Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Amado - 11 year old QH gelding.

Amado’s owner called about 6 months ago with his story. My interest was piqued within moments of answering the phone. “…he had been named Parelli when he was rescued at the feedlot…he is shod with very different, very expensive shoes…advised he would need to wear them for the rest of his life…”Loved the name! Had to see the shoes! Uh, for the rest of his life? Let’s just see about that!
Larry, his owner, told me Parelli’s name had been changed to Amado when they got him, which is Spanish for beloved. In his case, this name truly fits this horse.We don't have a complete history on Amado’s, but as best as we know, he’d been with several owners. All, I’m told, cared about him very much. He’s had many hours of training, but when he was 5 years old, he developed lameness and was eventually labeled navicular.As with most young horses going into work, shoes are applied, however, in Amado's case, it's unknown whether a competent or incompetent shoeing job was done. In my opinion, his shoes and the application of them are what started Amado down this path and eventually sent him, (and many other horses in his similar situation) to death's door.After years of trying to restore sound hooves in him with corrective shoeing, he could not walk and was sent to the feedlot for slaughter. That, sadly, is a very common scenario for many horses. Almost as many horses are put down due to hoof issues as all other causes of equine death combined.

(Amado before deshoing)

Amado was rescued from the feed lot by an organization called SAFE. “Save a Forgotten Equine.” He lived in foster care and was put into a natural balanced type of shoeing system that helped him move around again. Although, a corrective boot, such as the Soft-ride Comfort Boots, likely would have accomplished the same goal. Every shoeing cost about the same as one pair of those boots.

Amado shoes were very expensive and he became so difficult for his farrier’s that the last two refused to return and not many farriers are familiar with applying this type of shoe.

Larry’s options for his horse were becoming limited. That when he contacted me.The shoes, which saved his life, also came with a price. His frogs were so over-protected they had simply been rotting away. The entire hoof was taken out of function, other than weight-bearing.

Larry, advised me that Amado didn’t move around much. He spent most of his time standing.That was apparent in his body condition. He seemed to hold himself together with strained muscles.

While I’ve known him, Amado has been very sweet and cooperative. Definitely not dangerous, but then I’m not nailing unorthodox shoes onto his sensitive hooves either.

Amados rehab shoes. These shoes are what actually helped Amado begin to move comfortably. There was quite a smell of rotting tissue upon removing them.

Before and After First Trim

As you can see from the photos above, Amado’s soles had generated a massive amount of dense tissue. The walls were long, so the sole found a way to keep up with the wall growth. His heels were extremely tender and his frogs were almost non-existent.

After deshoing, as with any navicular horse, he was definitely stabbing his toe with each step. His heels couldn’t take the pressure of a proper heel first landing. He didn’t seem to be in pain as much as just feeling discomfort and protective of his heels.

After a few trims, the reports on Amado were that he was running and bucking and even jumping small obstacles.

By his 5th trim appointment, his hooves were landing flat as opposed to toe-first, and that dense packed-in sole material had finally let go and sloughed. He was moving so much better and his body didn’t exhibit the tense muscling that I saw originally.

By the 6th trim, which I term the “magic trim” trim, I could see a dramatic improvement of his frog development and sole concavity. We still have to continue shortening the toes and there is still some white line separation, but that will self correct as he becomes sound again and is landing heel first.

So, here is a lovely gelding who was destined for dog food because of his hooves. That is just about as wrong as it can get for a horse. I’m sure if his owner who lost hope and sent him to be slaughtered could see him now, he wouldn’t believe he is the same horse.
These horses desperately need owners, farriers and veterinarians to at least take a look at the rehabilitative work being done by natural hoof care professionals.
All the excuses for not wanting to see the type of hoof rehabilitation we are accomplishing, and the equine lives we are saving, is simply....inexcusable!
It’s time, my friends. It's time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Free DVD's and Tickets to Parelli USA Tour Stop

Pat with Pat!
I've recently been accepted as a Parelli Ambassador. FINALLY!

So, among lots of wonderful things, I simply continue doing what I've been doing for years, but I'll be recognized for my efforts.

