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Foot Health Shod/Barefoot

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    Posted: 22 Apr 2015 at 2:59pm

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Why not shoe?

One thing you can guarantee when you have a hard-working barefoot horse is that it will get people talking - even arguing.
Other horse owners will make lots of assumptions about why you choose not to have shoes on your horse (inevitably, I suppose, I make assumptions in return about why anyone would choose to shoe a horse but I've not come up with any very satisfactory explanations although habit must play a large part).

I blogged recently in my "Living in the Dark Ages" post about how strange it is that in the 21st century so many horses are still shod. 

The assumptions people most commonly voice are that either we do it to save money (nope) or we've just been lucky and somehow stumbled across horse after horse with fantastic feet purely by chance (nope).
Yes, our horses do have fantastic, healthy feet but that's a product of the diet we feed them, the environment they live in and the work we do with them week in week out. Hoof health, like whole horse health, rarely happens by chance. 

So why not shoe? Quite simply because we want to keep those feet as healthy as possible. 
Interestingly, especially given how widespread the practice of shoeing is, there is very little evidence or research into what it does to a horse's foot. There is no research, as far as I am aware, comparing loading of of shod and bare hooves or measuring the comparative changes in them over time. 
Realistically this is difficult to achieve because owners of horses with healthy bare feet are unlikely to allow them to be shod and simply taking the shoes of a horse which has previously been shod (which is all that shod/bare studies have historically done) certainly doesn't give you a healthy bare foot as a starting point. 
So what can we know about shoes? 

Logically, as they are metal and secured with nails, they will have an effect on the temperature of the hoof. Metal is a better conductor than hoof wall so its logical to assume that (in most climates) a hoof will be colder when shod. 
In fact it was a farrier who first demonstrated this to me when he showed me something called a heat sink - a piece of aluminium designed to remove heat as efficiently as possible and which looks in essence a lot like a shoe. 
I posted about this in a blog back in 2009 but I still find it fascinating. The fact remains that shoes are an effective way of drawing heat rapidly and continuously out of hooves. Is that a good or a bad thing? I don't know but I for one prefer hooves which feel alive rather than dead. 

Another logical assumption which we can make is that shoes - particularly metal shoes - will have an effect on the internal hoof. 

Metal not only conducts heat but also shock. This is one area where there has been some research reported (Luca Bein, 1983) which confirms that a shod hoof receives significantly more concussion on a road than a barefoot horse.  For me, that's another reason not to shoe - why increase the concussion on our horses' limbs and feet if we don't have to?
The increase in concussion is not surprising. There is a double-whammy effect -  not only does the metal as a material increase shock but also the fact that a shoe loads the horse's weight onto the hoof wall, making the frog and digital cushion unable to do their job.
Over time, my experience is that an unloaded frog and digital cushion weaken and atrophy - a prime contributor to heel pain and lameness - another reason not to shoe. 

There's an additional effect which shoes may have, but where there is no equine research, so far as I am aware. Its something called stress shielding and I blogged about it in 2010 because I had a suspicion then that shoes could be affecting horses this way. 

Stress shielding is defined this way and is a familiar problem in the medical world, for example in hip and knee replacements: 

" If you replace or support a bone with a stiffer material, like metal, then the stiffer material becomes the primary load-bearing structure. This reduces load to the bone and it degenerates in response."
It seems astonishing that there has been no veterinary investigation into shoes and this phenomenon.  Bob Bowker published an article about coffin bone degeneration in shod horses but again we could do with comparative research which looks systematically at healthy, hard-working barefoot horses. Until then, coffin bone deterioration is another reason for me not to shoe my horses.

There are other reasons too. A hoof is the magnifying-glass to the horse's health and fitness. A healthy hoof is capable of incredible levels of hard work over every surface but you can't take short-cuts

Nutrition has to be right and the horse has to be moving correctly and loading balanced feet. The hooves themselves have to be brought to a level of fitness for the mileage and terrain you ask of them - unlike the "quick fix" of shoeing. 
Again, this is something I've posted about before - http://rockleyfarm.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/hoof-as-magnifying-glass.html - and its something which others have talked about more eloquently than me, notably this blog post which explains why the "hoof is the governor"  - and why this can easily be ignored in a shod horse: https://perseveranceendurancehorses.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/eventually-further-and-faster/ 
So, yet another reason not to shoe. Add to that the obvious benefits of fewer and less severe injuries and the wonderful but under-rated ability for a horse to self-trim and grow the hooves he needs in response to the stimulus he receives and I am still left wondering why barefoot is still in the minority...

6 comments:

BruceA said...

Well written post Nic. In the end of the day there is a whole industry out there that will ignore the welfare and health arguments to protect itself until it's dying breath and horses will continue to have this medieval treatment for another generation at least. It's up to owners to question everything done to their horses and they have to really take responsibility - in both trimming and shoeing - and not abdicate critical thinking and accountability to the farrier or trimmer or the vet for that matter.

21 April 2015 at 13:19
Sara said...

Long time silent reader from the USA here. I do endurance over here and my mare is barefoot with excellent feet and does very well over all types of terrain. I get a *ton* of sideways glances, downright nasty comments, and questions over my choice to leave my mare bare. In fact I had one person accuse me of abuse due to my insistence of leaving her bare. Sigh. It is so inbred into the industry that horses need metal shoes. I really hope it changes soon as many ride managers over here are now mandating hoof protection to enter the ride.

21 April 2015 at 14:25
Nic Barker said...

Bruce, I am with you 150% on this - owners are the only people who will make a long term, significant difference.

Sara, thanks for your comments and so sorry you've had such negative feedback with your mare. I can only hope that you and other riders can educate those who run your rides.

21 April 2015 at 15:10
Kayley Raymond said...

Any size horse? Please advise on length of time to be comfortable from transition of shoes to barefoot... Also...a horse with navicular.... Can they be better off barefoot... Thanks

21 April 2015 at 16:30
Babsi said...

Very well summarized and argumented! Here one - until now silent - reader of yours from Finland which still don't have balls to share it among ppl here (I guess still more than 90% are shod, it's getting better but slowly...). Last year, one horse magazine even published an article where one farrier explained that keeping a working horse barefoot here (rough rocky roads) is on verge of animal abuse.
The problem here is, except of traditional believes like "a working horse can't survive without shoes" & "the hooves will wear away", lacking knowledge how to do it right and pain-free. Me and my first horse were stumbling, unsure what's wrong, too. I guess now she was sensitive on rocks/hard ground because she's sugar sensitive and was on fulltime pasture that summer. But I wish I knew then! I didn't understand how important diet is. I had previous experience with barefoot horses but for some reasons they didn't have any of the problems I came across with my mare. They were without any issues most of the time and no special attention to their diet so I was so stressed at times not knowing what's exactly wrong with my mare and what to do about it (there wasn't only one problem and one source of problems is arthrosis (not inside of hooves but higher)). Sure, the Internet is neverending source of information but it's hard to know what to believe etc.

