I have spent nearly my entire life with horses and it has never been a complacent or unscholarly life. My first exposure to them began by working as a young girl with a highly respected and internationally recognized dressage rider, trainer, and judge. I stayed in her tutelage for several years. Growing into a young woman, I took a few short breaks from the equestrian life as I explored my world and myself. But I never really stopped reading and studying methods and skills that pertained to horses, and I found times to ride here and there along the way. As an adult, I brought them back into my life in earnest and began working as an Equine Sports Therapist, managing a small breeding stable, working as a professional groom, and eventually found myself as a barefoot trimmer.
Barefoot trimming has presently become a significant part of my work and thought. Originally, I only started trimming because I literally could not find a farrier in my remote location, able and willing to tend to my barn of horses on any regular basis! We also had several problems arising with the hooves of several horses and someone had to take control, perhaps even try something new. At that time, I was still a supporter of well-shod horses and did not know a great deal about everything that goes into the hoof of the horse and a proper barefoot trim. A good friend and mentor of mine, Iana Gonzalez, encouraged me to take a different path for the horses under my care and urged me to take personal responsibility for their hooves. My first introduction to the theory and practice of barefoot trimming, began with James and Yvonne Welz of The Horse’s Hoof.
And so, I began!
It was not always an easy road to travel. The voyage was not without hesitation, doubt, or even mistake. Especially when rehabilitating a hoof already compromised and damaged for years by metal shoes, the process of recovery is not always without complication. However, the rewards have been abundant and indisputable. With my experience and careful scrutiny, I now find that I cannot pretend to support anything other than a barefoot horse, trimmed correctly and regularly (preferably at four week intervals). Though I did not set out to become fanatically against shod horses, the more I have learned about the structure of the hoof and how it functions, the more I saw the folly in our common practice of nailing any number of metal shoe designs to their live hooves.
Because I have become such an advocate of barefoot trimming, I know that I will use this blog to often post information and musings on what has become a substantial part of my work and belief system. I will always welcome discussion and questions! It is my hope that I can help educate and encourage all owners and riders, for the ultimate benefit of the horses we love. I hope for my readers who feel strongly commited to their horses remaining shod, that you will still feel welcome and interested in learning more about your horses’ hoof. Afterall, you can never stop learning and knowledge is always power.
Photo Credit: Phillip Adams, Nevada Wilds Photography.