An Open-minded Approach to Hoof Care
By Jon Smedley PHCP Practitioner
I have been reading a lot about the changes our society has gone though in just the last few years… “Don’t drink from the garden hose” we started saying a few years ago and now we don’t even drink from the kitchen sink. Cigarettes were endorsed by professional athletes just a few decades ago, and some of us remember when cars came without seat belts. We are learning as we go; as we grow.
Something else that is intriguing; every situation / person / horse is different. Within our own families I bet you’ll find something similar to my own example. My Dad, Brother, Sister and I; we all enjoy running. My Dad even after two successful battles with cancer can run an entire marathon; where as my brother and I ar
e more the 5-10 mile kind of runners. But my sister… WOW! She can do the really long runs! Even more interesting, each one of us selects very different running shoes, including Brand, Pronation and Cushioning.
The point I am driving at is we have learned a lot about the world around us in recent history. We have had the time and resources to research some of the practices that traditions that have been passed down to us. Horse care and specifically horse hoof care has remained fairly consistent over centuries and we have only recently been able to confirm and question many of our hoof care practices. Also, we know that every horse is different. Some are bred for endurance, some for speed, some for their incredible patience and calm demeanor.
We cannot expect a singular hoof care solution for every horse.
Our own knowledge base, as well as technology and advances in manufacturing are providing us with many options. Although I specialize in barefoot hoof care I have found it is not the right fit for every horse. I have even found, season, moisture, exercise level and even diet change the hoof support requirement for many of my clients.
Some of the options available today that I believe every farrier/trimmer should have available as tools to help benefit each horse to the best of their ability are:
Knowledge and experience in the care of the bare hoof –
Composite shoes (plastic, rubber and metal mixtures)
Boots – Easy Care, ScootBoot, Renegade etc…
Again, I lean toward barefoot, but it is not the right solution for all. Having an open mind to the possibilities that IF your horse needs a change, there are other options available that can be hugely beneficial to keeping your horse as sound!
A little After and Before –
This mare has been trimmed by Jon and Sarah for the past 4 months.
“Starting at the top, the hairline is fuller and thicker. This is where the blood flow and hoof growth starts.
Second, the hoof wall is more in alignment with the Pastern bones, and the toe is appropriate for mechanical movement. Lastly, the heels are wider providing more of a landing surface and opportunity for hoof flexibility.”
Jon and his wife Sarah are the principals of Trim and Train. They apply a holistic approach to Hoof Care and Training. They are available for questions or consultations at www.trimandtrain.net