I'd like to ask - a good book about horse diet? I bought your book but I've found it too brief in that matter but I don't know any good book - could you recommend something (English is okay)? Here I borrowed one very popular and highly appreciated and haven't really read it yet but I couldn't agree on some things I came across there... F.e. they assume you shoe your horse - so you don't notice possible grass sensitivity; other thing - they consider normal to feed grains even to horses in light work (only not-working horses can manage on hay diet without any other source of energy) and I got an impression that in their opinion horses needs tons of sugar. Of course they keep quality hay as a cornerstone of diet but on a top of that they MUST get something more, and sugary things are preferred in general (of course they mention there needs to be a balance between energies and the exception of laminitic horses)...
Maybe I'm wrong and judge the book too harshly but it definitely doesn't suit my purpose. Well, also my horses do get not only hay but in very limited quantities and low in sugar (it's beet pulp, to be exact, and it's a way less than the lowest limit stated per day on the package, and they still have enough energy, I would say even too much! :D).
But I'd need to know more about diet suitable for barefoot horses which is low in sugar, more exact info about minerals and vitamins and their role and sources... Thank you!

21 April 2015 at 17:15
Lilylui said...

I hate shoes have 5 horses 4 barefoot and none look totally comfortable:(
One now has shoes so I can ride him I struggled for 2 years I kept his diet as advised, they had ad lib hay not much grass just older meadows that wasn't rich,
My problem as I have a concrete yard and 24/7 access to stables with open doors, his feet wore down to quick, he wore boots for riding out in, but he always looked sore,
So how can you ride out and keep the sole from touching the floor as feet have worn down too quick.
I am so disappointed he has shoes on, but he is sound now and looks comfortable
We have Tarmac and horrid gritty forest tracks here, very little grass to ride on.

21 April 2015 at 22:44
http://rockleyfarm.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/why-not-shoe.html


Edited by Gay3 - 22 Apr 2015 at 3:00pm
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Shoeing for the Roses: De Kock's Shoe-Shy Mubtaahij Thrives on Artificial Surface ​Training ​and Barefoot Hoofcare



Not every horse's journey to the Kentucky Derby​ left a trail of classic hoofprints in the dirt. One horse's prints probably show a distinct frog, the imprint of his sole...and no sign of a shoe.

That's because Mubtaahij​​, the highly-regarded invader from Dubai, is a little different.



Article protected by copyright.
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South African trainer ​Mike de Kock is known for bringing his colts to the world's top races with an eclectic plan for optimal condition and speed to peak on the day of the race.

And his training uses horseshoes differently, as well.

​When it uses them at all.​

Mubtaahij (pronounced "Moob-tah-HEEJ", which is Arabic for feeling elated) was foaled in Ireland and raised in France. He's owned by a sheikh from the United Arab Emirates, his trainer is from South Africa, his jockey is from Belgium, and his farrier team is based in the USA.



A late foal, the son of Dubawi only turned three this week. He was sold at ​the ​Deauville, France yearling sale​​ and is now owned by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, a cousin of famed racehorse owner and endurance competitor (and the current ruler of Dubai) Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

In five starts on dirt, Mubtaahij has had four wins and one second, with earnings of $1,461,332. His greatest victory was an eight-length romp last month in the UAE Derby for three year olds in the undercard of the Dubai World Cup. He was unplaced in his early efforts on turf.


Declan Cronin, the colt's farrier in Dubai, took this photo of Mubtaahij''s left front foot two weeks after the UAE Derby. The shoes were on the horse for the day of the race only; you can see the nail holes in the outside wall. The hooves are trimmed approximately every three weeks but they are scrubbed clean and disinfected daily. (HoofSolutions photo)

​About the hooves:​

Note: This information is provided by Texas farrier Pat Burton of HoofSolutions and has not been verified by Mike de Kock​ or Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Mubtaahij trains barefoot in Dubai, where his hooves were cared for by Irish farrier Declan Cronin according to the HoofSolutions regimen, which calls for regularly scheduled trimming and maintenance, along with twice-daily picking, brushing, cleaning and disinfection of hooves with a proprietary anti-microbial Sole Spray.

Pat Burton of Burleson, Texas shod 
Mubtaahij in front on Wednesday night.
(Janelle Burton photo)
HoofSolutions’ preventative maintenance program is balanced with the trainer’s role in stimulating hoof circulation by conducting consistent workouts on proper footing and providing a clean, dry and well maintained stabl​e environment. Nutritional monitoring to insure minimal requirements and the addition of any needed vitamins or minerals fills out the program.

When Mubtaahij arrived in the United States, he did not ship directly to Churchill Downs. Instead, he went to Arlington International Racecourse outside Chicago, where he trained, still without shoes, under quarantine restrictions. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Arlington has a Polytrack surface.

On Monday, the colt shipped to Churchill Downs, amidst much fanfare.

Eric Barthelmess, CJF, from Montana and Pat Burton, CJF, from Texas will be handling the colt’s hoofcare needs this week in Louisville, according to Burton. Eric has worked in South Africa, Dubai and Newmarket, England alongside Cronin, who is Burton’s partner in HoofSolutions.

They are also tending to the needs of de Kock’s Umgiyo, who is entered in the Woodford Reserve Turf on Derby Day. “Unless plans change, of course, they are usually shod the morning of the race,” Pat said.

What’s interesting is that​, back in Dubai,​ Declan has been removing the colt’s shoes right after a race, cleaning them off, putting them in a box, and tucking them away. He will then nail the same shoes back on for the next race, assuming they are useable. The lightly-used shoes traveled to America with the colt.

Wednesday night, Pat Burton shod the colt in front with his race-worn Thoro’Bred Low Toe (or Wide Web Low Toe) Thoro'Bred plates; he'll be shod with his Thoro'Bred Blocked Heel hind plates later in the week. According to Burton, the change in plans was related to the moisture and surface variances at Arlington and Churchill Downs. Normally shoes would not be applied until the day of the race.

Burton said that he would pull the horse's shoes sometime after the race on Saturday or Sunday.

