Timeline of the Natural Hoof Care Movement and its Development in America

By Jaime Jackson ©2006
(as published in Issue 3, Spring 2001 of The Horse's Hoof)

The following is Jaime Jackson's detailed history of natural hoof care through early 2001, when he provided this to us for publishing in the very early days of The Horse's Hoof newsletter. We recognize and appreciate him as the true father of modern barefoot hoof care in America. Barefoot hoof care would not exist without his decades of wild horse studies and his dedication to the natural hoof.

The Horse’s Hoof asked author/researcher Jaime Jackson, one of America’s biggest natural hoof advocates, for his perspective on the development of Natural Hoofcare.

c. 500 BC - Xenophon describes characteristics of naturally worn hooves, barefoot hoof care program, and other facets of natural boarding.

c. 1800 AD - Dr. Bracy Clark describes essential characteristics of naturally worn hooves, his barefoot hoof care program, and suggestions for improving horseshoe designs.

1952 - Velma Johnson lobbies Nevada legislators successfully to pass law which bans use of air craft in rounding up wild horses in Story County, where she lived.

1955 - Johnson lobbies successfully for further protection of wild horses, banning capturing of wild horses in Story County except on public lands.

1959 - Public Law 86-234 is passed, known as “Wild Horse Annie Act,” the result of Velma Johnson's campaign to save America's wild horses. Intended to prevent the capture or destruction of wild horses using inhumane methods.

1971 - Public Law 92-195 is passed in 1971, signed by Richard Nixon, called the “Wild, Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act,” which protected wild horses from “mustangers” and put management of wild horses under the Department of the Interior, specifically the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service.

1976 - BLM’s Wild Horse Adopt-A-Horse Program (formerly conducted by Johnson's organization, the International Society for the Preservation of Mustangs and Burros) commences nationwide.

1976 - Jaime Jackson begins professional shoeing career in Arkansas; also becomes aware of wild horses for the first time in Missouri during a BLM adoption sale held there in 1976.

1976 - Public Law 94-579 is passed, known as “Federal Land Policy and Management Act,” which amends 1971 legislation.

1976 - Les Emery, Jim Miller, and Nyles Van Hoosen (DVM) publish the book, Horseshoeing Theory and Hoof Care (Lea & Febiger). This work speculates on “natural hoof” shape based on domestic range horses in eastern Oregon. Focus of book is navicular, however, using an elevated heel model (thought to be natural) for orthopedic shoeing.

1976 - Jackson contacts Emery the same year and discusses meaning of “natural hoof,” but as yet there is no discussion of wild horses or wild horse feet.

1976 - Wild Horse Annie dies of cancer, embittered over treatment of wild horses by BLM.

1978 - 1971 - legislation is further amended (final time) with the passage of Public Rangelands Improvement Act (PL 95-514). This is the last legislation passed to date that amends the Wild Horse Annie Act.

1982 - Jackson moves to California to shoe horses in the San Francisco Bay Area. One of his clients purchases a mustang mare from the BLM. Jackson is astounded by its hooves and contacts Emery: “I think I'm on to something.” Two weeks later, Jackson enters central Nevada to observe wild horses for the first time on public lands.

[Note: by now the Reagan Administration is in place and encourages the BLM and the USFS to begin “gathers” of “excessive” wild horses in public rangelands.

1983 - Jackson conducts first study of wild horse hooves at Litchfield, California. Does not publish findings. Discusses results with Emery, who encourages further investigation.

1983 - Jackson returns to wild horse country to observe horses in various HMA’s (Herd Management Areas).

1984 - Jackson conducts second survey of wild horse hooves at Litchfield; continues visits to wild horse country to observe behavior, environment. Becomes aware for the first time of wild horse protection groups and government biologists studying mustang population control.

