Written by: Cheryl Sutor
What is Natural Hoof Care?
The term “Natural Hoofcare” describes a complete daily care system that is used in conjunction with a physiologically correct barefoot trim. A natural style of horse keeping will allow a horse to remain barefoot throughout its entire working life in all disciplines. This same system can be used to rehabilitate horses from many diseases and lamenesses. Natural hoof care is a method used to return horses to a lifestyle in harmony with their physiology and maintain their hooves in a manner that allows them to perform in any capacity desired by the rider. For optimum results, it is recommended that natural trimming only be used with horses that have been provided a natural environment.
The hoof is designed to serve the horse without the addition of a shoe as long as the horse is housed according to its needs and its nature. Wild horses, Mongolian ponies, horses ridden by ancient armies, and horses ridden by Native Americans were not shod and accomplished amazing feats of speed and endurance. It was only during the Middle Ages when horses of the nobility began to be confined in castles that the hooves were so weakened by confinement and from standing on straw, urine, and waste that shoeing was adopted. And with the prestige of knighthood and royalty, a shod horse began to be associated with the elite. The blacksmith guilds created and preserved a mystique about shoeing and hoof care that persists to this day.
Getting Started in Natural Hoof Care
1. Books To Order and Read:
2. Websites To Study:
The Natural Horse Trim website is has a wealth of information on trimming/treating the foundered horse without the use of shoes. Although this website is based on foundered horses, the information presented on trimming and lifestyle can be applied to all horses.
The Horse’s Hoof website has many articles on natural barefoot lifestyle and trimming and they also sell equipment, books and videos.
A website done by Scott Kroeger, which has plenty of information in the form of articles, including some written by Dr. Hiltrud Strasser.
3. Join The NaturalHorseTrim Yahoo Group:
Join the NaturalHorseTrim Yahoo group. The NaturalHorseTrim Yahoo Group provides a place where horse owners, veterinarians and certified hoofcare specialists can share experiences and ideas, ask and answer questions regarding natural barefoot trimming and horse keeping methods. Here’s the website for the NaturalHorseTrim Yahoo Group:
If you have trouble joining the group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Purchase Hoof Trimming Equipment:
You’ll need a hoof knife (having both a right-handed and left-handed knife is a good idea), a hoof rasp and gloves. Nippers are optional. Quality hoof knives, rasps and gloves are available at:
StrasserHoofcare.com or TheHorsesHoof.com
5. Attend a Clinic or Lecture:
Find a clinic or lecture in your area to enhance your knowledge of the WholeHorseTrim and to get hands-on trimming instruction:
Or, contact Cheryl Sutor about private instruction.