Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Shoes

What can I say, my girl likes her shoes.

The farrier came yesterday and reset all of Cricket's shoes. One more thing checked off my list of things to accomplish before camp.

Hoof care is vitally important to the physical and thus the mental and emotional well-being of a horse. One of my instructors once said, "A horse will do anything to compensate for an imbalance in his mouth or his feet." I think there are too many horse owners who's understanding of their horse stops at the coronary band.

I have no interest in trimming my own horse. First, Cricket is shod on all four feet. Before you get your "Barefoot is Best" panties in a twist, I tried barefoot for two years. Cricket is just uncomfortable barefoot. It's nothing to do with hoof quality or lack of a good trimmer. My horse doesn't like being barefoot. Second, after I broke my left arm I lost some of my mobility in that wrist. It would be two awkward to trim her feet. At least the right side and unless I want continual left hand circles I just don't think it's a good idea.

So I have found, to the best of my ability, a good farrier. He's a Natural Balance farrier and both my horse and I like him. The first time he shod Cricket she dropped her head and just licked and chewed through the entire shoeing. He makes mistakes, like anyone but he's great to talk to and he doesn't think I'm an idiot when I ask him questions about Cricket's feet.

Just because I don't trim Cricket doesn't mean it's not my responsibility to understand how her feet should look and how they should function. It is EVERY horse owner's responsibility.

Funny thing about wanting to talk hoof care, my friend Michelle posted on her blog about the exact same thing! She posted some great links to education material - check out her post at Natural Horse Lover: Have You Rasped Any Hoofs Today?

I take exception to two of her links.

Personally, I do not care for Jim Crew and his Healthy Stride approach. I've had Jim Crew work on my horse (before he was famous) and I'm not impressed. I don't agree with the radical shifts he seems to make in a short time. I wonder how that affects the overall horse to have his back legs rebalanced over a couple of hours. What does that do to the muscle tissue and the immediate comfort of the horse? I don't know. I just wonder.

I think Strasser helped introduce the idea that a barefoot horse was more than just a horse with no shoes. It's about an entire lifestyle that supports the horse in the most natural way possible. I believe, however, elements of her approach are too radical and are unnecessary for normal barefoot horses.

Whatever you do, know what you are doing. There are tons of good resources and the more you know, the better you can do for your horse.

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