I am lucky enough to have met one of the best barefoot ferriers in the midwest.
I didn’t know anything about feet when I got back into horses a few years ago, I just sat back and listened to all the different opinions. I was from the old school that thought all horses needed to be shoed because that’s how my cousin kept her show Arabs…..
My friends horse though is a Spanish Mustang so he’s got those big healthy mustang feet, her ferrier became my ferrier and friend. Thru her, I’ve learned the advantages of having bare feet.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some cases where shoes may be warrented but I do think too many horses are shoed that don’t need to be. That’s my opinion based on what I’ve seen and heard.
I see now that horses need that natural flex in thier hoof upon impact to help that vital blood pump back up those long legs, you limit the flex with shoes and you can inhibit the flex and lessen the blood flow in the legs. That flex is SO important, if you look at a bunch of wild horse feet which we have done with the Nokota’s, you will see feet that look like they are in dire need for a ferriers help but because they have that natural flex, they are very healthy feet, the chips grow out and the long parts chip off in a cycle that keeps them strong and healthy. When we gentle a Nokota and get a look at the underside of the feet, you can see how unbeleivably good the hoof is. I’ve heard it’s the same with the wild mustangs but haven’t witnessed it myself.
And really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much more about it that I don’t yet fully understand but what I do is from personal experiance….my horse!
When I first got Kiko, he was pretty much just pasture trimmed by someone I’m sure meant well but knew nothing about balance. Kiko had NO withers, he was shrugging for so long from heel pain that his muscles had developed in a shrugged position, rotated the wrong way and overdeveloped on the withers. He was extreamly uncomfortable on gravel which I just thought he was tenderfooted, he was very high on the inside and compeletly out of balance.
My ferrier Kelly has worked on him for a year now, he is really well balanced considering how off he was before, he’s not tenderfooted even though he thinks he is, when he doesn’t see the gravel he doesn’t feel it which is funny, if he sees it, he tiptoes because it hurt for so many years I think he just expects it to hurt now and he has withers! His shoulders are relaxing and he’s no longer rotated forward in a permanent hunch that he was before, he’s MUCH lighter in the front end because of it now and he seems a lot more comfortable in his body.
Not only that, she has corrected a lot of other issues for horses at the ranch, ranging from horses that had nerve damage that seems to have now reversed itself, constant body pain that seems to have dissapated and horses that had been unbalanced at faster gaits now no longer unbalanced, horses that were lame for long periods of time and no longer are, the list keeps going …..
For those reasons I really beleive the barefoot trimming not only helped my horse but probably extended his life. As we all know feet problems are a horseman’s nightmare and it can cause so many health problems like a domino effect so the logical key is keep the feet healthy right? There are so many issues our domesticated horses deal with that stem from the feet that wild horses never encounter…..EVER. So I’m sold, I would buy stock if I could!