|Paper||Ogden Valley News|
|Rights||In Copyright (InC)|
|Rights Holder||SR Communications DBA, Eden, Utah|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Paper||Ogden Valley News|
Page 12 The Ogden Valley news Volume XIV Issue XX August 1, 2007 Hoofin’ It Naturally—A Natural Approach to Hoof Care By Laura Warburton Hoofin’ it naturally . . . hmmm . . . , sounds like a throw back to the days of streaking, doesn’t it? Aren’t we glad those days are gone! What is natural hoof care? Horse owners all over the world are embracing this new and humane approach to hoof care including the famous Ausie trainer Clinton Anderson. Many more are simply wondering what it is. Basically, it’s a hoof without iron shoes. For years, even generations, diligent horse owners have kept iron shoes on their beloved pets. At times, taking them off for wintering only to trim and shod them in the spring for summer sports. Finding a competent farrier is always a challenge. And when one is, found they become a valuable part of your horse care. Some learn to shoe their own horses. For those who do neither, it’s usually a source of guilt. How many of us have said, “I’ve got to get the farrier out soon!” The sad fact is for many, shoeing has become so expensive that they simply can’t afford good hoof care and resort to sloppy farriers or none at all. In all of my trainings, the classrooms are filled with a few lay people such as myself and many more veterinarians and experienced farriers. In my experience, it’s the experienced farriers who are so happy to see this movement take place. Most I’ve consulted instinctively know there has to be a better way. Yet, the “norm” is defiantly defended. Most owners have no idea just how out of shape their horses’ hooves truly are, or the pain it causes them. Generally, we wait for the horse to lie down and refuse to move before we finally give into the fact that they are in pain. Usually by then the owner will simply give up and put the horse down. In my experience, the conversation usually goes like this, “My horses hooves are in good shape, I just want to stop using shoes.” When I see the hooves, they have one or all of the following aliments: cracked, flared, overgrown, flatfooted, contracted heels, misshapen, thrush infested, high heals, under developed digital cushion, non-existent frogs, thin soled, walking toe first, and even the club footed. All of them are experiencing low level or intense lameness. Some owners accept these painful progressive conditions as normal. In the last few years, there has been an enormous influx of scientific studies proving natural hoof care to be the best answer for all horses. Ooops, was that a mistake to say all “horses?” Absolutely not! Many excuses are used to avoid going barefoot due to the many myths that persist. One of the greatest myths is that white hooves are too soft to go barefoot. My white hoofed mare did far better in transitioning than my black hoofed gelding. It’s time to put the white hoof verses black hoof rhetoric to rest permanently. Some misconceptions are born of bad experiences. Owners attempt the barefoot route using faulty practices resulting in a failed experiment. I would highly encourage you not to give up but to find a more competent experi- enced trained trimmer. The reality is, that if done properly, all horses benefit by natural barefoot care. What if your horse is foundered or has navicular, laminitis, sole penetration, or white line disease? Once you understand the environmental conditions that created these aliments, you’ll wish you had known about barefoot trimming sooner. Don’t worry; your whole-hearted dedication to natural hoof care will often cure all these aliments or, at the very least, make your horse far more comfortable. So, what stops us up from embracing a better way? Tradition. If great grandma cooked in the cast iron pot and grandma followed her, and mom followed too, then it’s good enough for me. Right? We are creatures of habit. We become desensitized. We stop asking questions. We simply go with the flow. Now, we have a new voice speaking new words. It’s time to cook in a more modern, better performing pot! One needs to understand basic hoof anatomy before the natural trim makes sense. Here is a basic explanation. At the core the hoof capsule Picture 1 is the coffin bone. It is shaped exactly like the hoof wall. The coffin bone is attached to the hoof wall by laminae (white line). Picture one shows freshly dissected laminae. As a toe gets too long, the hoof wall is stretched/ torn from the laminae (stretched and or unraveling white line) leaving the coffin bone in a perilous situation. It’s similar to what happens when your finger nails are too long and catch one pulling it off. Ouch! Picture two is a well attached hoof wall. Notice the length and angle of the hoof. Picture number three is of a detached Picture 2 stretched laminae. The forth picture is of a more advanced foundered hoof. It gets much worse than these. The yellowish substance is called lamella wedge and is formed to fill in gaps. The third picture is the most common hoof in the pasture. Take a good long look at picture two and three. The complexities are too lengthy to cover in this article. Suffice it to say, the two are worlds apart. One is healthy and the other is not. How do we trim to attain the healthiest hoof possible? Trimming is only a Picture 3 part of the equation. We can outline a basic course here however, each horse is different. The basics in barefoot care are this: trim the hoof wall as if the horse grazes 30 miles a day over rock, gravel, sand, etc. Keep it trimmed! Trim every two to four weeks during transition and during warmer months. Trim