Jockey Christophe Soumillon will ride Mubtaahij in the Kentucky Derby. After winning the UAE Derby, he waved the South African flag in honor of trainer Mike de Kock.​

Science behind the system​

The HoofSolutions / de Kock hoofcare program is being studied by Debra Taylor, DVM, ​MS, ​DACVIM​-LA​ of Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine​ in Alabama​. “(Dr. Taylor) has been over to Dubai in the last six weeks and to South Africa last year to record data on a group of horses in training. Mubtaahij was not in the study but his hoofcare protocol is the same as those horses in the study,” Pat said.

“Evaluation of the effect of a barefoot, high-mileage training regime on foot morphology, bone density and locomotion in Thoroughbred racehorses” is the title of Dr. Taylor’s project, which collected MRI, radiographic, morphological measurements, hoof mold and photographic data from Thoroughbred racehorses training barefoot on artificial racing surfaces in Dubai and South Africa.

The Hoof Blog has written extensively about trainers who experiment with shoeless training or racing on artificial surfaces. De Kock appears to be going beyond experimenting to develop a targeted program that uses shoelessness and optimal hoof health in combination with the kinder surface to prepare horses for racing.

It’s hard to argue with his worldwide success.

http://hoofcare.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/shoeing-for-roses-de-kock-mubtaahij-barefoot-hoofcare.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2015 at 10:14am
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These pics may give an indication of how little it takes to cause a lot to go wrong considering about 500kgs is supported by 4 of these whilst at rest, race speed massively compounding the load Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Delta Deel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2015 at 10:47am
Interesting thread Gay, growing up on a 100 000acre cattle station we probably had a plant of 30-40 stock horses as well as 10-20 hacks, ex racehorses, yearlings and a a couple of stallions.

Our country was soft with black soil flood out country, red sand and a small amount of black soil downs and no stone. None of our horses were shod, all us kids were taught to shoe our ponies at the age of about 10 so we knew how but aftet these lessons it was all about keeping hoof as natural as possible, a little longer at the toe than a shod horse and a little wider at the wall to allow load spread but always neat and tidy.

We would trim when we got them in for the season and before we turned them out to spell. Even when breaking in a pre training our gallopers we would gallop them unshod on our natural sand training track.

My old man was considered a bit of an eccentric for it but he was all about keeping the horse as natural as possible, and whilst a hard bushman would take on board new ways. To the point he let me move away from the old bush way of breaking in which was tie them up, bag em down, and get on them rough to the monty roberts inspired joining up process which was the greatest thing I ever found in horsemanship at 15yo.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote slowdown Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2015 at 10:59am
 thanks Gay, my wife has one of our ex racehorses as her project(parelli). our pasture here is around 20% protein and he soon ran into trouble on the good feed. Liz had his feet xrayed as he was having feet trouble. the vet said one of his fronts was a sinker and the other bad. he said the best she could do was put him on bute and look after him to the end. she decided to research and get help from her bare foot trimmer friend. its been a long struggle and the only grass he can get is where he can reach under the hotwire but the end result is he is fine and regularly attends clinic plus work here in the farm. diet and trimming fixed him with some excellent help from advisors on laminitis and how to repair the foot. there are sites with people who will help for the love of the horse. they give their advice and time for nothing . she sent the xrays and they were able to draw up how to trim to repair etc. the end result is she has her horse in good health and hasnt lost her great Mate..
Star - racing,Rebel - racing in 2 months, Attie - spelling, Lionel - first prep-still holding up, Brandy - commencing first prep.
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http://paulickreport.com/horse-care-category/hoof-care-category/barefootin-healthy-choice-soundness/

Barefootin’: A Healthy Choice for Soundness?

by Denise Steffanus | 03.01.2016 | 6:12pm

Tradition dictates that racehorses should be shod to get good traction and to protect the hoof, but some trainers believe not all horses should be shod, especially those racing on synthetic surfaces.

For the past seven years, Wayne Rice has raced all but one of his 30-horse string barefoot, making an estimated 1,200 barefoot starts. Rice is a trainer and veteran farrier from a family of horsemen that reaches back into the 1800s. Last year, he was second leading trainer on the Tapeta Footings surface at Presque Isle Downs near Erie, Penn. with his barefoot runners.

Rice said maintaining barefoot racehorses actually requires less effort than shoeing, and it's healthier for the foot.

“With shoes on, the hoof flexes less and has less circulation to the hoof, and they actually grow less foot,” he said. “Every trainer in America goes through the dance of trying to keep the hoof angles and hoof length right for distributing the weight and proper balance to keep the horse sound.”

With shoes, the horse's hoof has to have enough new growth to secure the nails. But if the hoof hasn't grown adequately, the farrier might have to wait six to eight weeks to reshoe, Rice said.

“It's hard on the conformation, hard on physical soundness,” he said. “Whereas barefoot, I can take the rasp and do a very light pedicure every four weeks religiously or between races. … We never had them bruise their feet or pound them enough to find any negatives for having them barefoot. The concussion and the flexion of the foot kept the foot growing, and growing more, and we were able to manicure these feet to have perfect angles.”

Bill Casner, whose Well Armed won the 2009 Dubai World Cup by a historic 14 lengths, keeps all his young horses barefoot until they are ready to race. He bases this practice on scientific evidence he learned as chairman of the Shoeing and Hoof Care Committee of the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit.

“One of the worst things we can do on those young horses when they are still developing and still growing is to put shoes on them,” Casner said. “Their feet really start getting contracted heels, and it has an effect on the blood flow to the digital cushion and the back third of the foot. These are all things that science shows us. And we understand that Mother Nature will provide the necessary strength to deal with the stresses that are presented it. If you put shoes on a horse, its feet are not going to be nearly as strong.”

Tradition is not the only reason Rice believes many trainers opt for training and racing with shoes. He said economics and worry about losing the client are factors.

“If the horse doesn't win, there's another trainer standing there telling the owner, ‘If he'd have put shoes on him, you'd have better traction and the horse would have won.' He'll try to convince the client to move the horse over to him so he can put shoes on and run him.

“I don't have that problem; I own all my own horses. So I've been able to do a study without having to answer to a client.”

Rice did point out that some dirt surfaces might not be suitable for barefoot racing. He is a regular at Keeneland Race Course, but since the track has replaced its synthetic surface with dirt, he shoes his horses when racing there but pulls the shoes to race over the synthetic surfaces at Woodbine in Toronto and Presque Isle.

