Double Star Ranch

 

Who am I?

I am a Certified Natural Trimmer offering reliable natural hoof care with several years of experience trimming my own herd of horses. I understand the importance of your horse's hoof health and take the time to access what issues there might be and what the horse requires before trimming. I am more than happy to help you learn about such a vital part of your horse's health and will answer any question you may have.

Why go barefoot?

You shoe your horse automactically but, have you ever thought about why that first horseshoe was used? When shoes were first invented, it was done so out of neccessity. The feet of their horses were falling apart and it was reconized then that without good feet, the horse was no good. Being that horses were the main source of transport for many years, a lame horse was of no good thus they had to find a way to prevent the deterioation of the horses' hooves and the iron horseshoe was developed. This all make sense but, have you ever thought as to why the horse's hoof was falling apart? Now a days, it is considered cruelty to leave a horse standing in their own pee and poop and other muck - this was not always so! Time was so valuable that if people did not think it was necessary, then it just wasn't done and stalls weren't cleaned. Horses were left to stand in the filth and muck caused mostly by pee and poop and this wrecked havic on their hooves. Now you wouldn't think twice about cleaning the horse's stall or paddock and removing the horse from standing in heavy muck. Horse hooves are no longer in the same conditions they were when horseshoes were first invented.

A metal shoe prevents natural flexion in the horse's hoof walls and prevents the frog (and digital cushion) from hitting the ground and performing their job of shock absorbtion. The lack of hoof wall flexion and shock absorbtion in the frog and digital cushion means that the concussive forces are then moved into the joints of the horses. By removing the unflexing metal shoe, the horse regains those anti-concusive features decreasing the stress placed on the horse's joints. This is the biggest benefit to removing shoes but, there are many other benefits to removing shoes. By removing the shoes, you are bringing the horse back to a more natural state of living which creates healthier hooves.

Another benefit is aditional traction. The unshod hoof will "grip" the slippery surfaces such as rocks and ice. I have seen many shod horses slipping on rocks that the unshod horses walk along with no problems. A good example of horses being naturally trimmed having better traction than those with shoes would be when we were operating sleigh rides. We had two teams of draft horses and as we decided to transition our horses from being shod to unshod, we left the shoes on one team and pulled the shoes from the second. In the winter months, we did use corks and/or borium added to the drafts shoes to give them extra traction. Travelling along the same path, the team would had the shoes with extra traction added would slip more than the team who was naturally trimmed.

Why should you get a natural trimmer to trim your horse's hooves as opposed to a conventional farrier doing a pasture trim?

A conventional farrier (one who would generally shoe your horse) tends to nip off the excess wall, trim the frog and rasp the hoof flat. Should he/she be preparing it for a shoe, they would more than likely trim out the "dead" sole prior to nipping the hoof walls. The hoof is trimmed in a way that it will be flat for the shoeing process with the addition of a slight roll applied. While the natural trim will trim the horse's hoof in such a way that it would mimic the natural wear of the hoof in ideal conditions. These hooves are not completely flat and will use the entire hoof for weight bearing as opposed to just the outer rim of the hoof wall. The "dead" sole will be left as a callus to help protect the horse from sensitivity and often naturally wears itself off. A natural trimmer will correct some common issues such as underslung heels and white line seperation.

Can your horse go barefoot?

YES! We have not yet found a horse that is unable to go barefoot. Over 40 horses that we have had in our care over the past several years have succussfully been transitioned from being shod to being unshod with correct natural trimming. There will be a transition period after removing your horse's shoes where you may notice their hooves are more sensitive, particularily when walking on hard or rocky ground. It is recommended to use boots during this period of time.

When we decided to remove the shoes from our horses, they were being ridden on varied terrian, much of which was very rocky mountain trails and they would often be ridden 6-8 hours in a day. We were told that the ground would be too rocky or the work too long for them to be able to successfully transition over. Having a mixed herd of horses we had everything from appaloosas, paints, quarter horses, and even thoroughbreds, again we were told it was not possible for all of the horses, especially the weak-hooved thoroughbreds, to go barefoot. I found that the horses developed stronger, healthier feet once we removed the shoes and with time, they were all able to transition to going unshod - even on the rocky trails!

Your horse has white feet though and since white hooves are weaker, you are being told that they cannot go without being shod. This is a myth! White hooves and black hooves are not any weaker or stronger then the other. In fact, many of our white-hooved horses transitioned quicker than the ones with black hooves.

How long is the "transition period"?

This varies from horse to horse. Some horses are able to go out immediately without showing any sensitivity while others may take a year or more to successfully transition over to comfortably ride on any terrian without shoes. Using a pair of good fitting hoof boots is one way that you can help your horse be more comfortable during the transition period. The boots allow the horse's hoof to function as though it is unshod while giving it protection from some of the harder graund.

You may find that after riding on lots of softer ground, your horse requires an additional transition period once riding on firmer ground again. This would be much like your own feet. If they are always in shoes or on soft ground, you will notice the stones much easier and quicker than if you regularily go walking around without your shoes (like a child would). One thing you could do to prevent this is have footing similar to that which you are planning to go riding on in the horse's home where they can walk on it regularily.

Contact me today to book your consultation and first natural trim!
Please note that I am only taking a limited number of clients in order to serve everyone better.