I tried the kicking and screaming approach in my early ‘barefoot is best’ days. Once I realized the gravity and the depths of the belief systems passed on from one manly generation to another, I slightly backed off and could only speak to those who cared to hear.
I did manage to get a few people thinking differently and outside the box. Throughout the early years of the Equinextion forums, many people learned some trim techniques and many went on to do their own business in trimming and education, even though they were previously opposed to ‘barefoot’. It's not about shoes or no shoes.
This was long before Facebook and at a time, I kid you not, that Equinextion was on the first page of any online barefoot horse search. The first Equinextion website was built on dial up and scanning photographs that had to be developed through the mail until One Hour Photo finally came along. The site was made only 3 years after the first ever image was posted to the world wide web. Not too many people had a home computer at that time...never mind the internet.
Throughout the coming years, I looked for those horses that did 'need' shoes . Yes, it's true!... those that are braced for extended periods of time, can perhaps become seemingly dependent on the brace.
Some are damaged beyond complete repair, but that doesn't mean they 'need' shoes. Most horses, given the medium to do so, will rehab to heights of health and strength they have never previously attained.
I personally have been trimming and documenting the miraculous healing abilities of the enhanced natural horse since around 1995. Before and during this time I raised Natural Barefoot Performance dressage horses that went to discerning owners and riders because of the way they were raised in an enhanced natural lifestyle, and the incredible quality of their feet, bone and 'trainability'.
Funny thing is that when the vets did pre-purchase exams they always commented that this foot would never ever last in 'rough' or 'dry' conditions and would wear down to bloody little nubs if ridden at all, so advised potential clients that they would definitely need shoes if they wanted to ride. They commented on the 'unusually large' frogs and the incredibly 'low heels'.
They were always concerned when the horses flexed sound, sound, sound and didn't flinch when the hoof testers sounded like they were busting into the outer wall. The vets would re-adjust and try again, but still no reaction. Suspicious that the horse was drugged, advise clients to draw blood.
They'd seen the horse was healthy, and appeared ‘sound’, but his feet just looked ‘not right’. They didn't fit in with the common and ‘normal’ feet they saw in their day to day practice...contraction and thrush, not the super healthy.
I had hoped this has somewhat changed today but I still see a great lack of awareness of what a truly healthy sound foot is and what it can do, as well as the different shapes it can take on due to climate, seasons and lifestyle. The digital cushion, frog and bulbs need to have strength and resiliency and most are littered with some presentation of a thrush infection and internal underdeveloped weakness, mainly due to improper functioning feet and an overall lack of early developmental movement.
Many things can be fixed and corrected through proper trimming, but you can not trim your way out of shit pen living conditions or a high junk food concentrate diet for that matter.
It should start from birth with a new awareness of what it takes to raise a super horse.
Stay true to the nature of the horse...Make the Connection!
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