Making the transition from maintaining the traditionally shod horse to a holistic, barefoot/booted one may seem like a leap of faith for the common horse owner. The practice of natural horse care is immense and uncustomary, even though it has been applied for over 30 years. I am a recent recruit to the “barefoot movement” and have been madly absorbed in all areas related to it, such as equine anatomy and physiology, nutrition and diet, and hoof care practitioner trimming styles. I have sought out information available to me in the form of articles, books, DVD’s, and case studies. Where does one begin?
This past month, I have gained insight on which foundations are most important to establish in order to effectively understand the concepts and successfully transition a shod horse. My blog series will integrate many highlights of the information I have been so privileged to acquire. I am a devoted wisdom-seeker of the many aspects of overall equine health, following the most recent trends and discoveries in the well-being of the horse. I am your Equinista.
Comprehension of the anatomy of the horse, with special concentration on the hoof and lower limb, is imperative in being capable of answering the questions that come to mind while researching. As an introduction to my blog, I believe it is beneficial to put equine anatomy in perspective with relation to our human lives. At my first visit to the chiropractor, he stressed the importance of posture in sustaining proper spine function. At first appearance, he constructively criticized that my shoulders were rolled forward, hips were advanced, and knees were locked. I quickly corrected my stance as he simultaneously asked me, “Are you flat-footed?” Indeed, I am. He attributed most of my posture shortcomings to having been formed by my “fallen arches”.
The significance of this situation relates very directly to horse hoof maintenance. A horse with underrun heels places stress on ligaments and on other structures of the hoof such as the navicular bone. As the soreness inflames, breakover becomes delayed, ligaments become sore, and the shoulder progresses anteriorly among other various complications. As horse owners, we should remember that the hoof is a layer of hardened skin that protects numerous internal structures, much like enamel on our teeth.
My future blogs will break down hoof anatomy part-by-part. By keeping the comparatives in mind that I have referenced, and by incorporating your own unique associations, the uncustomary ideas of rehabilitating the shod horse to a more holistic one may become more gratifying.
As one of the customer service representatives, I am happy to help get your horse into the right boots. I promote holistic methods of equine care and will assist you with finding the perfect fit for horse and rider.