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Hoofin" it - Part 3

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I started out in Hoofin' It - Part 1 trying to find a way to find horses that don't need shoes.
In Hoofin' It - Part 2, I didn't find this but I did find a whole movement to promote unshod or barefoot horses.
I have long thought that horses are better off in the natural state without shoes but I was reluctant to take most horses into rough and rocky terrain unshod.
It appears that this may be practical after all.
This started with Captain Morgan, my gelding that will turn five years in May of this year (2010).
The Captain has really good hooves.
He has never been shod and I have taken him over some very rough terrain.
I also have two paints, Jasmine, a 12-year- old mare, and Phoenix, an 8-year-old gelding (son of Jasmine).
Phoenix was frequently losing shoes prematurely and having problems with cracks in the toes of his front hooves.
I decided to let him go unshod for a while to allow his hooves to grow past the nail holes.
I also decided to trim the toes of his front hooves with a rasp to lessen the force causing separation.
This is proving successful in that the cracks have diminished as the hooves grow out.
Jasmine, on the other hand, had carried a set of shoes way past normal duration.
In fact, I pulled her shoes a few days before reading the barefoothorse.
com articles.
Having read these articles, I now plan to leave Jasmine barefoot and begin a trimming regimen.
Hey, if this works out I can save $700 to $800 per year (refer to Hoofin' It - Part 1 and calculate for 2 horses).
The articles in the barefoothorse website do not stop at having the horse barefoot.
Judicious trimming is also recommended.
It turns out that the trimming I am doing on Phoenix's hooves is the right thing to do.
So inadvertently, I did the correct thing.
Blind pigs and acorns and all that jazz must have something to it.
All of the articles I have read so far recommend frequent trimming, as often as weekly for some horses.
This seems to be in areas of soft soils whereas the soil on my pasture is rocky (it isn't called Rocky Knoll Ranch for nothing).
Videos are available on the internet showing how to trim hooves for barefoot living, I viewed several through YouTube.
I recommend these to anyone interested.
Search "barefoot horse hoof trim" and scroll down until you find the listings.
For Part 3, I researched another website, the horseshoof.
Articles in this website are in agreement with the two previous websites.
All three websites extol the virtues of natural treatment of hooves.
That is, they rely heavily on the wild horse or mustang hoof model.
What are the characteristics of wild horse hooves? Here are a few comparisons to domestic horse hooves: Domestic hooves are long - Wild hooves are short.
Domestic hooves have long & flared toes - Wild hooves have short & rounded toes.
Domestic hooves have long heels - Wild hooves have short heels.
Domestic hooves have sharp edges - wild hooves have rounded edges.
Domestic hooves have thin walls - wild hooves have thick walls.
Domestic hooves bear weight on the periphery - Wild hooves bear weight evenly distributed (solar).
Each of these three websites provides diagrams of hooves showing healthy hooves compared to lame hooves.
They also provide photographs for these comparisons.
I must admit that I am learning a lot and have a long way to go.
I suppose I didn't know how much I didn't know.
I had always thought that the hooves should be sharp and oval in shape.
It turns out that is probably not at all good.
Some shoers in this region want to "stand up" the horses on their toes.
Research in these articles shows this configuration puts the coffin bone inside the hoof at an angle that causes lameness.
I will research this in continuing Parts.
Other topics to pursue are hoof boots and soft shoes made from urethane rather than steel.
Source...
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