Regarding your horse's hooves/feet

   My First Reply: "Regarding your horse's hooves/feet."

    I am not aware of any hoof care in unshod horses, or better said I do not recall anyone anywhere doing any hoof care when a horse had no shoes except regular trimming done by the farrier. I have an article on the hoof care on stablemade which basically points out the same thing.

    After what I have read and seen on the clips it seems to me that your horse had some issues with his feet, and it does not matter whether or not he has shoes, boots or barefoot. Here is what I suspect.

    According to my school book (over 50 years old) the most common mistake done by farriers or by some nincompoops when trimming the hooves is that they do not remove any sole when needed. This common and very old error is actually recently propagated and justified by the so-called "natural trim" believers, that tend to only rasp the foot off, while leaving all the sole. Needless to say that in many horses this will result in the so-called sole-pressure and will cause horses to move exactly as your horse is moving, sort of like walking on pins and needles. This is caused by too much pressure by the sole on the laminae, which gets inflamed and will cause some discomfort, not necessary pain. It will often also reduce the blood flow in the hoof.

    The horse's hoof is designed to carry the weight of the horse on the walls of the hoof, which are attached by the wall laminae to the opposite hoof laminae like some two pieces of Velcro. Once the "Velcro/laminae" starts to separate (get inflamed) we talk about laminitis, or founder. If the sole would be "intended" to carry the horse, we would have no foundered horses.

    The purpose of the sole is not so much in the caring function of the horse but rather it serves to prevent the sinking of the hoof in softer and deeper environment, while it also acts like a supportive arch for the walls. The frog, in addition to the prevention of sinking, also serves to absorb the impact in faster speeds and gaits, while adding to the traction of the hoof. Henceforth horses living in softer and deeper environment like the marsh horses (cold-bloods) will have wider and shallower hoof, as opposed to horse living in harder environment like the Arabian, that will have narrower hoof with deeper cup.

    The most laborious and difficult part in my job is when I have to remove a sole that is very hard, which in the old days farriers refused to do, since in some cases it was almost impossible. Hence in the old and sane days we had to prepare the horse's feet for the farrier a day before, commonly packing cow manure in their feet, which soften them up. Then we cleaned and washed the feet before the farrier came. If I tell this today to people they look at me with disbelieve and THINK I am joking, and so I say nothing.

    Since it is so hard to remove the harden sole, many farriers say nothing, leave it there, and then nail the shoe on, in which case the horse will move in similar way as your horse. Of course the so-called natural trimmers (also now called the "equine podiatrists") will leave the sole there as well, but they justify it. Of course most folks do not know that their horses are sore since they do not bob their heads, and au contraire they THINK their horse is going better since the horse is not bouncy for them.
   Once the horse is trimmed right and shoes are put on the animals, the dynamics of the movement become much freer and the horse is now much bouncier (springier) than before. And so no wonder that folks today prefer to ride the so-called smooth horses that are "smooth" because they are sore. This is just one of the sad ironies of today's horse world that is based on lack of knowledge/ignorance and justified by science and researches done by the blind and unaware, and explained by the THINKERS/idiots. 

    The horse manure does not bother the horse's hooves when unshod, but the dry mud may, especially if there are some rocks stuck in it. Some bedding like the hardwood sawdust may cause some white line rot under the shoes.
   There is mud and there is mud. Meaning that on one farm horses feet are ok, and just half a mile next door the feet are in bad shape, which has nothing to do with any care, but rather with the mineral composition of the ground/mud as well as pollution (acidity etc.).
   The quality of a hoof is mostly related to movement and blood circulation, and of course the firmness and natural quality/purity of the environment. Hard surface = hard hooves, soft surface = soft hooves, all simply natural adjustment of the hoof to the environment. The wild horses have no need for any farrier, and once you put the horse behind a fence, you have ended his freedom of movement, and since the movement is one of the factors that influences the quality and the growth of the hoof, we now have to make up for it and take care of them by trimming their feet.
   There is no such thing as a "natural trim", because it is a genuine oxymoron, and people believing in it and justifying it are morons. I pity any horse that has an owner with a rasp.

    Whenever we use any kind of tool to remove any amount of horn from the hoof, we damage the hoof. Once the hoof is so damaged it will respond to it as to a damage, which will then influence not only the direction and speed but also the thickness of the repairing hoof growth. Therefore the main objective of the farrier is to manage the damages he causes, which is nothing easy, and takes years and many horses to understand.
   Since the responses of the hoof to the damages are not always predictable, it sometime takes a few shoeing and trimming to figure out the particular horse. Of course horses that are shod and spend most of their lives outdoors are almost always unpredictable just like the changes in the environment are. This is why in the older and sane days no one was turning out horses that were intended for daily work, like riding horses, carriage horse or farm horses. In this way, through a suitable hoof care, there was achieved a certain consistency of the hoof, and the work was easier and more predictable for the farrier, hence much less hoof related problems when compared to today insane world of horse "lovers".

    (Unshod, and sometimes shod) horses living on softer environment in captivity will tend to grow thinner/normal walls and thicker soles (providing they are not balling up, in which case the soles get very thin), while horses living in captivity on hard surface will tend to grow thicker walls and thinner/normal soles, obviously. It takes about two years for a horse to adjust his feet to a new environment.

