Creating a barefoot transitioning program for myself first began by begging, borrowing and stealing information from those who have been there, done that, finding things that sound good and looking for other things to make better for your specific situation. Some call it copying, I call it being resourceful! When I first decided to take my old horse barefoot about eight years ago, I did so blindly, and thus failed miserably. It wasn’t until I really got that hunger to learn that I started finding some success. I guess I can say I saw the light!
Since then, I have transitioned several horses to bare successfully. I am currently in the process of transitioning my newest addition, JEF Kharbon’s Finale, or “Khopy,” to the barefoot lifestyle using natural hoof care and Easyboot products. Although Khopy was barefoot when I purchased him the end of January, he was living it up in a heated barn under blankies and hoods. His excersize consisted of a training session in the inside arena five days a week, and he had no turn-out. I thought this particular show barn was really cool in that all of their horses remain barefoot during the winter months, and are only shod during the show season.
I plucked him from the barn and turned him out on the 30 acre pasture in a period of 48 hours. I’m sure he was shocked! Despite the cold reality of winter, he handled the transition amazingly and within a few weeks he was a completely different horse. While we were smack dab in the middle of hell, er, winter, our riding was limited to once a week dressage lessons and a handful of short trail rides. Our weather has finally (I hope!) broken and I have been able to ride Khopy out more within the last two weeks than I had the several months previous. Unfortunately we were hit with INCHES of rain, despite the fact we are supposed to live in the desert, the last two weeks.
I haven’t been too aggressive with trimming, I have gotten after his toes as they were pretty long. He had a bizarre. almost rectangular-shaped foot and was very unbalance medial-lateral. We had his feet radiographed before I brought him home to check everything out- I can’t wait to compare pictures in a year!
Some before and afters… the left are the pictures I took when I first went and visited. Big difference and it’s only been about four months!
I will try and get some better pictures of his feet more in-depth later on.. I actually didn’t realize the difference in his feet from the end of January to the present time ’till I looked at these pictures tonight! WOW! I also like watching their feet change sizes. In my experience, I have had them go from the baseline size, down a whole size, and then eventually grow back up in size with a whole new foot. YAY!!
It’s so amazing to watch these horses’ feet transition from shod to barefoot, or even from barefoot to functionally useful barefoot. I hope he gets some relief in the Gloves and can’t wait for things to dry out here and hopefully set us down a path to functional feet.
What are some of the things you have done while transitioning your horses to a natural horse care/hoof care lifestyle? I hope to hear some new tricks to copy! You’re all welcome to mine!
‘Till next time…..