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.



Beth said...

Kudos for saying it like it is! Thanks for teaching me to help my boys (Whooy and Jasur) keep their natural feet. You rock!

Oh, we are moving to Spain. I wonder if they do natural (as in hoofcare, not sun-bathing!) over there!

Pat Wagner said...

Thanks Beth!

Awk! Moving to spain? Can I come visit you? Seriously! Let's do a clinic together.

I'm going to miss you. Need to keep in touch via emails!! Let me know how awesome is it there.

Deb said...

Ejoyed your March 3rd blog. You tell it very well. Thanks for being my friend and instructor. Deb