    Furthermore it is considered abusive to jump horses without having the advantage of the traction of the hind shoes. About 2 years ago I added to my shoeing list a horse that the girl was jumping barefooted, first in all four, then front shoes only until the horse finally went lame in his right front, and so I was called and I have been shoeing the horse for over two years now, and no sign of lameness (has borium calks on all four).
   If the horse has no shoes behind the animal should not be asked for any sudden acceleration with the rider on top. In most cases the straining of the stifles is inevitable due to slipping when pushing off, and some kind of lameness is soon to follow. Why do you think they put calks on jumping horses or toe grabs on racehorses?
  The toes grab in front by the racehorse prevents premature breaking over in a deeper and sandy surface, while in the hind legs it prevents slipping. Just one short slip, only an inch can cause straining of the stifle, and once horses feel it they will not trust their hind legs less, which will of course result in shorter stride when running or insecure going, sometimes even refusal, when jumping. This is all very simple, no genius mind needed.
   The only time we need genius minds/thinkers around horses is to justify or explain something stupid, and so the world is full of them these days.

    I have said that we shoe horses for work, and it is the work that will decide if and how we will shoe the horse. In your case you are limited to light and slow work only, since you have no shoes. Just because a horse does not bob its head it does not mean the animal is sound or feels safe when moving. They are fine without the rider, which is evident from your videos, but the addition of the rider changes the weight distribution, and things change rapidly for the worse, which too your clips present.

   My Second Reply:

    I would not consider the above any expertise, as it merely presents the basic knowledge that anyone, not just farrier, in care of horses should be aware of. You still will need a farrier whether or not the horse is shod, because as I have mentioned the barefoot care consists of regular or timely trimming of the hoof, especially if the horse is ridden. In many such cases there is hardly any excessive wall growth to be removed, but almost in all cases the sole has to be "cleaned" out, especially right behind the toe where it tends to bulge out (protrude) due to wearing off the toe wall.
    Just a very small amount of sole pressure behind the toe can make horses uncomfortable, if not sore, which causes them to be careful in landing on the front end. I had some cases where only one slice of the knife removing just a little of the sole made the horse noticeably improve in his movement, and that instantly, which could be seen in the presentation of the horse before and after.

   For some odd reason people here in the states think they can do without a farrier, and many of these fools end up "trimming" their own horses, because they either cannot get a farrier to come, or they just don't want to deal with one, or to pay for it. The trimming part of the hoof and such maintenance is actually more complicated and difficult than the actual shoeing of the horse, and yet these fools cannot shoe the horse, but think they can trim it.
   Of course since most of these barefoot believers lack in awareness, they see no change in the going of their horse when barefooted or when in those horrible boots they think they invented. As I have said before, it is like we are going back in time, because these contraptions for the hoof were invented a long time before the horse shoe, and were called "hyposandals".
   The people that use these contraptions on horses today are totally ignorant of the discomfort in movement presented by the horse, and some of these folks use them on endurance rides for longer periods. We use to say about the lack of bright light in a bar, with the addition of alcohol consumption, that it is there so ugly women or men can get a date, and so when one is blind (lives in darkness) and with dulled senses (self-deceived) around horses all this ugly stuff/behavior looks and feels beautiful to him or her. I guess the saying "ignorance is bliss" can be seen in abundance around horses today.
   And so we end up with all these "dancing" and "beautiful" animals we call horses, write poetry and sing about them, praise them and make movies about them, while totally ignorant of the nature, the life within and the reality of these animals and their state of existence. 'We love them and they love us', and since we love them we should own them. I guess if I would "love" black people I should go and buy one, which would make the slave owner in such case a lover of people, wouldn't it?

    The greatest and the most harmful corruption of all is the corruption of the word love and its meaning. Now when you add the feminine guilt complex to that, you end up with this huge wall of denial, or better said self-deception, hence the constant obsession with the word love in relevance to animals and pets, which is a genuine lie. Anyone who says that he or she loves animals is a liar. I remember this quote from a movie referring to PETA as "People for Eating Tasty Animals", which would make this PETA at least genuine, as opposed to the original PETA that is nothing more but a bucket of human decadence/shit.
   There is nothing more sinister than using the suffering of any life for self-advancement/self-promotion/fame and recognition. We could use these animals to better ourselves, to better understand the nature and the life within, and in this getting to know life and ourselves better, but as it is we end up doing the opposite, using/misusing/abusing animals for self-gratification and vainglory instead of for individual growth/evolution. The human state is not the final state of the (son of man) evolution of life on this Earth, and yet most are oblivious to it, stop growing/evolving and die, just like many specie before them.

    The horse and the dog present the ultimate ability of natural life to adjust/adopt to new environments, and yet as we use them we learn nothing from them, all because we think/theorize/justify/explain, hence see or hear nothing. What value has any scientific research or data when presented by a blind observer that came up with these observations/explanations/theories/justifications? It has been said that "good science is good observations", which is of course the subject to seeing things as they are. He who observes and thinks does not present observations but his thoughts, because he missed everything when he was thinking and not observing. If you ever find yourself thinking after observations, you've missed everything, for a true observation will deliver a revelation to the one with sight, while to the blind thinker only more questions.

    The prevention of the abuse of animals (life) is not found in human justice, but in awareness of the realties, therefore the solution is to be found in education and not in some silly legislation that for most part women support and embrace (hence given the right to vote), while at the same time doing more harm than good. Of course as we teach our kids that there is no God, then the man becomes the god who determines what is good and what is bad, and so ironically, and that not for nothing, the symbol of justice here is a blind woman, and the animals and the nature, as well as us, are doomed, which is already self-evident, while the fools are trying to save this decadent world.

Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek