Hello & thanks for the welcome.

Ian

New Member
Oct 28, 2020
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I am a farrier & bare-hoof practitioner.

My main objective is to learn from members of this forum. Their opinions and experiences of both traditional farriery and the various 'bare-hoof' care models that are in circulation.

It would be useful also to learn just how 'informed' those horse owners are on the subject.

Thanks once again, I look forward to sharing your experiences.

Kindest regards,
Ian
 
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PePo

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Jun 4, 2014
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Hi Ian,

Welcome to the forum!

Is this objective linked to a piece of work? Dissertation, research paper, CPD or similiar or is it for your own interest?

I'd be interested to know a bit more about the research - for example, What the parameters or benchmarks for deciding if a participant was 'informed' or not on barefoot horse? There are afterall, slightly different ideology even among the different styles of barefoot trimming, let alone between some farriers and barefoot trimmers which could all influence someone else's POV if considering how 'informed' a person was.

It would also be really helpful to know your qualifications? So that we can have an idea of how 'informed' you are on the subject ;) As I'm sure you're aware there's no formal protection of the term barefoot trimmer or podiatrist and can range from someone owning a rasp to someone who has invested years of research and is a specialist in barefoot hooves and rehabbing feet.

Otherwise, I'd be concerned about airing my views too freely - I've seen far too many FB topics descend into farrier vs barefoot trimmer chaos and good points lost on both sides :)
 
Last edited:

Ian

New Member
Oct 28, 2020
6
2
1
Hi Ian,

Welcome to the forum!

Is this objective linked to a piece of work? Dissertation, research paper, CPD or similiar or is it for your own interest?

I'd be interested to know a bit more about the research - for example, What the parameters or benchmarks for deciding if a participant was 'informed' or not on barefoot horse? There are afterall, slightly different ideology even among the different styles of barefoot trimming, let alone between some farriers and barefoot trimmers which could all influence someone else's POV if considering how 'informed' a person was.

It would also be really helpful to know your qualifications? So that we can have an idea of how 'informed' you are on the subject ;) As I'm sure you're aware there's no formal protection of the term barefoot trimmer or podiatrist and can range from someone owning a rasp to someone who has invested years of research and is a specialist in barefoot hooves and rehabbing feet.

Otherwise, I'd be concerned about airing my views too freely - I've seen far too many FB topics descend into farrier vs barefoot trimmer chaos and good points lost on both sides :)
Hello Pete's Mum

Thank you for your succinct response - my intro should have been more articulate - apologies!

My objective is primarily to achieve a greater understanding of what the horse-owning public know and expect, whether or not they are satisfied with the quality of care, understand what is required, choice of preferred practitioner or DIY? etc.

Sharing this information will, I believe serve only to improve quality hoof-care. There is much controversy out there, much is unknown and confusing.

"There are afterall, slightly different ideology even among the different styles of barefoot trimming, let alone between some farriers and barefoot trimmers which could all influence someone else's POV if considering how 'informed' a person was."

Your above statement is precisely the crux of the matter. Farriery/equine podiatry - are any of this ideolog based on science? Should not any practitioner base their 'modus operandi' on evidence-based science? Or is it simply an 'art form' - something one as a particular talent for?

There can be no benchmark or parameters put in place for the purpose of this discussion. Initially, it would be useful to just sound out a 'general perspective'. Hopefully, the discussion will evolve into meaningful substance.

My role in this discussion is intended to be like that of an 'observer', no judgement or advice in any instance will be submitted. Motivated purely by investigating how to better care for our silent friend.

My qualifications:
Diploma of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (Dip. WCF)
Graduate of Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry (IAEP)
"Horseaholic" - Terminal.

Totally agree with you - Pete's Mum - this is not political or about pitching one against other. That would be counterproductive and a complete waste of time.

Looking forward...
 