Renowned farrier and lecturer Dr. Ric Reddensaid genetics play a big role in whether a racehorse's feet have the natural mass, strength, and durability to go unshod.

“Thoroughbreds, as a rule, are among the breeds that notoriously have thinner walls and slower growth patterns, which makes it a bit tougher to condition feet to an acceptable level of self-sustaining durability while enduring the rigors of training and racing,” he said. “However, there are those individuals that can respond well to a good barefoot program that has the farrier, trainer, veterinarian, and caretaker all on the same page and alert to the daily needs and requirements.”

Redden had this advice for trainers who want to train and race their horses unshod: “Lack of mass and water-saturated horn tissue are the recipe for folding heel tubules. Add speed and you have the proverbial crushed heel and negative palmar angle, one of the greatest perils facing most racehorses worldwide.

“The traditional mud bucket must go, as it only weakens the structural stability of horn tissue. Bedding on sawdust or shavings and using products that increase hardness is quite helpful. Trimming basically should be performed with a sanding block to maintain mass.”

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Tiffany A 9 hours ago

I am always shocked when I get horses I bred back from the track and look at what their feet have become. These are horses that had good quality hooves and appropriate angles as yearlings. If the horse can go barefoot and be appropriately managed, all the better. But for those horses that need shod, I have never seen such horrible farrier work as some of the horses returning from the track. I know there are some great track farriers, but they must be a rare commodity. I believe Ric Reddon once said "that some of the most expensive horses on the planet are getting shod by some of the worst farriers".


peggy conroy Tiffany A 9 hours ago

Ditto....however I tried keeping them barefoot when training on a dirt track (Bowie, Md) and eventually had to put shoes on when they were fit enough to begin breezing because the toes were worn down extremely short. I'm a person who wants them as short as the correct angle allows, but they do need some toe. Training just on turf, no problem, as long as feet are rasped a bit regularly to keep them exactly balanced.


Oda Barhuf 3 hours ago

Some hooves are genetically more blessed than others , but one notoriously overlooked factor, by many traditional hoof care providers , veterinarians and horse owners alike, is how the DIET affects hoof health. If you feed the hooves right, chances are high that they will be much healthier!
If you feed hooves like this, you WILL get healthier hooves!
http://www.hoofrehab.com/Diet....


Concerned Observer 3 hours ago

90% of all trainers do it the way they saw it done when they first learned. Original thinking is rare. Formula training (every horse gets the same treatment) is common. It is rare for a trainer to specifically "tell" a farrier what is expected (angles, heels).

30 years of experience? Or one year of experience repeated 30 times? It is human nature, and not just in horse training.



nicehorsey 7 hours ago

I too am a small breeder and run a race horse rest farm for the past 40 years. I'm amazed some horses remain sound enough to run with the lack of heel and length of toe when we receive them. Just looking at the angle makes it terribly clear the tendons are going to be compromised. I never understood the huge "breakover" that obviously is going cause unsoundness down the line. I pull the shoes on these layups as soon as they can handle bare feet. We gently rasp when we get some growth to send them back with a better foot.


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‘I will never shoe another horse’ – Nick Hill

by Linda Chamberlain

I want you to meet a trained farrier – one that says he will never shoe again because of the harm it causes. He turned his back on the trade because separating the horse from the ground was the beginning of a destructive process. He became a barefoot trimmer because he was forever fighting against nature, causing the hoof to distort and break from constant renailing. With all our wisdom and technology, there had to be a better way…

His name is Nick Hill and he has a list of changes needed for the domestic horse that is shopping-list long. If anyone can make a few of these demands happen it is this quietly, committed man who travels the world educating owners about a new way of caring for the species.

There is more to looking after a horse’s hoof than the style or frequency of its trim. This animal urgently needs some changes in its care if it is to lead a healthy life.

Interestingly, he finds the same health issues affecting the horse in many different parts of the world. Domestication inevitably brings problems whether that animal is in the rain-soaked UK or sun-filled Kenya.

I have a picture in my mind of Nick fighting his way through customs with a hoof rasp and suspicious-looking knives in his bag; in reality he has met only a few raised eyebrows as he crosses international borders but I am astonished that he encounters the same equine issues in a long list of countries – USA, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Estonia, Italy, Portugal, Israel, Spain, France, Denmark, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Lesotho and the UK where he has held clinics aimed at improving the horses’ hooves…and lifestyle.

‘If inappropriate management is put in place and undue expectations are put on a species, then we shouldn’t be surprised when health becomes compromised. Domestication always throws up challenges, but it’s not a reason to simply say I can’t…better to ask how we can?’ he explains.

So, what is it we do to the horse around the world that compromises him so much?

Mankind has taken him from a herd-loving, free-roaming creature and given him a job to do. In exchange we offer a diet rich in cereals rather than forage and a small house of his very own to live in. To seal the animal’s fate we nail a shoe to his foot.

So wherever he goes, Nick sees laminitis, navicular and other man-made diseases of the hoof. He finds digestive upset, compromised immunity, mental distress from lack of movement as well as breathing problems thanks to confinement.

No wonder that an animal treated this way might have difficulties walking on his own feet.

And yet Nick warns, ‘Shoeing unbalances the whole horse and over a period of time will further distort the hoof. An unbalanced body makes for an unbalanced mind, which in turn affects the immune system. To cut the contact between the equid and the ground is the start of destroying of what makes him a horse. Shoes just mask problems, they don’t solve them.

‘Most farriers that I know would rather not shoe. It’s extremely hard, skilled work and once heading down that path they are fighting against nature and trying to stop the capsule from distorting and breaking up from the constant renailing.

‘Barefoot is the footwear of choice when the horse is born, if allowed to fully develop in a good environment  and access to a more natural  lifestyle and diet, then it’s simple. Barefoot is normal. The abnormalities come from misuse/abuse of the equine.’

He believes that any horse can go barefoot. Not all will cope being ridden but most transition without difficulty and recover well from these human-inflicted conditions. ‘People’s expectations of what horses can and should do must be looked at. It saddens me that the equine has fewer legal rights than any other species. It’s hard to understand  when most humans mention how amazing and wonderful the equid is, yet if they truly understood the needs of the species then there would be a massive upheaval of the diet, lifestyle and expectations, which would be legislated for internationally.’

He’s right, you know. No zoo is allowed to treat the zebra the way most people treat the domestic horse. Legislation ensures the zebra’s need for herd life is respected. The horse’s need to socialise has not been squashed by thousands of years of domestication but it is often denied him thanks to the widespread use of single-stall stabling. Sometimes around the clock.

