Cobre, 6 year old Paso - Case Study from Linda Cowles- before photoTake heart hoof care practitioners and listen closely horse owners. Your trimmer doesn’t ultimately hold the keys to barefoot success, you do!

Hoof care practitioner, Linda Cowles from Santa Rosa, CA gives us her thoughts on who really heals these horse’s feet? Their owners. Horses owners are horses’ most powerful ally.

I started out trimming brood mares and peoples neglected backyard horses, and learned the hard way that I can only save these horses with their owner’s assistance. When struggling in muddy paddocks trying Cobre, 6 year old Paso- Case Study- Linda Cowles- after phototo trim feet that had last been trimmed 6 months ago, or trying to devise a bandage that would stay on an abscessed foot when the horse’s pasterns were buried in mud, I realized that. I needed to focus on horses I could help.

I can help most of these horses, but I can’t change the owners. I now let them know what they need to do to help their horse, and let them know that, if they work to heal their horse, I’ll work hard next to them. If they can’t do their part, I give them a few names of folks who may be willing to work with them. It’s a heart breaker.

Pete Ramey consoled me once that I’d made the right decision about not working with the owner of a horse that was fed to obesity, had laminitis and chronic thrush. “When the vet looks at that foot and asks who the hoof care provider is, do you want your name associated with it? Is there anything you can do to change the owner?”

Tough. I leave the door open, tell them that if they decide to try working with me, I would love to work with them, but ask them, please, not too wait too long because the effects of severe laminitis are NOT reversible.  This is their horse’s life, and no, they don’t get a Do-Over if they realize they were wrong. Loving owners heal their horses using the care & management they provide, plus the assistance of people like me.

Linda Cowles

These are strong words from a practitioner who has been there, done that. As a practitioner it doesn’t matter how good the trim, how well you have hoof booted and padded, reworked the diet and living conditions; the owner is ultimately responsible for the follow through. We have never had more knowledge and tools at our disposal to help our equine friends than we do today. We know that a barefoot lifestyle can heal horses and that a horse can increase its over all health and longevity through a barefoot lifestyle. We know that using protective hoof boots or therapy boots such as the Rx and comfort pads can make a huge difference in a horse’s usability and or recovery and that hoof boots are an essential part of maintaining a barefoot horse. EasyCare offers a fantastic range of hoof boots, from riding boots such as the hugely popular Easyboot Glove to our Rx therapy hoof boot. EasyCare offers something for every booting need.

We all want barefoot success. Look for a competent trimmer in your area, maintain a regular 4-5 week trim schedule and have your hoof care practitioner fit your horse with well fitting EasyCare hoof boots. Heed your trimmer’s advice and do the right things now so that you and your horse won’t run the risk of having to pay a price later. Even if you have a gravel cruncher, don’t jeopardize your horse; have a pair of hoof boots on hand in case you do get in a situation where it would be wise to have additional protection. Ultimately the horse owner holds the keys to success. Hoof care practitioners can’t do it alone. Remember your practitioner is on your side, help them help you achieve a happy and healthy barefoot horse!

Linda Cowles, has a fantastic website packed with information for the barefoot horse owner. Linda is an EasyCare dealer and member of American Hoof Association and Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners.

Debbie Schwiebert