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carthorse

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Hi and welcome! Please do join in, it would be useful to see things from a different perspective and if you do feel people start taking advantage then that can be managed. I do think if you want to know about people's knowledge re footcare then you'll need to be a bit more specific, generally we're a civilised bunch on here and we can agree to differ so you won't start a fight :)

I currently have a 16yo Welsh D who has had problems with IR for many years and before we knew what we were dealing with and got it under control he had a couple of bouts of laminitis with severe rotation and sinking. With an excellent farrier and careful management he's happily hacking and is shod all round on a 4 week cycle with pads with frog supports on the front and EDSS putty under the pads. I swear my farrier saved his life and his ongoing skill and attention to detail is a huge factor in keeping him comfortable.
 

Ian

New Member
Oct 28, 2020
6
2
1
Hi and welcome! Please do join in, it would be useful to see things from a different perspective and if you do feel people start taking advantage then that can be managed. I do think if you want to know about people's knowledge re footcare then you'll need to be a bit more specific, generally we're a civilised bunch on here and we can agree to differ so you won't start a fight :)

I currently have a 16yo Welsh D who has had problems with IR for many years and before we knew what we were dealing with and got it under control he had a couple of bouts of laminitis with severe rotation and sinking. With an excellent farrier and careful management he's happily hacking and is shod all round on a 4 week cycle with pads with frog supports on the front and EDSS putty under the pads. I swear my farrier saved his life and his ongoing skill and attention to detail is a huge factor in keeping him comfortable.
Hello & thanks for your encouragement,

Kindly explain: " ... had problems with IR for many years and before we knew what we were dealing".

You obviously have great confidence in your farrier & I can relate to his strategy.
- Does your farrier discuss the hoof condition, possible issues, plan, etc with you?
- Do you have a good understanding of anatomy & can relate to his plan?
- If you could summarise the case and explain how you personally understand what's going on. This would be useful & hopefully start some useful comparative debate.

I do appreciate your time & cooperation - my aim is to establish the depth of knowledge of both practitioner & owner. Ultimately this will determine the level of comprehension in circulation. Identifying that level of comprehension will determine that either; there is a requirement to improve/adapt current practices. Or not as the case maybe?

Many txs
 

carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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@Ian I've had this lad since he was a 2yo and if I remember rightly things came to a head when he was 8. Obviously my understanding of these issues now is much more than it was, but my knowledge about say navicular, or sidebone, or ringbone is much less as I haven't had first hand experience of them and so haven't asked for the explanations or done the reading up and I think that is probably true of most owners - we may have fairly good knowledge about things we've dealt with but we don't have the wider base of knowledge that we expect from a farrier or vet. I think if you're looking for a way to get an idea of how much owners know you'll be wasting your time because it varies so much and I think, a bit like horses, you have to treat us all as individuals rather than make assumptions about knowledge.

I have a farrier who is very good at giving full explanations and discussing options and why they may help or are unlikely to be effective. Why at times he was using a wide web shoe for support and at others a french rolled one to alleviate pressure on the wall (I think it was the wall, it was years ago now and lots has changed since then), why we took a different approach with him than with my ID who had PPID caused laminitis, why heel height was as critical as toe length - x-rays before trim and after were amazing, it looked like months of difference not 20 minutes, and that was despite starting with a foot that without x-rays looked well balanced. He also worked very closely with the vet so he would time trims and shoes to x-ray visits by the vet so he could work to what the situation was at that moment, adjust, x-ray again and if need be alter slightly more. It was all fascinating despite being on a knife's edge of losing him. And that's the other reason I need time and to be in the right place to go into detailed discussions, even so long after the fact it takes me right back to the panic and makes me want to wrap him up in cotton wool for fear of breaking him and with all the Covid crap going on at the moment I really don't need to wind myself up even more. Also I'm not prepared to debate his treatment and management with people who've never seen him or his x-rays, what we did worked for him and continues to do so and that's despite x-rays that were initially so bad that another vet saw them and assumed he'd been pts, wasn't convinced it was worth trying and could hardly believe he'd trotted up sound and forward across a rough yard a few minutes before they'd been taken. What we did worked for him and as far as I'm concerned that's an end to it. He's managed on a routine that works for him in terms of feed, exercise, and turnout. He's shod on a cycle that keeps his feet within balance levels that he tolerates and I know what to look for as warning signs that he may be growing hoof a bit faster at certain times of the year and alter his shoeing cycle accordingly because that fraction of length at the toe alters a lot for him, as does his heel getting a little too high.