I asked Nick about the ideal diet for a barefoot horse.

His advice is to keep it as simple as possible and away from monocultured grass paddocks.

‘I usually say that if a bag of feed is promoted as healthy for horses then don’t use it. (There are companies out there that are making better products now). You need to research whatever you feed your horse. Don’t just believe what’s written on the bag.

‘People have really got to ask themselves why they are feeding what they are feeding. Horses should be treated as athletes, you wouldn’t expect an overweight person to be able to perform as an Olympian, so why expect a horse to move properly with excess weight, let alone carry a human. An overweight horse is not a healthy horse.’

And lifestyle?

‘Just take a look at groups of feral horses around the world, you will then see how horses need to live, social interaction, movement (yes there are some groups of feral horses that just survive and are not in the best conditions). You will at least see how far removed a lot of domesticated horses are from what nature intended.

‘If you look at feral horses in ideal environmental conditions you will see athletes who are sound and strong, healthy, alert and full of life, living like nature intended, with strong physical and mental health, sound, with short toes and heels, running over all substrates without having to worry.

‘Try and emulate the above and you will get a healthier equine. If your horse can’t move, socialise, eat little and often, then guess what?  You are going to have problems.’

Before I give you Nick’s shopping-list for change let me tell you a bit about his background. It includes agricultural college and working in traditional livery yards as a riding instructor. He trained as a farrier because his own horses were struggling to stay sound.

‘I was trained by traditional farriers who were using the Cyteck method of shoeing; they seemed to be getting good results.

‘This was in the Highlands of Scotland (before the Farriers’ Registration Council took control of the whole of the UK) and I also travelled to the USA.

‘I learnt several important lessons, both from the equines and other professionals. Everything pointed to the same conclusion – there must be a better way forward, for all involved in the industry.’

I often ask my interviewees about their vision for the horse’s future. Most give me a line or two. I love that Nick has been suitably ambitious.

As promised…here is the list…

  • An end to remedial shoeing to mask lameness in competition horses.
  • Livery yards/farms paying more attention to the needs of equines rather than the needs of the land, or what looks nice.
  • Feed companies being regulated against selling bags of rubbish dressed up as healthy feeds.
  • Horse owners recognising the true needs of the horse and knowing the difference between good and unhealthy hooves (as they do reflect the health of the horse).
  • More open-minded vets.
  • Shoeing being replaced by barefoot and booting technologies (the farriers have the necessary skills to make changes but it needs to come from horse owners and vets as well).
  • Stud farms and breeders to take better responsibility for the formative years and allowing the horse to develop fully.
  • The ruling bodies of all equine competitions to state that no horse can compete until fully mature.
  • Professionals should aim to fix the horse’s diet, environment and movement and then implement mechanical changes to the hoof. This applies to some trimming schools of thought as well as traditional farriery and veterinary work.
  • Having professionals and horse owners understanding better handling techniques, recognising that there’s a reason for every reaction. Patience, understanding and kindness bring greater results in my experience.

‘The list is probably longer but let’s see,’ he says.

So, dear reader, if you could choose just one thing from Nick’s demands for the horse, what would it be? Tell us what you think is important by clicking on ‘comments’ and leaving some feedback. Press the follow button to keep in touch.

And if you want to get in touch with Nick you can find him on Facebook  or you can email him on nickhill984@gmail.com

Photos can be seen in the article at: https://nakedhorse.wordpress.com/2016/03/05/i-will-never-shoe-another-horse-nick-hill/

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2016 at 7:40pm
Some great TB feet pre, during & post rehab, refuting the oft heard "shelly walls, thin soled, pencil thin frogs......they need shoes". The pictorial shows some genuinely cr@ppy feet brought back to strong & functional with correct nutrition & hoof care Big smile

http://blog.easycareinc.com/blog/notes-from-the-field/off-the-track-thoroughbreds-all-with-beautiful-rehabilitated-feet
Monday, March 5, 2012 by Dawn Willoughby

Once and for all let's make a concerted effort to debunk a popular myth that thoroughbreds have shelly walls, thin soles, pencil thin frogs and for these reasons they need shoes. "The hell!" I say. Even with wrong hoof care from birth to rescue/career change, the vast majority of OTTBs can be rehabbed to soundness. And gorgeous feet!

Cayuga

When I met him he was 12 years old, shod most of his life. He trained on the track but did not race. Cayuga was living at Tory Hill, a gorgeous farm with a herd of about 10 barefoot geldings, mostly OTTBs, with full turnout on huge and hilly pastures.

- See more at: http://blog.easycareinc.com/blog/notes-from-the-field/off-the-track-thoroughbreds-all-with-beautiful-rehabilitated-feet#sthash.Kjhq9h5L.dpuf
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Half of laminitis cases missed by horse owners

horseResearch suggests owners struggle to recognise laminitis

A new study of horse owners has revealed that around 50 per cent were not able to recognise laminitis in their horses.

The research formed part of the CARE study by the Animal Health Trust and the Royal Veterinary College. CARE is a web-based equine cohort study that aims to find out how common laminitis is and which lifestyle factors contribute to it.

In one aspect of the ongoing study, researchers looked at the level of agreement between vets and owners about whether a horse had laminitis.

Using a number of clinically diagnosed laminitis cases reported by veterinary practices, they found that in around half of the cases, horse owners had not suspected laminitis.

“Equine laminitis is ranked as one of the top health concerns by both owners and vets,” said PhD student Dee Pollard, who is leading the study. “Most horse owners will have either had experience of laminitis themselves or will know of someone who has. However, it is a notoriously complex disease and diagnosis is not always straightforward.”

There are no clinical signs that are seen in every case and the condition can often masquerade as another problem, such as colic or abscess.

“This makes it even more vital to raise awareness about the disease, to ensure earlier detection, and to support research that helps find out how we can best prevent it developing in the first place,” Dee added.

The CARE study works by recruiting a large number of members who will contribute regular information over time. Known as a ‘cohort study’, this method has been used extensively in human medicine and has led to important findings that link lifestyle factors to certain diseases.

So far, the project has more than 1,500 members but it needs another 1,000. Dee urged horse owners to get involved, calling for a collaborative effort from owners, professionals and researchers to raise awareness and, in time, to allow for easier early recognition of laminitis.

