Originally Posted by AmazinCaucasian View Post
some people call this "Natural Hoof Trimming". To me it's not very natural to require a special diet, be kept out of their pasture, or require supplements to be barefoot......I suspect that's what many barefoot trimmed horses do, just don't move around as much
(Im going to generalize a bit here so don't think I mean ALL or EVERY...Just generalizing a bit, because in my area, this is generally the case....)
Actually, the goal of most people doing barefoot is to replicate a more natural "wild" environment and diet which is more :natural: to what a horse evolved to live like. That is where the saying comes from. What we do to, and for, them in captivity is nowhere near what a horse is designed to live like and it adversly affects them in big ways over time.
Horses were not designed to eat buttloads of super fertilized green grass and big scoops of grains. It isnt a mystery to many of us why we are seeing so many IR and laminitic flat footed horses out there.
The big reason this is coming to the forefront is we no longer work horses like they used to when they were relied on for transportation etc. We think that an hour ride in a 24 hr period is "work" these days and want to grain our horse because it's "in work". Most horses do not need this. An hour is nothing.
When horses worked off and on all day 6 or 7 days a week, they could eat alot of grains and not founder or become IR because exercise burned up the excesses. No so anymore. We have a bunch of fat, over fed and underworked animals with poor shoeing in many areas that poor farriers (or shoe tacker on'ers if you will) get away with because we don't work our horses much anymore. They can do poor jobs and not get caught right away when the horse isnt really being worked so that the problems show. Also, we as owners are less educated then when horses were part of our daily lives and an unsound horse might mean you couldnt work. We were more vested in their well beaing and thus learned more.
Today, We are becoming more educated as to what horses really need and what is really healthy for them and want to mimic that more healthy natural diet and environment that reflects the horses true workload and eliminates excessive sugars and carbs in the horses diet that shouldnt be there. Just as if a human were to live on Mcdonalds sitting in front of the tv vs eating healthy and exercising. You can live on McDonalds for a time without any problems, but eventually, it will catch up to you. Same for a horse.
Movement...Horses were designed to MOVE and move alot. Locking them in stalls is a terrible horsekeeping practice and noone I know recommends that. The "UNLESS" part would be if the only other option is to turn them out on lush green pasture that was super sugary and hurting their feet. Obviously, that wouldbe counter productive to growing out a healthy foot on a horse sensitive to grass that is high in sugar. Locking a horse up is responsible for so much colic, mental issues like cribbing, stall walking and weaving etc as well as is terrible for the hoof since if the horse isnt moving, he isnt strengthening his foot. We certainly don't lock them up if we can help it. In fact 24-7 turnout is strongly advised.... Scrubbier lower quality, rocky pasture is awesome for the horse to pick around at and condition the foot. Lots of movement is what allows the foot to build and strengthen its soft tissue which is the biggest problem in todays horses feet overall. Weak feet from lack of movement, overtrimming, thrush etc.
Anyway...I just wanted to make a quick comment there as the idea presented is completely incorrect for most people who "do" barefoot. And, if you want to say that a horse isnt barefoot because he may wear hoof boots for an hour every other day during a ride, well, you are entitled to your opinion..
I have to say tho, its a far cry from wearing an iron shoe 24-7. The horse is barefoot all of the hours and using his foot properly except the one he is ridden.... and it is very obvious in the development of his foot. As a trimmer, I KNOW the occasionally booted horse is nowhere near the same as a shod horse who cannot remove his shoes daily. He is indeed bare for all intents and purposes. Protection for riding is just good stewardship but it doesnt change the fact that he isnt wearing a nailed on peice of iron.
FYI, Im not anti shoe...Just more...anti metal shoe really. I prefer barefoot, but I protect when needed. I like the poly shoes on the market pretty well if I needed a more permanent protection than a boot. You can also nail them to hoof casting. There are alot of options out there now so we do not have to be stuck to the ancient metal shoe anymore unless there is a real need for its rigidity.