Read our blog tips, tricks, and what you need to know about Barefoot Equestrian Riding and keeping your horse healthy.

Building Trust

Trust: the belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest and will not harm you. A trust is something committed or entrusted to one’s care for safekeeping. So, do you trust your horse? Does your horse trust you? I have seen my share of fine horses over the years and as I get a little older, I find it can take me longer to trust (humans and horses!). The fearlessness of my youth is depleting and while I would prefer not to have a ‘plod’ for a horse, I do prefer a horse I can trust. So what does that mean? That he won’t bolt or buck or step on my toes? That he will come when called and stand still to be tacked up for the trail? Most of this is about good training but above all, there is an element of trust in the relationship. But how can you ask so much of them without returning the favour? Can your horse trust you? Will you look after him, care for him, and do the best for him? Can he trust that you will show up and be the same person you were yesterday? Can he rely on you for consistency, graciousness, generosity? Are you kind and fair? Do you trust nature to look after his feet and his diet and his body? Honestly, I think trust takes time, it has to be earned and proven but this can only be done through an open doorway, the allowance of mistakes and support through the challenges.

Trust your HorseEasy ways of building trust are through grooming, massage and simply just spending time together. Always be gentle picking out hooves, putting on tack and mounting. If a situation is uncomfortable for either of you, be firm without being harsh and remember, it’s ok to back down until you are both ready – safety first. Routine can build confidence and trust in a horse as can creating the right space for learning. Let him know what’s coming next. Don’t give your horse an opportunity not to have faith in you. A final lesson on trust? Never inflict pain or compromise your horse’s well-being. Use Cavallo hoof boots instead of nailing metal into their hoofs. Trust nature and trust barefoot health. Let nature be. We don’t need to improve upon the miraculous structure that has supported equiss for over 50,000,000 years. Cavallo is here to support you and your horse.

horse hoof boots

The Perfect Hoof

Pathology is the medical term for the study of the way a disease works. Hoof pathologies are when something has gone wrong with the equine foot, like laminitis, thrush, abscesses, flares, navicular or negative palmar angle. These are diseases or non-conformational issues.

What about club foot? Yes, there are instances whereby this is hereditary and some horses are born with an upright conformation. But more often than not, the hoof position is only a symptom of another problem, above the hoof, and the horse is simply trying to find balance where imbalance lies elsewhere.

So what makes a good hoof? What is the ideal shape? What is ‘normal’? A debate that has been raging for centuries. One article I was reading recently attempts to discuss the issue and outline the facts.

the perfect hoofIt starts by noting the difference between hoof anatomy and hoof conformation. While hoof conformation can be influenced by humans, hoof anatomy stays the same. However, both areas contribute to the overall strength of the hoof. What’s important is that the hoof conformation be allowed to carry out its function of absorbing, dissipating and transmitting its load.

The definition of normal may depend on the breed and discipline of the horse – a racing thoroughbred and a show Tennessee Walking horse will have different hooves. When looking at conformation, we must also consider the internal structures as the internal and external structures are inextricably linked in their biomechanical functions.

The basic shape of a hoof is that of a cone, allowing for a large area for force to be first applied and then efficient distribution of the load inside the hoof. This particular article continues to talk in great length about angles and lengths and sizes. It also answers some commonly asked questions, like ‘Are white hooves weaker than dark hooves?’ (no!), ‘what is normal hoof size?’ and ‘what influences a hoof’s growth rate?’. It does of course mention shod feed and while not indicating a preference between bare and shod, the key line I saw was ‘…the ability of the foot – both internally and externally – to adapt to its environment’. In my opinion, this reiterates the fact that horses can and will adapt; and Cavallo hoof boots are there for you, will provide protection when riding your domestic horse and will help your horse during any period of change or transition.

You can read more on this article here: http://www.thehorse.com/articles/15089/the-perfect-hoof.

Horse Hoof Boots

All Things Barefoot

“Sometimes you have to get through your fear in order to see the beauty on the other side”.