For more information, visit www.careaboutlaminitis.org.uk

Source: mrcvs.co.uk

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http://equinewellnessmagazine.com/how-hoof-form-affects-your-horse/

How Hoof Form Affects Your Horse


by Catherine Katsirdakis and Lisa Huhn

Can foot form really affect a horse’s conformation? Rest assured it can and does – in fact, it affects much more than that! The condition, overall shape and functioning of your horse’s feet infl uence not only his posture, stance, attitude, personality and movement, but also his bodily functions such as circulation, lymph function, digestion and muscle development. We will even go so far to say that foot form and function have a great infl uence on your horse’s trainability and soundness – physically, emotionally and mentally.

What is good hoof form?
A few simple guidelines can be used to assess whether your horse has healthy hoof form.

From the side,
your horse’s hoof should look triangular. With the limb fully weighted, the hairline (or coronet band) should be straight and resting at a 30° angle. The front (dorsal) angle should be roughly 45° to 50° in the forelimbs and 50° to 55° in the hind limbs.

From the front, the coronet band should appear level and straight – any humps or deviations in shape indicate uneven pressure.

From the rear,
your horse’s heel bulbs should be thick, round and low to the ground. You should be able to fit one or two fi ngers comfortably between the bulbs. From the bottom, the frogs should be thick, dense, triangular pads, blending smoothly with the heel bulbs to form a “heart” shape. The sole should be smooth and convex, forming a bowl. The bearing surface of the heel should be level with the widest point of the frog, and the hoof wall should be approximately the same thickness all the way around.

The white line
should be a solid elastic “seal” all the way around. Any black material or gaps in the white line are not acceptable and your horse could present with lameness until this is rectify

Common pathologies
Contraction refers to an excessively narrow foot, with heels and bulbs pinched together. This is one of the most common pathologies affl icting domestic horses today. Contracted feet can be linked to a host of behavioral problems such as bucking, rearing, teeth grinding, tripping, headshaking, rushing or balking. Jumping horses with contracted hooves will be “dirty stoppers” – refusing to jump fences with the shock-absorbing system in their feet compromised. These are often horses who will “bronc” or bolt away from the landing side after jumping.

Thrush always goes hand in hand with contraction. When the heel bulbs are pinched together, the frog is also stressed, pinched and crowded. It will atrophy and shrivel up which makes it susceptible to ever-present opportunistic bacteria and fungi. Many horse owners do not recognize thrush because it is so common. We are told to occasionally apply some caustic goo in blue, purple or green and forget about it. What is not realized is the impact unhealthy frog pads can have on limb function. When the frog pad is hurt, the horse will begin to avoid using them and land “toe first”. This landing limits the horse’s stride range by several inches, and the compromised use of the limb with each stride predisposes him to soft tissue injuries such as tendon or suspensory injuries. Long term, this type of movement leads to navicular or DDFT lameness. Thrush pain can also cause a horse to stand over at the knee; commonly considered a conformation fault, this fl aw can often be “cured” with improved hoof management!

Under-run heels are also known as “under-slung” or “crushed” heels. This condition is often confused with a horse that “doesn’t grow heel” or has “no heel”. In fact, these horses generally have excess amounts of heel, but it is easily overlooked because it grows on a dramatically forward plane. These horses can be predisposed to bowed tendons and suspensory injuries.

Flares are one of the most preventable hoof pathologies, and a major contributor to winging/paddling gaits. Simply provide a balanced trim at regular intervals, and fl ares will become a non-issue in your horses. Some horses do need a shorter trimming/shaping schedule of just a few weeks to gain control and heal the fl are thoroughly. Do not leave your horse for months between trims.

Cracks and chipping are also very preventable. Balanced trimming at short intervals will “cure” chronic cracking problems. If your horse has quarter cracks, or chips in the quarters, he is receiving a “flat” or non-functioning trim. He is simply shedding excess material. Trimming to accommodate the natural plane of the foot will eliminate the problem. If your horse has a coronary band injury, he will probably grow out a thin crack like a scar. This should not affect his performance.

Medial/lateral imbalance refers to a horse whose hooves are imbalanced left to right. Shockingly, many horses are trimmed and/or shod out of balance for years at a time! These horses often have uneven arthritic changes in the joints of the lower limb (appearing as hard “bubbly” material surrounding the joints). This imbalance can be a major contributor to ringbone and sidebone. Improvements can be made to these conditions through regular, balanced trimming, resulting in increased comfort and longevity for your horse.

Five hearts
When a healthy and fully functioning equine foot strikes the ground, it will expand approximately 3mm to 5mm and fi ll with cushioning blood. As the foot leaves the ground, it contracts, expelling blood from the foot. The action of your horse’s feet assists his heart in pumping blood throughout the limbs and body, as if he has five hearts. Certain pathologies can disrupt this process, restricting blood fl ow and limiting the function of his feet. Now think – if four of your horse’s “hearts” are constricted, how is the fi fth to function at full capacity? Imagine the potential of your horse if he were able to fully utilize all his resources.

As you can see, a properly formed and functioning foot affects your horse’s entire well being. Pay close attention to his hooves, and address any imbalances and pathologies with your trimmer as they arise, for optimal health and performance.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2016 at 11:54am
Laminitis with rotation is not a death sentence, this is a wonderful story of dedication to save a young life, regardless of athletic outcome Thumbs Up




Michael Hibbs Racehorse Training
20 hrs ·

This past Good Friday, Michael, and I had the pleasure of having lunch with our friend, and Hoof Naturopath, Carola Adolph (in sunnies). How we met Carola is a story I would like to share. With the negativity going around regarding owners and trainers not supporting their horses who break down, are retired, or too slow, I would like to bring attention to a group of very special owners, and carers, who stood by, and supported one very special horse. His name is Red Gold aka Ernest, a 2010 gelding by Elvstroem x Red Temptation. Ernie, whom was purchased at the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, and never had the opportunity to race, or even trial.

In July 2013, during his first preparation, Ernie had the misfortune of acquiring a massive hoof abscess in his near hind. Subsequently, , he foundered, and rotated the pedal bone in his opposite hind, which unfortunately penetrated the sole one day after his protective boot came off. At this point, both our vet, and farrier said they could do no more for him. We were told that we were being "cruel to keep him going", that we would " not see him sound again", and I know that most people who saw him didn't believe he would live, never mind go on to be the horse we had the joy to see again at lunch on Good Friday. For Michael, and I, who had cared for Ernie his entire short life, we could not look at his beautiful, trusting face, and say goodbye. while I am all for ending an animals suffering humanely, Ernie has other plans in life than to die at age three. He would go on to show us this every day of his 12 month healing process. Boxed 24/7, daily bandage changing, foot soaking, antibiotic injections, and bute twice daily for the first two weeks, herbal, and naturopathic remedies ( every four hours around the clock until he was out of the woods). Not once did we see ears back, or an attempt to kick, or bite. He knew we were there for him.

