My Journey through Barefoot
by Denise Dorrell, British Columbia
December 2005

My journey to barefoot started with a farrier I was happy with, that I couldn’t get my horse to when he needed new shoes. I looked around and saw some other feet I liked, and asked who did them. I had him out -- big mistake (or was it?) My horse started short-striding, stabbing the ground with his toes, and not wanting to work. I had the shoes pulled Aug 05.

The barefoot trimmer told me he would be sore, because he is a big horse with little feet. Well, he was dead lame when the shoes came off, with no trimming yet, on grass. I couldn’t justify putting shoes on until he was, at least, sound. I realized that I absolutely knew nothing about hooves and how they worked, and I wanted to be able to recognize a good trim. My horse kept me going on this course of knowledge with problem after problem.

First, he was dead lame -- the trimmer had to take the back left shoe off nail by nail, and it took about 45 min. A week later, he couldn’t walk AT ALL! He had a laminitis attack, I was freaking out!!, I soaked feet, massaged, and soaked and massaged, and read more books….he came out of this, and was just as lame on his front right.

By December 05, I had taken him to get x-rays, and found that he has very thin soles and rotated coffin bone in his right front…we are already working to correct this. He is only sore now on the gravel and pavement…we are getting there. Now I understand how the hoof functions, and how to read the sole. I have started trimming myself (under guidance), and have started two others out on the barefoot path -- I am a believer.

My horse has changed from: not being able to pick out his feet, to being able to sit on a bucket and he picks them up and holds them for you.
From having a crop at every entrance gate for safety, to being able to ride bareback with no halter! Just from having his shoes pulled!!! WOW!

Because I have had such a tough go at it, people that are just starting barefoot now phone me for support, and I can give them knowledgable answers…..

**All I need now is a Hoofjack for my trimming, as the recycle box keeps on collapsing!!***

Above and below: Left photo Sept 15, 2005; Right photo Oct 26, 2005

Note: Photos are provided for reference and educational purposes only, and are not meant to indicate guidelines for trimming. Every horse should be trimmed as an individual. Opinions vary as to what constitutes "correct" but keep in mind - there are NO PERFECT FEET, not even in the wild. Owners are cautioned to seek professional help for the trimming of their own horse's feet. Owner trimming of pathological feet is not advised. Photos may not be reproduced, copied, or distributed in any way.

©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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