Some thoughts on

HEALTHY HOOVES

When I first made my website, this page talked about the feral hoof model and how we can follow it.  After some time, I then changed it slightly to talk about how we can't force a shape onto our domestic horses.  As more research became available and I saw more and more hooves in day to day trimming, and more and more of a variety of disciplines, breeds, history, lifestyles, etc., and all the challenges and opportunities each one brings, I began to think that what we do isn't really 'natural hoof care' so much as 'holistic hoof care'.  Pete Ramey's website title "hoof rehab" began to make even more sense to me, and I realized that our goal and focus is simply striving to attain the healthiest hoof possible for that particular horse.

"However far away from healthy hoof form your horse may be, can be proportionate to how far out of balance their lives became." 

Here is something to think about, it's my truth when it comes to hooves, and something that I feel very passionately about:

 

The hoof is a SYMPTOM.  Even the most perfect trim in the world can only do so much if your horse is eating a diet that does not respect and support his physiology, or if his tack is causing chronic pain and resulting compensation, if his lifestyle does not reflect his needs as a creature of movement and a social herd life, or if what he is being asked to do as his job does not respect him biomechanically or even psychologically. 

Natural (nach'er-el) adj. 1. Present in or produced by nature.  2. Of, relating to, or

concerning nature.  3.  Conforming to the usual or ordinary course of nature.  4a.

Not acquired, inherent.  4b.  Having a particular character by nature.  5. Characterized

by spontaneity and freedom from artificiality, affectation or inhibitions.

Wild horses shape their hooves by traveling an average of 15-20 miles a day over rugged terrain.

They vary somewhat horse to horse and by terrain differences, but all have the same general characteristics. 

These same characteristics are seen in healthy domestic hooves as well. 

Click on each item to read more about it:

Each of these forms have a specific function, and we strive to obtain that form and function over time with all of the parameters in place - trims, lifestyle and diet.  Hooves are amazingly adaptive -- given the right care for the horse and treatment for the feet, they can change so much in a short period of time. It might take a couple years in bad cases, but what is the alternative? A strictly palliative approach that bandaids the issue? Sometimes that IS the best we can do, but ideally we would rehab the feet and get a sick foot healthy again. We have to think of it as physical therapy for the feet -- padded boots, heel first landings, time measured in miles rather than minutes.

With the right trim and hoof rehabilitation where needed, you are helping to mimic nature with a frequent trim (not more than 6 weeks with most horses) that respects and encourages the internal structures and mechanism of the hoof.  You are allowing your horse to develop the amazing healthy and natural hoof it was born to have. 

Please take a look at our PHOTOS pages to see a sampling of before/after photos of feet we've personally worked on!

 

 

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page last updated : 4-2013

2-2012