A recent conversation I had with a reader this week over private message regarding her barefoot horse becoming footsore, revealed a very concerning trend in the horse world today.
Livery yards/horse facilities controlling the diet and management of horses not even owned by them.
This is shocking…
This lady had recently moved to a yard and was starting to have problems with her barefoot horse being footsore, struggling to walk from the field to the yard and was asking for some advice. On further digging, when questioned about what she feeds her horse, she reeled off a list of feeds that were a big red flag, including sweet little extras such as polos.
On explaining that the feed was most definitely the issue, her reply saddened me deeply.
“The yard feeds all the horses morning and night and THEY decide what my horse should eat.”
They feed ALL the horses on the yard the same, and all the horses have to stick to a very strict management regime, which includes many many hours in a stable.
When I was trimming in the UK, many of my clients were at such institutions and ended up leaving them to find more liberal accommodation. Their horses improved and they took back control of their horse’s lives.
This lady was stuck…there were no yards closer that she could get into, her horse was getting worse….and then what happens? What things start being said?
“Your horse can’t cope barefoot you better shoe it!”
“It’s cruel keeping your horse barefoot, look how footsore it is!”
“Barefoot doesn’t work for every horse!”
Etc etc etc.
This has to STOP! Yards and facilities have no right to insist on the feeding regime of any horse that they do not own. If they have a strict management regime which is not conducive to the horse’s health please don’t go there!
How are owners going to get on top of epidemics such as laminitis, colic, navicular, skin problems, poor hoof health, cribbing, weaving, obesity, behavioural problems….and so much more, when this type of control reeks havoc in the horse world?
No-one has the right to tell you how to feed and manage your horse to the point where it starts to have a negative impact on their health and mental well-being.
This is EXACTLY why shoeing horses is deemed a necessary act. Diet and management is paramount in keeping horses successfully barefoot and we discuss it a lot in this magazine and on this page.
Horses all over the world are being shod because their owners believe their horse’s feet are weak, flat footed, had the foot bred off them, need support, need remedial shoes, need special supplements….the misconceptions are numerous.
All because the diet is inappropriate.
Who is to blame?
The HUGELY profitable feed companies producing feeds totally inappropriate for the horse, who encourage owners to feed their horse their feeds through clever marketing and scare tactics.
Then…on top of this…yards and facilities taking over the needs of your horse…and you keep on paying them to do so!
In some cases yards/facilities even tell you what hoofcare provider and vet to use!!
If this is your situation and you want to go barefoot or your horse just isn’t doing that well barefoot, then have a VERY BIG rethink.
YOU own your horse. YOU should have the final say on what your horse is fed and how it is managed.
You are the one who has to pay the bill when your horse’s health begins to deteriorate!
Stop & think.
This magazine is dedicated to helping owners understand diet, management and barefoot.
Have a thoughtful Sunday…stay in control!
Lindsay, Editor, BHM