No hoof, no horse?
My colt is coming home on Saturday and he has been barefoot his entire life. I would like to keep him barefoot and from what his seller tells me, I should have no problem doing so. The seller owns his dam and his half brother, and both have very solid, very healthy (barefoot) hooves. Both horses compete regularly in the western arena and on trails and have never had any cracks, abscesses or other issues with their feet.
Now, I’m not completely well versed in hooves and I’d like to learn. I know how to care for them and what a healthy hoof SHOULD look like, but I’m very unsure of what a healthy hoof should be SHAPED like. I look at pictures of hooves on here and even when I think they look good, someone posts that they’re long in the toe or short in the heel or something like that.
Can anyone post a picture of what a well-shaped, healthy, ideal hoof should look like? Can you provide some reputable websites for me to research and educate myself? When you look at a hoof, what do YOU like to see? I have found a farrier who will trim my horse, but I would definitely like to educate myself on hooves so I don’t have to rely only on what the farrier tells me.I want to learn enough that I can confidently say, "my horse's toes are far too long" and actually KNOW what I'm talking about to back that theory up.
I do not have any pictures for you, but all you have to do is google Pete Ramey or barefoot trim and you will get more information then you ever wanted with great pictures.
Good for you for staying barefoot!!!
I prefer the barefoot horse! Only shoe when it is absoloutely necessary.
But just for the record - no two horses will have the exact same shape of hooves. One horse can even have different shapes that might have been caused from a bad injury or from being born with a club hoof.
I have one horse that was fitted for Gloves by the Trimmer - glad I had the Trimmer fit him because his rears are size 0 and the fronts are size one.
Gloves won't begin to fit any of my other horses because of their heel shapes. This horse doesn't need boots but I have them just in case.
I'm just trying to make a point that there is no such thing as perfect hooves living in every single horse owner's pasture. The hooves are perfect for THAT horse as long as they are balanced so he is moving in a fluid manner, isn't tripping or forging, and is landing heel first:-)
Good hooves start on the inside first and foremost so ask the Seller what he recommends to keep your colt on until it gets older. Then ask him what he feeds his mature horses. Mercy I hope you don't come back with "sweetfeed" :-(
Also, ask him who keeps his horses trimmed. Some farriers and trimmers will travel long distances. If the Seller recommends you, the trimmer will most likely be happy to accomodate you, as long as you don't live 3 hours away:-)
Thanks all! The colt has been on pasture his entire life, with a good Orchard grass hay in the winter. The seller's other horses are on much the same diet, but with some grain and supplements thrown in because they are ridden regularly. To be completely honest, this yearling is about as 'natural' as a domesticated horse can get. He's handled, but he doesn't get special treatment. He was on pasture all winter, with no blanket, and he was chubby when spring hit. Here in Alberta, we had a really long, hard winter - we averaged -30*C much of the winter and had the most snow since 1974. He's a pretty hardy little guy. I think as a treat, he gets a little bit of grain or oats, but he's never had sweet feed.
I'll ask about the farrier. Luckily, the colt won't be moving far - about 15 minutes down the road, give or take. In any case, I found my own farrier too. I figure I can try a few farriers over the next few months and see which one I like best and who does the best work for my colt. I want to keep his feet as natural and healthy as possible and I've read that barefoot and grazing constantly will help that. Naked hooves flex and through grazing all day, he'll keep the circulation up, which keeps the hooves nice and healthy and strong.
Just make sure that the farrier you use agrees with your idea of barefoot. To some, barefoot simply means no shoes and not the Pete Ramey style of trimming. So it is good that you are doing the research so that you get the trim that you want.
Your horse is very lucky that you are willing to put in the time to educate yourself and do what is best for him.
I have found that this woman's youtube videos are VERY helpful for figuring out what a healthy hoof trim looks like!
‪thehappyhoof's Channel‬‏ - YouTube
Check out her how-to vids, even if you don't plan on trying it yourself, it shows you what to look for in a trim ;)
Thanks! The farrier I chose came recommended by a vet clinic here and focuses more on the barefoot/wild horse trim, but can also shoe by request. I've talked to her quite extensively on what my needs and goals for my colt are, and I think we're on the same page regarding that. I will definitely be watching her closely to ensure we stay on the same page.
PS - thanks for all those videos! The how-to videos are just what I was looking for. I'm definitely not going to trim my horse myself right now, but it is something I would like to learn eventually and they were very helpful. I'm going to bookmark the channel!
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