Bare foot care for equine hooves
Monday, 16 March 2009
The Hoofcare Organisation of New Zealand (HOOFNZ) was formed in 2006 in response to the growing interest in natural hoof care in our country.
Seeing a need for a sensible approach to hoof and horse care, a number of individuals in the North and South Islands formed a Committee to instigate an Incorporated Society that would promote a more natural lifestyle and diet for all equines, plus two Training Programmes to teach people how to trim hooves in a non-invasive manner.
Our committee members have a varied background – professional trimmers, equine therapists, professionals from the veterinary and holistic realm – all with the common desire to encourage owners to think outside conventional horse keeping methods and bring their horses, ponies and donkeys closer to their evolutionary nature to enhance health and social well-being.
HOOF CARE FACTS
| Growing great hooves takes time and management. This painful long term dorsal crack took 9 months to grow out with the use of regular, balanced trimming using natural hoof care principles. |
The equine hoof needs movement on firm ground and a diet low in sugar to truly develop to maximum strength and function.
Equines with such hooves can be ridden without horseshoes on any natural surface without causing harm or injury to the hoof.
When a horse, pony or donkey is kept on soft, wet pasture and has a diet predominant in high sugar dairy pasture grasses, the hooves will often be soft and weak.
This type of hoof form cannot carry the weight of the animal over hard, rocky ground and certainly not the added weight of a rider.
Changing to a high fibre diet and developing an environment that encourages movement will have a beneficial flow-on effect to the hooves. In a situation where the owner cannot make the optimum changes (grazing) but wants to keep their ridden horse barefoot, hoofboots can provide comfort and protection for compromised hooves.