Michael was Ernie's trainer, however, he luckily owned by a small group of wonderful people. Long standing owner Danny Scasni, Charles White, and Tony Coloquhoun. These three men, never questioned what we chose to do with Ernie the entire twelve months it took to save him. Even in the finish, when his final X-rays confirmed he would not be able to race, they supported him, and us. All they would say is, " as long as he is happy, keep going".

Today, three years on, Ernie is a big, beautiful, happy boy, and resides with Carola, and two horse friends ( one also an ex racehorse).

We wish to thank Victoria Ferguson for help with Ernie's natural diet, Naturopath Lisa Hailes for her never ending support, and knowledge, getting Ernie through each and every stage of the healing process. Supporting his mental, as well as physical health. We would like to thank Carola Adolph. For without her, telling a very upset me during our first conversation, " No one needs to die because of a sore fingernail"!!!! Ernie would be a distant memory, and none of us would have the pleasure of seeing this special horse relishing life. Carola, the care you gave Ernie ( and me) was endless. You were here nearly daily for so many months, checking on him, reassuring me... Your dedication and passion to both your profession, as well as the beautiful animals we are fortunate enough to share the world with is awe inspiring. Michael, and I are so thankful we have had the chance to meet you. Never could Ernie have gone to a better home.

Most of all we would like to thank Danny, Charles, and Tony for financially supporting their horse, and for trusting our decisions, when so many owners wouldn't have. We wish success for each of you as you all deserve it. The racing industry would have a much better reputation if the majority of owners had the duty of care that you all have. You are three in a million.

Michael & Michelle


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jul 2016 at 4:13pm

Pasture vs Barefoot Trim

OK Folks … Today we’ll start a new little series on the topic of Pasture trim vs. a natural, barefoot trim for horses’ hooves.

Not to start a war and not to disrespect anyone but to help educate and teach. Because there ARE differences. We’ll go into the individual differences in this little series.

Most commonly, a pasture trim is one that shortens the hoof all-round and does so to a flat plane.  Shortens the toes, the heels, the soles … and let’s define ‘shorten’ vs. ‘bring back’ right at the get-go here.

Hooves grow at the approximate rate of about ¼” a month. If the horse lives on a soft environment that doesn’t afford ‘self trimming’, then we have to help out the situation with interventional aid.  Naturally, given a varied, natural environment, the hoof doesn’t just ‘shorten the toes, the heels, the sole’ … nature sculpts, all around, the perfect hoof on the horse for that individual horse. The hooves will be worn and grown at a rate that best suits the individual for a healthy hoof that is both physiologically correct as well as functionally correct.

In other words, as I said, nature ‘sculpts’ the hooves.  


Above  is a photo that I copied, printed, and laminated to take with me to my jobs for years. For inspiration, and reminder of what a beautiful, functional, healthy hoof SHOULD look like! This hoof belongs to “Imaj Zamir ” who had just completed a 100 mile endurance race – BAREFOOT! In fact, he earned the Tom Quilty Endurance Ride buckle!  He exhibited no insults to the hooves or legs! Just amazing!  Look at the “sculpting” of that hoof – I see no perfectly flat planes on that hoof … That hoof has FEEL to it – curves and strength, rounding and beveling and wholeness. The toes is ‘back’ yet thick; once can see the thick sole and strong thick walls and heels … Just amazing.

Ironically, for as many years as I’ve trimmed hooves (sculpted hooves), I was, and still am, pretty good with it but when I took sculpting in high school … I was HORRIBLE with it!  I couldn’t sculpt a lump of clay or a piece of wood to save my own live.  I was horrible. The end result was just as unrecognizable as the lump with which I started! 

I guess I didn’t listen to the clay or wood closely enough. I learned to listen to hooves, though!  

But I digress here … back to the definition of shorter vs. bringing back the toes, etc.

OK .. so nature "sculpts" while shortening the toe means simply that … shortening the toe and mostly, by most farriers, this is done UNDERNEATH the hoof with a knife, nippers and rasp; the rasp being a flat-planed tool. The toes are thinned from doing this -- thus reducing the protective properties as well as the overall strength of the hoof. 

In the above photo we see that the walls have been rasped down to a flat plane with no beveling at all.  The toe has been rasped down (shortened) and the hoof is almost flat. 

In the 2nd photo heels have been lowered (shortened) so much that they’re pink – that means they are very close to the blood source. One can also see live sole (the yellowy-waxy appearance of the toe callus area) and the knife is 'digging' into the sole. There is also evidence of old bleeding in the white line that tell of separation of the white line and trauma. This is hoof that has been ‘shortened’. Now compare that to a naturally trimmed hoof:  (yes, this is a rear hoof while the top one is a front hoof. But just take a look at the differences. What do you see?) 

Using a rasp to BRING BACK the toes is doing just that. With the hoof on a stand,

the toe is brought back to an acceptable place that is just shy of the white line.  See how the rasp is held at a 90* angle to the hoof wall? The toe is then "brought back' to the point where laminae is 'sticking' to the hoof and the entire wall is done this way from heel to heel (if needed). That is 'bringing the toes back'. 

  

Compare this naturally trimmed hoof to Zamir's hoof above: (the identifying markers on this photo is showing the natural sole callus as well as showing the comparison to what the INSIDE of the hoof might look like) 

  
(Photo from PENZANCE Natural Hoofcare)

 

So that is one major difference between the pasture trim and the natural, barefoot trim – toes that are ‘shortened’ vs. toes that are ‘taken back’.  Granted, even on pasture trims toes are ‘taken back’ but from what I’ve seen, not nearly enough to eliminate a long-toed hoof.  And we’ve read how the pasture trim will trim a hoof flat; vs. ‘sculpting’ the hoof to mimic the wear and growth from a natural environment.

More differences coming up on Friday -- so stay tuned! 

And please remember - if you feel you'd like to arrange a consult about your horses' hooves, please do not hesitate to contact me. I work with people all across the globe. I can help you and your team of healthcare providers get your horse in optimal condition - naturally!   gwen.santagate@gmail.com

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Jill Colwell to barefoothorseinaustralia
14 hrs ·

In the last three months in SE QLD, there have been 13 flat races for pure bred Arabians, on a variety of tracks - including track ratings of 'heavy', and 'soft with heavy grass cover', and 'hard and pebbly'. Nearly 70 % of these races have been won by barefoot horses - with their best winning % being 80% on the 'hard and pebbly' track. All I can say is: "Let their hooves do the talking."