four to six weeks for maintenance trims and during the winter months. Always apply a “mustang roll,” which is a roll or bevel around the entire hoof with emphasis in the area of 10 – 2. Keep the bars below the outer wall. Lower the heals to allow the digital cushion (rear of the frog) to begin a descent to the ground in order for it to build in toughness and durability. Rasp the outer wall to minimize hoof flare in order to relieve the white line separation. Most importantly, learn to read the inside of the hoof by the outside of the hoof. Feed is extremely important. Many, many horses are insulin resistant and should not be on pasture grass. Grass sugars cause laminitis and ultimately founder. Some horses can handle a few hours a day. Some horses can’t handle any sweet pasture grass at all. How the horse lives and is ridden determines the individual course required. Okay, let’s talk about hoof boots. You know, those funny rubber things you see on horses every once in a while. At first, I thought my horses shouldn’t have to use these “crutches.” Three out of my four of my horses didn’t. Picture 4 However, one, my black hoofed horse didn’t have the sole thickness to ride on our rocky Middle Fork trails. So I would take boots and after he had a chance to toughen up a bit, I put the boots on him. While at a training by Pete Ramey, the guru of the natural horse care movement, I shared my brilliant approach. I got chewed out by Mr. Ramey in front of a rather large class. So, I humbly re-considered and put boots on him all the time. A year later he has hooves as tough as nails not needing any boots at all. We call this transition; the time between pulling shoes and being a fully functional barefoot horse. It’s a crucial time and, if handled properly, accelerates the healing process exponentially. Some horses need boots, some need boots and pads, and some need nothing at all. My personal story is this, I simply wanted what was best for my horses. Metal shoes simply didn’t make sense any more. I had many questions like if we are not supposed to run our horses on cement then why is it okay to run them on steel? In an attempt to find answers. I read books, studied everything I could get my hands on, and attended several courses from the best hoof care practitioners in the world. I’ve sought out the best in the industry and trained with them side by side. Over the last three years, I’ve come to know that a properly kept barefoot horse is the happiest, healthiest horse there is. I continue to learn. I feel compelled to help any horse owner who desires a better way. While at 40 plus, I’m not interested in a trimming career, I am interested in helping people to help themselves. Because of my age, I’ve figured out ways of trimming that don’t have to hurt my back or knees. Even though I don’t want a career in trimming horses, I find joy in trimming respectful horses owned by loving owners who are earnestly engaged in taking full responsibility for the health and well-being of their own beautiful horses. For more information check out the following websites: www.hoofrehab.com (Pete Ramey’s website) http://www.barefoothorse.com http://www.thenakedhoof.com.au http://www.tribeequus.com http://www.abchoofcare.com www.safergrass.org. There are many wonderful sites to choose from. Warning, once you start, you may find yourself glued to the monitor. Pete Ramey wrote a wonderful book, Making Natural Hoof Care Work For You, which you can purchase from his website. He offers clinics all over the world that can be booked through his website. Cheryl Henderson, ABC Hoof Care, has an onsite school at her ranch in Oregon. She is an amazing woman who has dedicated her entire life to teaching others to help their horses. I’m available to trim with the goal to teach you to trim. I charge for my time. You may contact me via email at <firstname.lastname@example.org> UAAC’s Annual Natural Horse Showdown Tournament Slated UAAC, Utah Animal Adoption Center (formerly Wasatch Humane), which is the only northern Utah animal-rescue organization that also rescues and adopts horses, is pleased to announce their upcoming 2nd annual Natural Horse Showdown Tournament on August 18 at the Midway Equestrian Center, 650 W. 250 S., Midway, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The event is held as a fundraiser to benefit homeless horses in our care. Several of UACC’s foster homes for animals are located in Weber County, as are many of our volunteers and volunteer trainers. Open to all breeds and all horse lovers, a $50 charge per person/horse team is being charged to participants in any of the on-line and in-saddle tasks being offered, or $20 to just observe. The fee includes a gourmet picnic lunch catered by Done to Your Taste Catering of Kamas. Come see the possibilities and fun to be had when your horse is your partner! BBQ lunch buffet will be available for an additional donation. Music, fun, prizes, face painting, and kids’ art area too! See what is possible when horses are trained, treated, and valued as partners! Registration from 8:45-9:30 a.m., or pre-register by calling 801-486-6210. Online course begins at 10:00 a.m. Entry forms available at www.utahanimaladoptioncenter.org or by calling Cheryl 801-486-6210. Can also email <horses@ utahanimaladoptioncenter.org> Plan on attending the 2nd Annual Natural Horse Showdown, and show off your natural horsemanship skills or just come and watch the fun. Proceeds pay for hay and veterinary care for our 45+ rescued horses. No bits, spurs, or tie-downs please. Classes being offered on-line include Liberty, Freestyle Riding, and Finesse Riding. Enter any or all of the classes! Join us as we help save horses!