How is it that something we work so hard and so long on, can be changed in no time?

In January I sold a very special horse to a very special family. I had this horse for three years before coming to the conclusion that as much as I wanted him to be, he just wasn’t cut out for the sport of endurance. I found him an amazing home, at an awesome barn, with an awesome little girl to watch out for him. I saw him for the first time in flesh this past weekend, as the barn come down to a big horse show in my area. He looks amazing, and the bond he shares with that little girl is glaringly obvious. But I couldn’t help but feel a bit defeated looking at his feet. Those feet that I spent hours meticulously grooming, trimming, rasping, admiring. The feet that carried me almost 1000 AERC miles and countless hours on the trail.

Here are Eddy’s feet last October after an 18-mile conditioning ride over gravel roads, completely barefoot

Honestly, if having shoes on his feet is the worst thing that ever happens to him, I can rest easy because he is golden in his new home. It is just amazing to me that we can work for months and months to transition a previously shod horse to having functionally barefoot hooves, but it only takes a short time to erase all the hours spent getting them there. 

Last fall

Current pictures

This post is NOT about pointing fingers, making cruel statements or bashing anyone. It is purely a different view for those who have not had the opportunity to see many different horses in different disciplines, as well as for those of you who haven’t seen before and after shots. I also want to encourage people to look past the obvious shod hoof and see what could be with a little time. 

Below are various pictures I snapped at the horse show. Some of these feet could really use some TLC! 
Owie. I happen to know this horse and that he has had a history of lameness

This horse was barefoot behind. His feet really aren’t bad at all, wouldn’t take but a few trims to get rid of the nail holes and extra length

Check out those toe clips- this horse had massive pads to emphasize his "English" action

Can you see that dish? This horse had tons of action too. Can you see the contracted heels?

It’s amazing some of these horses are sound. Do you think some of the more severe feet are recoverable? I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures, but I wasn’t able to take the best pictures in the show ring without being obvious! Again, I don’t want this to be about bashing anyone. When I had horses in the show ring I honestly was oblivious to their foot care. The farrier came every eight weeks, and we either had plain shoes put on or if a big show was coming up we had shoes with show pads to increase the horses action. It wasn’t mean or careless, it was purely oblivious. Don’t judge, educate. 

~ Amanda Washington
SW Idaho


  1. That makes me get a knot in my stomach. I have gone through that a few times and it makes you heart sick. Sad

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