There is a large amount of information and misinformation about this topic on the internet. Choose carefully and research the information before putting it in to practice.
As a result of seeing many clients’ horses having problems with ‘transitioning’ to barefoot, I have been compelled to conduct almost a decade of research into this area. Much of the trouble comes from anecdotal evidence stating horses improved with various trimming techniques. Unfortunately, due to the lack of equine veterinary lameness knowledge and experience, by most of the barefoot advocates writing on the internet, or those teaching courses, a lot of incorrect assumptions are being made about the results of their trimming techniques.
I have examined and tested all of the trimming techniques touted across the world to be the secret to the barefoot horse. As a result of being incredibly frustrated with trying to get large or tall performance horses successfully going barefoot, I have travelled far and wide across Australia to seek the answer of the ‘correct barefoot trim’. This has included several trips into outback Australia looking at multiple brumby herds living on various terrains, and visiting Australia’s most famously successful barefoot athletes.
It turns out the horses at home had the answer all along. The barefoot racehorses I work with and the navicular disease dressage horses all ended up teaching me what the perfect trim is. The journey also helped me find out why there seems to be so much variability with the results of being barefoot and how to sort out the issues so it works.
Consequently I am in the process of writing a book on the myths and magic of managing foot problems in horses. I can definitively say that ALL horses CAN successfully be managed in the barefoot lifestyle, however there is a fine, but achievable art to successfully riding ‘barefoot’ with the larger breed and taller sport horse.
If you are having problems transitioning your horse from shoes please contact me, as there are many secrets to getting the poor footed horse successfully and comfortably out of shoes. Horses who have compromised feet need dedicated owners (and trimmers), who are willing to become well educated on the art of having a barefoot horse, and owners also need to be happy to call me for help if things aren’t going according to plan.
If you have attempted to learn to trim, but still find it a difficult and confusing process, you are likely to find my Performance Hoof Care clinics highly enjoyable and enlightening. Most people are astonished at how easy trimming can become, when it is taught by someone who has a profound level of understanding of the horses hoof. See the Teaching and Courses tab for details on attending a clinic.
Note – beware trimmers or groups of trimmers advertising they study with me, attending 1 workshop does not classify as ‘studied with’. There is only 1 trimmer in Victoria (Anna Doherty 0419 525 228) who can say she studied with me, and she owned and trained over a dozen of the Thoroughbred racehorses, who were pivotal in the breakthroughs I’ve made in barefoot hoof care. I will not recommend trimmers who do not maintain due diligence in the quality of their work.