A word of caution, my tolerance for people like a particular barefoot trimmer who comes to our yard is almost non-existent. His client mentioned I had a pony with a history of laminitis so he came over to me and said since he had a bit of time if I brought him in he'd whip his shoes off him as no laminitic should be shod. I politely said thanks for the thought but I was quite happy with how he was with his shoes on and had no intention of removing them, at which point he started on that I was killing him, clearly didn't care about him and shouldn't have a horse. To which I pointed out no true professional would want to make so drastic a change to an animal he hadn't seen and hadn't seen the x-rays for and asked what his actual qualification was. Well that soon got rid of him, and I have to say having seen the trim he does on the horse he does at the yard I suspect his qualifications are non-existent - a very real risk with barefoot trimmers and why I wish there was a regualatory body and qualifications similar to that farriers are subject to.
 

Ian

New Member
Oct 28, 2020
6
2
1
What a super response! Thank you so much for taking the time.

I know exactly where you are coming from and understand that you have certain reservations.

You may possibly be correct with regards to 'wasting my time' in collecting information of this nature. With all studies, one must try, despite the obvious challenges.

However, you are the first to respond, and in such honest detail. I am encouraged to persist.

On several occasions, I have been told that I cannot possibly embrace "bare-foot" principals because " you still fix shoes". On asked to provide an explanation - none was offered.

It is this kind of behavior that does suggest that a more scientific evidence-based approach is required. A regulatory body similar to the Farriers Registration Council should also, as you state, be mandatory.
 

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
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On an island
@Ian I've had this lad since he was a 2yo and if I remember rightly things came to a head when he was 8. Obviously my understanding of these issues now is much more than it was, but my knowledge about say navicular, or sidebone, or ringbone is much less as I haven't had first hand experience of them and so haven't asked for the explanations or done the reading up and I think that is probably true of most owners - we may have fairly good knowledge about things we've dealt with but we don't have the wider base of knowledge that we expect from a farrier or vet. I think if you're looking for a way to get an idea of how much owners know you'll be wasting your time because it varies so much and I think, a bit like horses, you have to treat us all as individuals rather than make assumptions about knowledge.

I have a farrier who is very good at giving full explanations and discussing options and why they may help or are unlikely to be effective. Why at times he was using a wide web shoe for support and at others a french rolled one to alleviate pressure on the wall (I think it was the wall, it was years ago now and lots has changed since then), why we took a different approach with him than with my ID who had PPID caused laminitis, why heel height was as critical as toe length - x-rays before trim and after were amazing, it looked like months of difference not 20 minutes, and that was despite starting with a foot that without x-rays looked well balanced. He also worked very closely with the vet so he would time trims and shoes to x-ray visits by the vet so he could work to what the situation was at that moment, adjust, x-ray again and if need be alter slightly more. It was all fascinating despite being on a knife's edge of losing him. And that's the other reason I need time and to be in the right place to go into detailed discussions, even so long after the fact it takes me right back to the panic and makes me want to wrap him up in cotton wool for fear of breaking him and with all the Covid crap going on at the moment I really don't need to wind myself up even more. Also I'm not prepared to debate his treatment and management with people who've never seen him or his x-rays, what we did worked for him and continues to do so and that's despite x-rays that were initially so bad that another vet saw them and assumed he'd been pts, wasn't convinced it was worth trying and could hardly believe he'd trotted up sound and forward across a rough yard a few minutes before they'd been taken. What we did worked for him and as far as I'm concerned that's an end to it. He's managed on a routine that works for him in terms of feed, exercise, and turnout. He's shod on a cycle that keeps his feet within balance levels that he tolerates and I know what to look for as warning signs that he may be growing hoof a bit faster at certain times of the year and alter his shoeing cycle accordingly because that fraction of length at the toe alters a lot for him, as does his heel getting a little too high.

