Every Day is a Good Day!
by Linda M. James, North Carolina
December 2005

Happy hooves and happy horses. We've been completely bare for 16 months now. Before that, shoes only when heading to the mountains or somewhere with rockier terrain. I was also, once upon a time, one of the meek following the herd that believed "white" hooves were weaker and required shoes to avoid falling apart. When I finally started educating myself on the subject, rather than blindly accepting what the "professionals" stated as gospel, my eyes were profoundly opened about a lot of things. No more shoes for us!

I tried encouraging my then farrier to tweek his trimming of our bare feet for healthier form, and was basically ignored. So, as of May of '05, we have a Natural Hoofcare Provider trimming and teaching, and we both aspire to my taking over the job, with him mentoring along the way. Hooves have improved so much, especially the white ones. They have never been sore, and are getting better at crunching rocks all the time. We just pop on front boots when riding terrain that's still a little too tough for now. (which isn't very often).

Our summers are hot and dreadfully humid, and add bugs to the mix...it just doesn't make for pleasurable riding. So, we head to the water! Everybody loves it. Photo above: That's Rio on the left, and Teeberry on the right. (he's got the 4 white feet). They play like children in the water. Tee is even practicing his boat motor imitation in this picture.

These guys are on 24/7 turnout; along with a very senior citizen (who had toes way too long, and the former farrier said they couldn't be backed up without drawing blood???...) he's got great form now. Never sore, and certainly never any blood drawn! Plus, a prissy pony pasture ornament with hooves that have never seen a shoe.

I'm hoping that I'll eventually be able to persuade, by example, my trail buddies who have yet to see the light. Some progress has already been made, but old habits die hard...

Dare to be Bare!!

Linda M. James
Eastern North Carolina

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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