Natural Barefoot Hoof Trimming
                                 Using the "wild hoof" model

My Story


My path to natural barefoot hoofcare began, as it does with many people who get there, with a desperate search for relief for a horse in my care.  Along the way I have come to understand  the benefits of proper diet, natural barefoot hoof trimming, and living as close to a natural lifestyle as possible.  I have also learned about the harmful effects of over-rich diet, lack of sufficient exercise, and iron horseshoes nailed to his feet. 

Kissed by a Zippo ("Apache") 

I was grooming our son's paint show horse, Apache, one day when he suddenly went down on his front knees in the barn, in obvious pain.  Apache was an iron shod two year old at the time.  Our vet prescribed "bute", with a caution not to continue for more than two weeks at a time; and our farrier said Apache's hoof walls were too thin and the previous farrier hadn't trimmed him properly.  He changed his hoof angle and fitted him with aluminum shoes, which Apache couldn't seem to keep on for more than a couple of weeks at a time. 

Apache was reluctant to walk due to the pain in his feet.  It was difficult to get him to walk even a short distance.  Natural barefoot trimming relieved the pressure on his outer hoof walls which was tearing at his lamina causing his pain

I began to research hoof health online because I could see Apache was still in pain, and my gut told me there must be something more that could be done.  My research led me to Pete and Ivy Ramey's website,  There I found a treasure trove of information about what it takes to develop truly healthy "rock crunching" hooves.  Pete and Ivy have put together a site with priceless articles, and links to other sites offering decades worth of experience and clinical research addressing not only the the causes of hoof ailments, but the means of reversing them.  The more I read, the more I became convinced that this was the way to go for Apache.

I located a natural barefoot trimmer in the area of Texas where we were living at the time, Eddie Drabek, ( Eddie called it right, Apache was suffering from laminitis.  I took Apache to our vet who took X-rays  of Apache's hooves and confirmed that Apache was, indeed, foundered, with coffin bone rotation. 

Note the rotated position of Apache's coffin bone.  Also note how thin the sole is under the tip of the coffin bone.  In a healthy hoof the bottom of the coffin bone should be ground-parallel, supported by a thick cushion of sole.

After Eddie's initial set-up trim, I fitted Apache with a pair of Easy Boot Epics with neoprene comfort pads. Soon I was riding him bareback in his boots for thirty minutes twice a day.  With Eddie's natural hoof trimming on a four week maintenance schedule, a diet of mixed grass hay, regular exercise with 24/7 turnout, and hoof boots with pads, Apache soon began to enjoy life again. 

Apache exercising in his boots and pads.  We walked thirty minutes twice a day for six months during which time he grew new well-connected hoof walls from the hairline to the ground.  The boots and pads allowed him comfort and promoted better circulation of blood in his hooves, accelerating well-connected hoof growth

Within six months,  Apache boy had grown new well-connected front hooves and I was galloping him across the pasture, pain free, with tears of joy in my eyes.  In the meantime, I read Pete Ramey's book, Making Natural Hoofcare Work for You, studied the articles and links on his website, and attended one of Pete's clinics.  With Eddie's expert instruction, I began trimming Apache's hooves, and those of the other six horses on my son's ranch.  They all developed "rock crunching" hooves and thrived on a diet of mixed grass hay.  Since I have been trimming horses using the "wild hoof" model I have seen a variety of hoof problems resolved with proper hoof care, diet and lifestyle changes. 

Natural barefoot hoof care is  a total  program, "treating your horse from the inside out".  It includes diet, exercise, environment, and regular routine natural barefoot trimming. 



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