A word of caution, my tolerance for people like a particular barefoot trimmer who comes to our yard is almost non-existent. His client mentioned I had a pony with a history of laminitis so he came over to me and said since he had a bit of time if I brought him in he'd whip his shoes off him as no laminitic should be shod. I politely said thanks for the thought but I was quite happy with how he was with his shoes on and had no intention of removing them, at which point he started on that I was killing him, clearly didn't care about him and shouldn't have a horse. To which I pointed out no true professional would want to make so drastic a change to an animal he hadn't seen and hadn't seen the x-rays for and asked what his actual qualification was. Well that soon got rid of him, and I have to say having seen the trim he does on the horse he does at the yard I suspect his qualifications are non-existent - a very real risk with barefoot trimmers and why I wish there was a regualatory body and qualifications similar to that farriers are subject to.
Wow what an experience you went through. I totally agree with the bit about a regulatory body for the barefoot trimming too. That must have been a heck of an experience you went through thinking you might lose him too :( . I can see why you'd be cautious forever really. What a journey.
 
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carthorse

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How ridiculous to say you cannot embrace barefoot principles because you fit shoes, though hardly surprising that they couldn't explain the comment. Selecting and fitting the shoe is only a small part of what a farrier does, the trim s just as critical as for barefoot. My lad was unshod for the first year or so he was in work, but he was trimmed by my farrier because I want someone who knows the impact of correct foot balance on internal structures of the hoof and the impact on the legs and their structures. It's ok giving me text book angles based on wild horses but my interest is in what suits my individual domesticated ridden horse. I've known many farriers who will recommend not shoeing a horse, or only putting fronts on, if they feel that's right for the horse. I've known fewer barefoot trimmers, but to date I've never heard one suggest shoes for one that's struggling and while boots may have a place I have reservations about them and at that point the horse is no longer barefoot anyway.

Ian if you have any specific questions then please ask, I'll answer if I can. I was trying - and failing - to keep it brief. plus some of it was a while ago and I've almost certainly missed things that a question may bring to mind.
 
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carthorse

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@Trewsers it wasn't a good time, and that's putting it mildly. I very nearly threw up when I saw the first set of x-rays, I just didn't see how anything could pull him back from degree of rotation and sinking that had him almost through the sole on one foot and not much better on the other. How he was still looking sound was beyond me, our concern was that for a while if he was worked three or four days in a row he felt a bit stuffy and short and I wasn't happy about that because he's a bright forward lad. I was not expecting what we found, and neither was the vet or farrier!

I am careful with him and have no inclination to push him to see what I can do before he breaks. We hack four or five times a week but I'm careful of ground conditions with him and won't do much trot on the roads. That said if you saw him move you'd seldom think there was a problem, and his solution to most problems is more speed lol
 
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Jessey

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Hi Ian welcome to NR ?

I’m probably your worst nightmare, I have a huge interest in feet and I started trimming my own about 10 years ago under the guidance of a great farrier, then he left me to crack on, then I got lazy (it’s not an easy job!) and got a farrier in again and I just did touch ups, then some stuff happened that led me back to doing my own after a couple of years working under a farrier again, I still have a farrier who checks in on my work and an amazing vet who supports me.

Additionally I’ve done a few trimming workshops, consulted with Pete Ramey and studied his methods, watch a lot of dissection videos (Id finally convinced my vet to run a dissection for us when Covid struck) and I’ve studied a few other practitioners methods, and stopped studying a few ? I’m also big on how diet effects the feet so have done some nutritional courses.

My mare gets mild laminitis (1deg rotation and a little sinking) for unknown reasons (Rossdales have run every test Dr kellon could think of) so lives on a grass free track most of the year, she also has a navicular syndrome type problem (did everything short of mri but couldn’t positively ID the cause but suspect low ddft injury), we tried various shoes, pads, packing but she is most sound on a short trim cycle bare and booted as necessary. She is also thin soled which adds another dimension to it.

I also maintain non-problematic mini shetlands and a few other horses, and up until recently 1 other with X-ray and mri confirmed navicular who I got back from being 3/10 lame to light hack sound, before he moved to the other end of the country.

I don’t profess to know anywhere near it all, but It’s a journey I’ve dipped my toe on. If I didn’t have financial commitments I would probably be pursuing trimming professionally because I really enjoy it.
 
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