March 7, 2001

An article provided by the ILPH (International League for the Protection of Horses) is circulating among several news agencies. This article contained some misinformation, and I would like to set the record straight.

"The Strasser Method, as practiced by Dr. Hiltrud Strasser, advocates that horses should not be shod and that, after a short 3-day course, owners are capable of trimming their own horse's feet."

This is a bit misleading. In fact, attendants of the Strasser Basic Hoofcare seminar must sign a waiver stating that they CANNOT learn to trim in only 3 days. Horseowners are capable of beginning very basic, supervised trimming on their HEALTHY horse after a 3- day, 24 hour introductory course. They are expected to stay continually supervised by a Strasser certified professional. The situation in the UK is very different than in other countries, such as the US, where it is completely legal for any one to trim any horse. In the US, we hope to eventually have enough Strasser Certified Hoofcare Specialists to provide direct trimming services for horses with unhealthy hooves.

"It teaches that every horse, pony, or donkey should have its feet trimmed to exactly the same pattern, irrespective of breed, size or conformation."

This is incorrect. Every horse has different trimming needs, which is why this is quite complicated to learn. What is wrong for one horse can be correct for another. This is why there needs to be Certified Hoofcare Specialists, with a very high level of training, readily available to help those interesting in undertaking this method. The hooves are trimmed to the shape of the coffin bone. Studies of healthy, natural equine hooves show a distinct pattern, which is why there can be guidelines given for the angles of most hooves. But the similarities stop there, and each horse is trimmed somewhat differently according to his needs.

"One follower who treated her laminitic pony using the Strasser approach, has published her story on Dr Strasser website"

This website does not belong to Dr. Strasser-- she is technical editor for my publication, The Horse's Hoof. This website belongs to me, Yvonne Welz. I have spent several years studying and applying her methods, and have witnessed so many incredible success stories in my own backyard as well as around the United States and Canada, that the validity of her approach has proven itself to me. What anyone else decides is up to them, I simply provide the information to those who seek it out.

Other versions of this article are circulating on several British news services:

"Any attempt to radically alter an abnormal foot shape is not, in my view, something an amateur should attempt."

This is never recommended. Horseowners are expected to seek help from a Certified Hoofcare Specialist in any case of hoof abnormality.

"Whilst there is some logic to the Strasser method, it is extremely irresponsible to encourage individuals to make significant changes to their horses feet without adequate supervision or training."

Of course, horseowners need to seek out help from a Certified Hoofcare Specialist trained in this method, who can ensure the road to success for the horse and owner. No one is ever encouraged to trim without training and supervision.

It is hoped that the negative overtones of this article do not mislead readers and prevent them from discovering the simple truths of the Strasser Method. There is no other approach to horse care that is more humane. Dr. Strasser removes the anthropomorphism that most humans have in their attitudes towards what a horse really needs. Strasser's method simply places the needs of the horse over the needs of the human (and human needs are usually selfish, with the comfort and convenience of the human placed first.)

And while everyone seems to be so worried about the simple trimming of feet (especially the farriers?), there really are more important cruelty issues to be worried about. I hope everyone is more concerned about the horses being slaughtered daily, or the show horses with iron chains around their pasterns or ones undergoing surgery to mutilate their bodies into show ring perfection, or the countless horses murdered for insurance money, or even just the horses locked in tiny dark box stalls their whole lives...

--Yvonne M. Welz

©2006 by The Horse's Hoof. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher and/or authors. The information contained within these articles is intended for educational purposes only, and not for diagnosing or medicinally prescribing in any way. Readers are cautioned to seek expert advice from a qualified health professional before pursuing any form of treatment on their animals. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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