Give your horse the gift of comfortable, healthy bare hooves!
It really is possible to give your equine partner feet that work the way they were designed to work.
Most horse (pony, mini, draft, mule & donkey) owners grew up with the notion that iron shoes were a necessary evil or even a great thing for domestic horses. For centuries that was true for most of our horses, who were kept in stables, corrals and pastures and weren’t routinely used on varied terrain. The reality is that we were “killing them with kindness”, because the way we cared for them was not optimum for their feet.
Wild horses often have amazingly functional hooves considering their environment and diet. In fact, it’s their environment and diet (with some genetics thrown in) that bless them with rock-crushing, amazing hooves.
I’ve never liked putting shoes on my horses, but I thought I had to. Then along came the “barefoot” movement, and I thought my dreams had come true and I could just rip off the shoes and ride like my horse’s feet were made of diamond.
Sometimes, for the lucky few, this works. But for most, going “barefoot” means “barefoot most of the time”. Hooves must still be protected when they’re expected to negotiate environments they aren’t accustomed to.
Due to life circumstances, I started trimming my own horses’ hooves in 2006. I read Pete Ramey’s book, bought the tools, and started hoisting hooves. In 2015, I joined the Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners apprenticeship program. I recently advanced to “Student Practitioner” and I’m taking clients. Experienced PHCP trimmers and mentors are guiding me and are available to me for consultation.
I am also a dealer for Easycare hoof protection (boots and EasyShoes) and other products. I will custom-fit hoof boots for clients and have various styles and sizes in stock. Why hoof boots? Boots are essential for horses transitioning from shoes to barefoot, and are also very useful when you are riding your horse on terrain its feet are not accustomed to.
A huge part of hoof care is good nutrition. I offer hay sampling and ration balancing to those who are serious about building great hooves.
Please feel free to contact me (Karen Ward) with questions about barefoot trim.
Bare hooves give the horse the support of the entire foot — walls, sole, bars and frogs — and eliminate “peripheral loading” of the hoof walls alone.
Bare hooves are able to flex upon impact.
Barefoot horses aren’t subject to the concussion created by iron shoes.
Bare hooves are never damaged by horseshoe nails.
Bare hooves are more readily trimmed if frequent trimming is necessary.
Bare hooves allow proper development of the lateral cartilages and digital cushions, giving the horse better heel support.
Bare hooves self-maintain if the horse is ridden frequently.