Q: What is so wrong with shoes? A: Shoes raise the sole off the ground forcing the laminae to support the entire weiight of the horse. Shoes when struck create a vibration frequency that has been proven to be detrimental to soft tissue. In humans an example of the damage is Raynaud's syndrome. Additionally shoes do not allow the hoof to expand properly and causes reduction of circulation of the hoof.
Q: My horse has been shod for years and doesn’t have problems. A: Depending on conditions of properness of trimming and shoeing, age of horse when first shod, how long out of the year shod, frequency of resets, and the horses genetics many horses are able to be reasonably healthy while shod. But they are not optimally healthy!
Q: But I need traction from shoes for my riding. A: Barefoot horses have just as much if not better traction in the same conditions. Barefoot horses have considerably better traction on pavement and ice than a shod horse. There are also ways to trim the hoof to create additional traction when needed for mud or wet grass. For other places there are temporary boots that can be put on the horse for short amounts of time.
Q: Is there a difference between a natural barefoot trim and the barefoot trim a regular farrier does? A: Yes, there are many aspects that differ, primarily regular farriers were trained to trim the hoof to prepare it for a shoe. Trends in how hooves are shod and thus trimmed do not take proper physiology into account. Natural trimming optimizes the hoofs’ functioning.
Q: Why does my horses hooves chip badly? A: Poor hoof quality can be a major factor. Chipping is also the way a horse naturally wear their feet and should not be of serious concern in most cases. Proper frequent trimming can relieve the pressure on the walls and prevent chipping.
Q: Is black hoof harder than white hoof? A: The difference in color is just pigment and pigment does not affect hardness.
Q: My horse is lame as soon as the shoes are pulled. A: Horses have a digital cushion below the coffin bone that absorbs concussion. Horses that have not had proper hoof care during their lives have not developed the digital cushion which makes them sore. The digital cushion can develope at any age. However, keeping foals trimmed properly and on varied terrain will dievelop the digital cushion properly, basically eliminating the posibility of future problems.
Q: My horse is lame on rock. A: Take off your boots after winter and try to run across rock, can you do it? Horses like us can condition their hooves to be able to work over gravel, it only takes exposure and time.
Q: How long can it take to get a horses’ feet conditioned to rock? A: It depends on the horses health in the foot, their natural sensitivity and their mental idea that it will hurt, and yours. Generally within 3-6 months a horse should be able to adapt. The more exposure the sooner the callous will develope.
Q: What about using boots? A: Using hoof boots during rehabilitation allows the horse to move properly and comfortably which effectively facilitates healing. Also by allowing the horse to be comfortable they are returned to usability much more quickly.
Using boots after reahabiliation allows horses to be comfortable in terrain they have not become conditioned to handle. Temporary hoof boots give us the best of both worlds, hooves that are barefoot and healthy and protection and traction on any terrain.
Q: My horse has serious lameness issues? A: Horses have a tremendous ability to heal themselves when given proper conditions. Even the most severe lameness can be helped by creating a healthy environment and properly functioning hoof. Check my case studies for horses recovering from dropped coffin bones, protrusion founder, lost hoof capsule etc. that are now completely healthy, sound and RIDABLE!
Q: How long can rehabilitation take? A: There are so many factors that contribute to rehabilitation times, the amount of damage in the hoof, the length of time the damage has been building, past shoeing and trimming, the frequency of rehabilitative trimming, etc. Complete soundness should be able to be reached less than a year with minor problems. Major lameness issues may take two years or more to restore completely healthy hooves. Using hoof boots and many actions by the owner can speed healing as well.
Q: Can I give my horse pain killers during rehabilitation? A: Generally the use of hoof boots and pads will allow the horse to be much more comfortable. There are herbal analgesics that are very helpful for horses during rehabilitation. Chemical pain killers are not recommended for long term use due to damage they can cause to organs. Herbs such as Devil's Claw and Yucca are very effective. Many companies now make pellets that horses readily eat.
Q: Why is natural environment so important? A: Horses didn’t evolve to live in caves like we did. They evolved to be in large areas, moving constantly to find food and water, having an escape from predators. They have become dependent on these conditions to stay healthy. Additionally horses in an environment with ample varieties of grass and weeds have all the nutrients they require to stay healthy.
Jamie Jackson has come up with "Paddock Paradise" that encourages horses to move around an enclosed track. This is great for small acerages.