Natural Hoof Care, protective hoof boots, bare foot trimming, seems like hoof care is evolving at an ever faster pace. We are learning more everyday, we are understanding more with every hoof we trim.
Just came back from a two week trip to Germany, where I had the honor to conduct a couple of hoof care clinics. The first one was in central Germany, near the town of Kassel in North Hessen. The area is famous for the old medieval castles and forts, the area where the Grimm Brothers wrote all their famous children's stories like Snowhite, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood. In the second one, I had the privilege to assist Bernd Jung from Hufshop in a two day clinic for hoof care practitioners. Bernd conducts regular seminars to teach natural hoof care and hoof protection. His program is very unique and provides in-depth knowledge about horse hoof trimming and protective horse boots.
Bernd Jung and the Bootmeister
The clinics included anatomy of the horses leg and hoof, history of hoof care, Natural Hoof Trimming demonstrations, applications of Easyboot Gloves and Glue-Ons with Vettec products.
Horse and participants getting ready for Glue-on demonstration: Drying of hoof
Using the rubber mallet to set the Glue on onto the hoof.
CS Equipak is being injected through pre-drilled holes for sole support.
I also demonstrated the use of Vettec Superfast to build a temporary shoe. Below, the material Superfast is added to the hoof wall, plantar and dorsal. Hoof is placed onto a foam board.
Then the dried material is rasped and shaped to whatever form desired.
The trimming and EasyCare hoof boot application was performed on a variety of horses from various breeds and various hoof shapes and conditions. The weather was typical for Europe in November, cold and wet. But with proper preparation and diligence, we had great success in Glue-on application.
The equestrian industry in Germany is growing at a very fast pace. There are ever more horses year after year and the demand for educated hoof care practitioners is huge. The enthusiasm of the participants was contagious, everyone is eager to learn and has a lot to contribute. As always, when I teach hoof care clinics, I'm the one who is learning the most. It is fascinating what we can learn when we are open minded.
Surprising, at first, is the fact that founder is very widespread. I did not understand why it is so common, till I learned that the pastures where nowadays horses are grazing, were until recently used by dairy cattle. The grass was heavily fertilized and genetically altered to increase milk production. This resulted in a 220% increase in milk production. Fewer cows were needed and pastures opened for the horses. Needless to say, horses have a difficult time with the altered and super rich grass, thus the high occurrence of founder.
So, more than ever, horse owners and riders are looking for remedies to help their foundered horses. We know that barefoot trims are helpful, so is frog and sole support. It is only logical that hoof boots in conjunction with Vettec products for sole support are in very high demand in Germany. Natural hoof care is being embraced more in Germany than in any other country I have visited.
A special "Thanks" goes out to Martin Boesel, who did the on site preparation and organization and provided logistical support for the clinic in Hessen, Christoph Mueller, the VETTEC Area Sales Manager for northern Europe, Garrett Ford and Kevin Myers for their tireless support and advocacy for Natural Hoof Care and finally, Bernd Jung and his family for taking such great care of me during my stay in Oberrot, where his business and home is located.
Medieval Knight's castle in Amorbach, Northern Bavaria. Here is also the location of the oldest known residential home still standing. The house below was built in 1291.