Rumor has it that there is still a debate going on about what’s best for horses: steel shoes or barefoot?
Years ago I came across the writings of Dr. Tomas Teskey, D.V.M.. The unfettered foot: a paradigm change for equine podiatry is an excellent essay written by the good doctor, go ahead and go there first, read it attentively, let it sink in, digest it, reflect upon it, then come back here. There are many excellent websites and videos that discuss natural hoof care. Some research, self-education and due diligence is all one has to do. If a horse transitioning from steel shoes needs protection, EasyCare has several hoof boot options for you. There are some farriers who believe they will lose revenue when switching to natural hoof care. The truth is, you can do more volume trimming barefoot horses than nailing steel shoes. You can do more, physically as well, since a barefoot trim is much less taxing on the body, for human and equine both. If you are in it solely for the money then you need to revise your priorities and occupation. Let’s face it: we don’t this for our health or to get rich, we do this because we genuinely care about horses.
Before first barefoot trim.
So how does a hoof care practitioner go about switching horses under his/her care to a barefoot trim? First they need to become intimately familiar with some of the tenets of natural hoof care. I recommend you study the work of Jaime Jackson and Pete Ramey, kudos to both gentlemen for enlightening and teaching all of us. You should carry copies of the above essay by Dr. Tomas Teskey, D.V.M. to hand out to both new and existing clients, it’s all about education and awareness. A camera is an excellent tool - before and after pictures, that can be studied after the day’s work is done, go a long way towards “getting it right”. Pictures are a priceless testament to the progress the horse is making, warming the hearts of owners and practitioners.
Eight weeks after first trim.
It is important to understand that the following never fails: the horse’s feet will adapt to the terrain it lives and works on, as well as the workload they’re being subjected to. From pasture pets to working ranch horses, barrel racing/roping/reining/rodeo horses, endurance/trail/dressage/show jumping horses: no two sets of feet will look alike but one will see those bare hooves adapt and transform into optimal tools conditioned for the work at hand. Nature provides: all we really need to do is help out every so often. We know so much can be done and remedied through natural hoof care. As for me, there simply is no debate. Be diligent, be caring and you will end each day with a sense of satisfaction.
Submitted by Kris Goris, Kris Natural Trim