I blogged recently about ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ and about how we should face our challenges, even though we are scared. To continue on this theme (I am feeling very philosophical lately!), it got me thinking about all the many conversations I have with people and one of the most frequent comments I get is, “I’m too scared to take off his shoes”. This is perfectly understandable, given the lengthy tradition of horse shoeing, the scepticism around barefoot horses and the lack of support in many parts of the world.

Take a look at the photos below and consider this:

1. Fear of removing the shoesCapture

2. The dire state of the hoof once the shoes are removed

3. The beauty of that same hoof only three months later (still not perfect but getting there!).

So yes, it’s scary getting up on that horse again but by gum, the ride will be worth it. And yes, it’s scary moving yards but you and your horse will be better for it. And yes, it’s scary taking those shoes off but you and your horse will be a million times better for it. And finally yes, it’s scary going ‘against the grain’ and buying hoof boots instead of metal shoes but once you see the benefits ( and you will, given time and the right support), you’ll never go back.

Every horse should be allowed to grow the foot they want and need so allow your horse to grow the hoof that supports them and provides the balance they need – and don’t be scared!

horse hoof boots

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look Who’s Coming Out of the Woodwork

By Carole Herder

Summarizing some of the talks I was giving at various horse events and conferences, turned out to be a 250 page book. I couldn’t stop writing once I started. That was three years ago and every time I thought I was nearing conclusion, something very important demanded to be highlighted. Having never written a book before, I was quite unprepared for the seeming endlessness of the process.

Finally, last month there was nothing more to say. So I launched ‘There Are No Horseshoes in Heaven’ on my birthday. Within 24 hours my book was an Amazon #1 Bestseller in 4 countries! Do you think I said what people wanted to hear? Do you think this was excited? Oh ya! Truly, it was above and beyond my wildest expectation. Horse Hoof Boots Now, a month later the thing that is really moving me are the comments and reviews that people are posting. It appears that this little book has indeed helped several folks, inspired a few who are ready for change and supported many who are now taking right action on the proper approach to caring for our horses. Coming out of the woodwork, we are joining as a community of natural, barefoot and Cavallo Boot horse advocates.

Oh and the Icons of our horse world are commenting too. Let’s take note of the celebs that have sent their comments in: Julie Goodnight, Pat Parelli, Monty Roberts, Joe Camp…. to name a few.

Way to go Team!

Way to make it a better world for the horses we love!

horse hoof boots

Treating Lameness

Managing lameness and rehabilitating an injured horse is something we have all had to consider. Recently two articles appeared in the same national publication that tracked the stories of attempted re-hab of two different high profile performance horses. The stark variance in outcome is something that some would just accept as the luck-of-the-draw. There is some luck involved, but we believe that the treatment is vital to the outcome.

One horse was turned out to a pasture in mid-summer with some other horses to “just be a horse”. The owner thought there was no chance of recovery so just wanted to provide a good life for her trusty steed. She thought she might as well pull off the shoes and save the money.

The other was given ten months of stall rest, some name brand hoof supplements and special shoes with pads in the hopes that he could return to his previous level of competition.

horse in stall

In these articles – the conclusion that these vastly different approaches resulted in vastly different outcomes was not drawn.

Unexpectedly and with great delight, the first horse rambled in from the field the following spring completely sound and ready to go back to work, albeit a little unkempt and lazy.  While at the time of the article, the second horse had not improved and the owner was downhearted considering that her treatment was exhausted and that her mount would be retired.

The difference? Horse #1 had the increased blood circulation of a barehoof – not clamped with metal. Proper hoof mechanism allowing adequate shock absorption. Lots of movement to facilitate hoof function. Natural environment to allow more fitness, socialization and an increased overall happiness in ‘just being a horse’.

Now when horse #1 is under saddle, what do you think is best on his feet?

Yep. You got it. Cavallo Hoof Boots!

Ride over any terrain at any speed with complete hoof protection.

horse hoof boots