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 Sage By Nature


musings on horses and becoming sage...


Hoof Care

An Open Mind And A Couple Of Flat Feet

Do I want to shoe Sage? No. But do I still look everywhere I can for balanced information? Yes. And, if I just couldn't get her feet and body correct by going barefoot, I would at least consider boots or shoe her in order to have a pain-free horse (I have had her shod front only, then all four, then back to barefoot with boots as needed).

I have been at this for years...we have had quite a journey.

When Sage had shoes on for about four months several years ago while in training, she did not have near the tender-footed issues that she had later. She has also been made horrendously lame or tender footed by two different barefoot trimmers and lame by a few other regular farriers who trimmed her. That is said not to promote shoeing but instead to reinforce the idea that integrating everything you can for the welfare of your horse, and not giving up until you find someone who trims (or shoes) your horse without leaving her sore, is absolutely vital.

Find Someone and Some Method That Works For Your Horse

Remember: even if someone trims your horse's hooves to look like some wild horse's hoof, if he ends up lame then it was not the right trim for your horse!

Find something that works for your horse amongst all the variations of trims out there. Nothing can be called the best method if your horse is frequently sore, so do not be afraid to change trimmers/farriers when needed.

I have changed over six times myself :).

Feed That Hoof Well

One final note: your horse absolutely must have good digestion, and you must feed the horse - and thus the hoof - correctly. Otherwise, all the balancing and trimming (or even shoeing) that you do will not be sufficient to solve your horses' hoof issues. And don't forget to investigate sugar sensitivity (there is a LOT available on the web about hoof soreness and sugar sensitivity).

To read a recent summary of my own journey down the yellow brick road of hoof care, and for more tips on finding peace with your horse's pedicures, read my article Hooves: The Hard Way.