Houston Police Officer, Greg Sokoloski, recounts the start of natural hoof trimming for the Houston City Mounted Patrol unit horses………

The Houston Police Mounted patrol started using unshod, barefoot police horses in 2004. Starting with one horse and with each successful barefoot working police horse, we have since eliminated the use for metal shoes. In the early stages of 2004, I was the only Officer barefoot trimming the horses. It was a slow start, but luckily, those in charge at the Houston Police Department recognized the benefits of our barefoot program and supported us by providing the necessary resources for our program to be a continued success.

The department allowed two officers, Officer Danny Pryor, and Officer Scott Berry, to enhance their knowledge of hoof form and function and become AANHCP certified barefoot trimmers. The greatest testament of department backing we have received with our barefoot program was the planning and constrction of our new state of the art facility that was specifically designed with the barefoot horse in mind. We have also received great support from private individuals and companies such as EasyCare that have assisted us in obtaining the EasyCare hoof boots that the horses needed to make a successful transition to barefoot.

The first horse to go barefoot was Gray, a 16.3 hand bay Hanoverian gelding who had never been lame, despite being shod most of his life. His success with the barefoot hoof and no horse hoof problems led to the decision to take all current and future Houston Police horses to be worked, barefoot. Barefoot and a more natural life style was greatly enhancing the lives of the mounts and definitely adding to their longevity with the department. They also learned and changed the feeding program. With all of these resources in alignment, they have proven that any horse, no matter the breed or age, can be successful without metal shoes.

One very popular protective horse boot style for the department is the EasyCare Old Mac Generation 2 boots. They have the traction and sole protection needed for the city street work required for the working barefoot equine patrol. Barefoot and hoof boot protection is making this department reap the benefits of happy, healthy horses.


Posted by Nancy Fredrick