Frances Hughes thanks for the stats - very interesting. do you know what percentage of the horses running were barefoot? I'm guessing it's not 70%, so statistically being barefoot gives you a greater likelihood of a win.


Jill Colwell Actually only 42 % of the runners have been barefoot, but they have won nearly 70 % of the races. The best Arabian racehorse in Australia, Djehlbi was beaten when he raced plated (narrowly beaten by my barefoot mare Aloha Desert Jewel), but Djehlbi has won his subsequent two races barefoot - However, there was a bit more to his improved form than removing his shoes.

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Against the odds

by Linda Chamberlain

By the age of 10 most race horses will have retired or met with a sticky end.

And yet Zakatal is at the peak of his form; he’s winning races and he’s looking good.

It’s very rare for race goers to notice there is something different about him.  His jockey is reportedly not bothered and a punter once shouted out – ‘Does it work?’ while Zak was parading in the paddock before a race.

You see, this handsome grey is barefoot and according to his co-owner David Furman (below) that gives him a fantastic edge.

‘Sometimes I think about all the other horses and I say, go on, keep shoeing them; it gives us an advantage. But from a welfare point of view it doesn’t sit comfortably with me,’ he said.

‘Zak is 10 now and he’s never been better. Most race horses are broken down by that age and I think shoes have a massive part to play in that. Once they are barefoot they track up so much better; they are so much sounder.’

The grey must have a bit of feline in his equine blood because he’s probably used up a few lives in his short one. He was bought from a large racing yard by David and his cousin John Sugarman about five years ago.

‘He was in a proper state and his feet were unbelievable,’ said David.

Horses have long been a passion for David and his wife, Gill, who live in East Yorkshire and transitioned a couple of other horses to barefoot before Zak. They were convinced of the benefits and so were in no doubt that he would improve without shoes.

Zak’s body was also in need of some TLC and after about a year’s recovery the owners thought he could return to flat racing. But his trainer at the time insisted on shoes. David and John acquiesced and were rewarded when the horse showed promise by coming second in four races.

The sport has a high injury toll though and Zak was injured training on the gallops. He came home. He became barefoot again and recovered. He went to another trainer, remained barefoot but didn’t live up to his earlier promise.  David thought to retire him but John didn’t want to give up.

So they tried Zak with a newly established trainer, Rebecca Menzies, and he’s proving better than ever. In 10 races he’s won three times and been placed five.

He’s going to stay barefoot even though the rules bar him from some race tracks. As a barefooter he is only allowed on all-weather surfaces. The restriction doesn’t apply to jump racing.

Officials of the racing authorities fear barefoot horses are more liable to slip and flat racing is high speed.

Perhaps they will reconsider such nonsense when there are more horses like Zak delighting the crowds and winning at such a ‘ripe old age’.

But interviewing Zak’s owner made me especially curious about his trainer, Rebecca Menzies (right), who has had a licence for three years and works from a yard in Co. Durham.

I wanted to know if she had been skeptical taking on a barefoot horse.

She said: ‘I had very little knowledge about the management techniques to ensure that it was successful. I was very lucky to be able to spend the day with Mike De Kock in Newmarket (who trains top class flat horses barefoot) and he showed me a number of examples of hooves at different stages of transitioning and I learned the importance of very regular trimming & management. He had a pea gravel horse walker and several gravel turnout paddocks, his horses feet were like iron and his system worked brilliantly. MDK is a very clever guy and a massively successful trainer, he researches everything meticulously and in his opinion it is much better for horses to be trained without shoes. He showed me that with a bit of time to transition and some simple changes to our routine , it would be possible to train a barefoot horse (even without a treadmill, rubber walkways and a pea gravel walker!).

‘In terms of racing a barefoot horse, the British Horse Racing Authority are clamping down on the running of horses without shoes. In their opinion (and the opinion of the Professional Jockeys’ Association) horses are more likely to slip when raced without shoes. We now have to apply for clearance to run on turf without shoes & there must be a veterinary reason why the horse cannot be conventionally shod – this is why Zakatal has only been allowed to run on the all weather (sand) this year. The fact that the horse may be sounder, can cope better with training barefoot etc. are not deemed valid enough reasons by the BHA to race un-shod.’

And could more horses race without shoes? I asked.

Rebecca has no doubt…’providing the trainers and carers of the horse are trained properly in barefoot management. We are lucky that David keeps on top of his feet & he is seen regularly by his trimmer, Fiona Varian.

‘Zak has won three races for us without shoes and has stayed very sound throughout a hard season. He’s obviously a very happy horse and you couldn’t find a better advert for training / racing a horse barefoot. I am more than happy to run a horse without shoes on the all weather, however, I would be nervous about running a barefoot horse on turf. This is not because I think they are more likely to slip, Zakatal has amazing grip on all surfaces (you could argue better than a shod horse) but I would be very worried about the consequences should anything happen. The BHA have made it quite clear that they don’t want horses running without shoes and I wouldn’t be in a position to fight my case should anything happen.’

Zak is treated like all the other horses at the racing yard. He has plenty of turnout and lots of hay. There are a few stoney paths which he copes with well, but he mainly trains on an all weather fibres and surface. He gets physio treatments and has a trim every week.

Rebecca said: ‘I couldn’t be happier with him now he has returned from his summer holiday! He’s a very enthusiastic horse and quite obviously loves what he does, I love watching him run and quite often he is competing against horses who have a lot less miles on the clock.

‘We have plenty of veteran horses (older than ten) and they prove that if look after them well , they can continue to enjoy the racing life for many years (and have a lovely life when they retire too !)’

https://nakedhorse.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/zak-2.jpg


Experience is something you gain a few minutes after you could have used it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Oct 2016 at 4:46pm
Who wrote that ?


STRIKE WHILST THE IRON IS HOT

reductio ad absurdum

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Oct 2016 at 5:23pm
The top of the article says Linda Chamberlain Wink
Also 2 interesting ones on Mike De Kock & his minimal use of shoes:

https://hoofcare.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/shoeing-for-roses-de-kock-mubtaahij-barefoot-hoofcare.html

http://www.vetmed.auburn.edu/blog/cvm-news/veterinary-medicine-professor-works-kentucky-derby-trainer-hoof-research/


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