOOF BAREFOOT TRIMMER.
Which means NOT YOUR FARRIER sorry who unless s/he belongs to a recognised organisation such as HOOFNZ.ORG will NOT BE correctly trained in these techniques and will normally just SLICE the hoof flat and straight rather than CORRECTLY BALANCING and SHAPING it to mimic that of the "MUSTANG ROLL" of the wild hoof which unfortunately will very rarely develop naturally without this trimming on our domesticated horses due to retrictions on their environments and diets.
To have another non qualified person trim your horses feet is a WASTE OF YOUR TIME AND MONEY and will not give you or your horse the excellent results we have talked about on this website plus it could SEVERELY DAMAGE YOUR HORSES FEET AND LEGS SO PLEASE DON'T ALLOW IT!
This correct process can sometimes take A LITTLE WHILE for the horses feet to ADJUST to being barefoot and FLEXIBLE RUBBER HOOF BOOTS are another option during the transision if you would like to ride immediately and are again far more ECONOMICAL to use than metal shoes -not that we used them for Gandalf as they don't make them that big-lol.
So to summarise, Barefoot is REALLY WORTH IT in the end as you will never need to shoe again and will have happy and healthier horses . . . . .but please shop around CAREFULLY
for your trimmer as not everyone is properly qualified to do this
complex and skilled work and you should be very guarded about who
you permit to touch your horses, especially their precious feet.
REMEMBER-NO HOOF=NO HORSE!
PLEASE get recommendations from
friends and ask for QUALIFICATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS of professional
We recommend the hoof practitioners of Hoof NZ and our own trimmer is Maren Domke who covers the Manawatu region-she is excellent
Please contact us if in doubt as we'd be happy
to help :)
Email is- firstname.lastname@example.org