Argy left happily hacking in the snow three months into his barefoot journey.
Looking back, I’ve started to think how, as a horse owner, it is easy to become a victim of circumstance. After learning to ride at a riding school in the UK, my family bought our first horse, we continued the care of the previous owner without a thought, feeding him the same feed, riding using the same tack and having him shoed with metal shoes continually. I never questioned why he needed the shoes or what happened previously for the shoes to be put on. But this was my first experience of owning a horse and I had just accepted the shoes were on. It is only after time that personal preferences start to develop, altering diet, changing bit and tack. However, the shoes remained. Except when one summer the shoes wouldn’t stay on I found myself a little lost.
I learned my lesson as when shoes don’t stay on you have no choice but to try something else, it shouldn’t of taken the shoes to fall of for me to have removed the shoes and questioned why I was putting shoes on my horse. I presumed, because they were on, that he needed them. I never questioned the shoes individual purpose for my horse, even though other aspects of his life style had changed. I carried on as it worked: he was never lame or unsound until now, what the shoe failed to do was show me my horse’s system. The metal shoe has limits and is no alterative the living tissues of the hoof.
Argy cantering on frozen ground seven months into his barefoot journey.
Back then I hadn’t given a thought to my horses hoof health, overlooking the big effect I had on it, I had always relied on and wrongly thought that it was out of my hands. I also thought that the hoof was ‘what it is’ and there isn’t anything you could do about it. I have learned since that I couldn’t be more wrong, my hoof care provider can only work with what I give them and if my horses feet are falling short of the mark my efforts can make the difference. Taking control of my circumstances significantly improved the performance of my horses hoofs, barefoot.
Argy today, working barefoot over a mixture of terrains.
Submitted by Terrin Turner, Team Easyboot 2012 Member