It also means that I have LOTS of free tickets to give away! The more tickets I give away, the more successful I'll be as an ambassador.

So if you know of anyone who would like free tickets to the Parelli USA Tour Stop, in Redmond, Oregon on May 10, let me know I’ll be happy to send them as many tickets as they want, along with a free DVD, Parelli's Secret, an introduction to Natural Horsemanship.
I’m going to be at the door at the Billings, Montana Tour Stop, greeting attendees!

They give away lots of stuff at these events. Saddles, bridles, halters, leadropes, DVD programs, etc.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Confusing Hoof Care!

I am a hoof care practitioner. My journey into natural hoofcare started in 2002 when my own mare’s hooves could no long withstand the damage shoes were causing her hooves. After tearing a shoe off her foot, she became so lame, she could barely walk on soft terrain.

Unable to find anyone I felt I could trust with my horses, with the help of one or two farriers in the area, I simply started trimming them myself.
A book by Pete Ramey led me down a path to natural hoofcare. I was fortunate to hear about a clinic with Pete and Ivy Ramey that was being held locally and I took one of my owner-trimmed horses to it. Pete was impressed with my work.
So I decided then and there to go to Georgia and train with Pete. Afterwhich he encouraged me to apply for certification through an organization he was a member of, the AANHCP.
In 2006, after a year of training with various field instructors, I was certified and worked as a field instructor training students to trim.
A year afterwards, some rumblings arose in that organization with respect to the level of competency of new practitioners who were being certified, which was addressed by a one-trim-for-all hooves mandate that was generated by the Association’s founder . What followed was a mass exodus of all the practitioners who disagreed with certain new mandates and certain new workshop instructors teaching for the AANHCP.

The AANHCP, formerly known as the American Association of Natural Hoofcare Practitioners was left with only a handful of people who weren’t new to trimming and a few students who seemed to be in agreement with what became termed as the Double "A" Cookie Cutter Trim by outsiders, and a leader who considered himself the Zen Master of the hoof. Scary.

The cream of the AANHCP crop who resigned, as well as a few very successful practitioners around the country, banded together to form the AHA or American Hoof Association. (See This is not an educating organization, but rather one that screens for only the most competent practitioners in the world. I am now a member of the AHA. And have recently returned from their 2nd annual conference which took place in upstate New York. Four days of working around experts in their field, learning about new ways to help make horses comfortable in their journey from damaged hooves to natural hooves. It was amazing!

So I realize that with new associations cropping up, and incompetent trimmers who are learning from misinformed trimmers and the farriers who claim they know natural hoofcare - (it simply means leaving the shoe off - right?) what is left is a great deal of confusion for horse-owners who are seeking what is best for their horses.
Some people are working to perpetuate the confusion regarding hoofcare practitioners claiming that we are all out there massacring hooves for a quick buck, and that we use iodine to cover the blood we cause to flow from the hoof. (I personally have trimmed thousands of hooves and have NEVER caused a hoof to bleed.)

That is such nonsense when you consider the healing that is being done for hooves that have been damaged through neglect and/or traditional hoofcare. However, there are people out there who claim to know natural hoofcare practices, and who are destroying hooves.

So when deciding to try natural hoofcare for your horse, please don’t listen to the BS that is being spewed by the idiots who dominate the horse world. Do your own research. Talk to others who’ve experienced wonderful success with healing trims provided by competent natural hoofcare professionals. Question everything you hear and everyone who you are hearing from. Veterinarians, as wonderful as most of them are, also have incompetent members in their ranks who know what they know and refuse to educate themselves in the research that is taking the hoofcare world by storm.
Learn about the new ways we can protect hooves from terrain that may cause pain, like the latest in boots such as the Renegades and a new product called Equicast.

Find someone who has a reputation for helping, not hurting horses. And remember, the second leading cause of equine euthanasia is hoof issues and there is always going to be those who don’t want the traditional damaging hoof care practices to die. It keeps the “professionals” busy fixing the problems they cause and they know for every horse they put down due to hoof issues, another will take its place.

Today, my mare and all my horses have tough natural hooves that can negotiate the toughest terrain without a care.
I wish you all the best in natural hoof care.