1985 - Jackson decides to write a “20 page” statistical paper on his hoof study (approximately 1,000 hooves sampled at Litchfield holding center) and, with Emery’s encouragement, offer his findings to various equine experts. Letters were sent to Dr. Chris Pollit, Dr. Ric Redden, Dr. Deb Bennett, Dr. Doug Butler, and the current President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. There was no response, except Dr. Butler by phone, who thought the information might be meaningful.

1987 - Jackson expands research paper to 100 pages and submits as manuscript to over 100 publishing houses. None accept.

1988 - Emery accepts invitation to speak before American Farriers Association National Convention at Lexington, KY. He accepts contingent upon Jackson being invited as a co-speaker. Jackson and Emery jointly present Jackson's research before 1,000 farriers.

1990 - Jackson reworks his technical research paper into a new manuscript, which is accepted by Northland Publishing.

1991 - Jackson returns to Arkansas.

1992 - Jackson’s manuscript is published by Northland as “The Natural Horse: Lessons From The Wild For Domestic Horse Care.”

1993 - Jackson is invited to speak by Dr. Barbara Page before the Denver Area Veterinary Medical Society at Denver, Colorado.

1993 - Jackson is contacted by Dr. Lennart Ostblom, a Danish navicular researcher, for assistance in locating wild horse herds to sample for comparative studies. BLM resistance to Ostblom's research protocols preclude research project.

[Note: during this period, in the early to late 1990’s, the Journal of the American Farriers Association publishes approximately 10 articles written by Jackson on the subject of natural hoof care.

1995 - Jackson is invited to speak at Ric Redden’s Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium in Louisville, Kentucky.

1996 - On May 30th, Jackson receives a letter from E. Muller on behalf of Dr. Hiltrud Strasser, who had obtained Jackson's lecture notes, entitled, “Paradigm for the Naturally Shaped Hoof,” from Redden’s 1995 symposium. Strasser shares translations of her research, including her published paper, “The Functions of Hooves and their Importance for Care and Treatment,” “The Practical Handling of the Unshod Hoof,” and “New Aspects of Laminitis.”

[Note: many letters are exchanged between Dr. Strasser, E. Muller (her translator and student), and Jackson, during the next two years. Jackson provides Strasser with a wild horse hoof biospecimen obtained in Nevada. During this period, Sabine Kells travels to Germany from Canada to meet Dr. Strasser. Together they collaborate to write “A Lifetime of Soundness.”]

1998 - “A Lifetime of Soundness” is published by Strasser. Star Ridge Publishing becomes the first U.S. distributor of Dr. Strasser's books.

1999 - Jackson publishes “Horse Owners Guide To Natural Hoof Care.”

1999 - Dr. Chris Pollit states at the Geneva International Laminitis Symposium that the hooves of wild equids must have great resistance to laminitis, possibly due to the environmental pressure of predators.

1999 - Jackson travels to Germany and Switzerland to meet with Strasser and the Swiss Horse Boot Company.

2000 - Dr. Ric Redden organizes a team to study wild horse hooves in Nevada. Independently, Dr. Robert Bowker (Michigan State University) organizes a team to study wild horse hooves, also in Nevada.

2000 - Star Ridge Publishing sponsors Strasser hoof care seminars in the U.S.

2001 - Nineteen years after Jackson entered wild horse country, Redden reports his wild horse hoof findings, entitled, “A Closer Look At Wild Horse Hooves,” at his annual Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium. This is the first actual study to corroborate Jackson's earlier research.

Jamie Jackson is an experienced horseman, hoof care provider, equine researcher, teacher, consultant and founder of the AANHCP http://www.aanhcp.net. He is the author of the critically acclaimed books, “The Natural Horse, Foundations for Natural Horsemanship,” “Horse Owner’s Guide to Natural Hoof Care,” “Founder:Prevention & Cure the Natural Way,” and "Paddock Paradise." (all available for purchase in The Horse's Hoof Store.) For more info, visit his website: http://www.primechoice.com/jaime-jackson, or home of "Star Ridge Publishing," the publisher of Jaime Jackson's books: http://star-ridge.com.

©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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