Preserving the sole of the horse...Balanced for performance...Naturally

Monday, October 18, 2010


One of my favorite phrases "LFD...Lack of Farrier Disease" was coined by Dr. Neil Valk, DVM, Greeneville TN.  He also is a bare hoof trimmer of high caliber.  I had the pleasure of meeting Neil in person when I transferred a client over to him when she moved from NM.  Here is a great example of what that is.  This is the set-up trim on a pony mare suffereing from LFD.  She walked off sound and has never taken a lame step since. 
 Look at the length of this foot! 
 There's a sole and a frog in there somewhere...
 The dogs had a party with all the trimmings.  Just noticed that I didn't bevel the roll prior to taking the photo. 

On the sole prep, I didn't work too much on the bars and I returned two weeks later to define the bars, back up the toes a bit more and check for balance again after she has had time to walk on them a bit.  Normally I leave the sole alone if possible, but she had excess dead sole (oh, just a tad) that was harboring little beasties.  Was careful not to remove ANY live sole.  Recommended the owner treat for thrush.  Ya think?

There are three parts that form a successful natural hoof care triad:  Nutrition, exercise and mechanics.  But when any one side of the triad is missing or compromised, the triad fails.  Simple as that.  I will discuss each one in detail in following blogs.  The trimmer takes care of the mechanics, but without the horseowner taking a proactive role in the other two, it just won't give the horse a chance to meet its full potential.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I, the cyber stupid, encouraged by the cyber savvy, will attempt to use information technology to track the progress of horses that have been placed under my hoof care and management program. 

Four years ago, out of frustration with mainstream farrier philosophy and the slow deterioration in the health of my own six horses hooves, I sought out a bare hoof trimmer that practiced the wild horse/mustang trim philosophy.  The improvement was almost immediate and in a few months you could actually see the completely different, healthy and correctly angled hoof coming down from the coronet band.  The horses began to just stand with no restraint for him to work on them while he actually sat on the ground and held their hooves in his lap to work.  They moved fluidly with natural collection and their toplines improved.  The heel first landing improved circulation which, in turn, improved frog health, followed by strong disease resistant  hoof walls.  Their training progress improved because they felt good on their feet!  Resistances faded away to just vague memories.  Then we moved to another state and no natural trimmer was to be found in our area.  All the farriers just did the same trims as if they were shoeing and the horses had terrible, flat pancake, shelly feet that they blamed on breed or genetics.  I knew better!  So, with the determination of any parent trying to save their child, I decided to learn how to do it myself.  I started studying on the internet, ordered books, dvd courses, went to clinics and studied hours and hours a day.   Pete Ramey, James Welz, Jamie Jackson, and Gene Omnicek became my gurus like pop stars to a teenage girls.  The scariest part was actually making that first cut with the nippers.  My horse didn't jump or bleed!  Maybe I can do this! 

At first I could only work on two hooves a day.  I was slow and meticulous and it was actually exhausting.  The blood would rush to my head, my back ached, my hands swelled and I gained a new appreciation for why I paid somebody to do this all those years.  But my horses were happy and sound.  I was hungry for more knowledge!  After awhile I was doing a whole horse a day, then two, then three, then four.  I developed muscles in my arms that most 50 year old women only dreamed of and those flabby underarms...gone!  When friends and neighbors saw my horses feet and asked who my farrier was and I told them I do it myself they asked if I would do their horses.  So there it began.  Now I have over 50 horses in my monthly program and specialize in horses with navicular, founder, clubfoot and other pathologies that not so long ago would retire a horse or worse.  I can look at a horses hoof and see what it wants/needs to be, like a sculptor looks at a piece of marble or wood or clay.  I can visualize the internal structures within the hoof capsule with almost x-ray accuracy (but I love radiographs to work by)  Many of the horses now stand for me unrestrained and all of them greet me with nickers.  Being a woman, I can't muscle a horse into compliance, so I finesse them and soon they are working with me to get the job done.  It's a beautiful thing!  

I am passionate about what I am doing and look forward to everyday that I get to work under a horse.  My past life was as an insurance executive wearing makeup, heels, fancy nails and high heels.  Now my uniform is jeans, t-shirt, boots and a ball cap.  My blood pressure is normal, my cholestral is great and my smile is never ending.  It just doesn't get any better than this folks! 

I will start posting the few before photos I actually took (worse with a camera than I am with a computer) with the afters.  I'll start taking pictures of the hooves that I started on about 18 months ago and since and get those up.  If you are an experienced, barehoof trimmer and wish to comment, I am always open to new concepts and constructive suggestions. If you are a horse owner with a bare hoof success story, I want to hear it!  If you are one of the many farriers that have lost your clients to me, open your eyes and see the future...evolve.  It won't hurt, really.  If you can't bring yourself to do that, then kiss my ass...his name is Peanut and he is barefoot too.