🤔 Going barefoot is all about allowing the horse to grow the feet that nature intended them to have.

When this topic is raised, it is always a hot and controversial one. We are often told that not all horses can go barefoot, that all horses are different and should be treated as individuals…but with shod horses is that really the case? Isn’t that topsy turvy thinking?

Hmmmm….

The horse’s foot for far too long has been subjected to human interference, in the guise of helping or keeping the horse ‘sound’ for the owner to ride. When the shoes come off, many shod horses are footsore, limping across the ground, clearly uncomfortable….and so more often than not the shoes go back on and the damage continues.

Damage? Really?

Very few owners understand that the root cause of the painful feet is the continual shoeing and the incorrect diet. They genuinely think the shoes are helping their horse stay sound and that going barefoot is either cruel, not for their horse or would cause further damage!

Now that is topsy turvy thinking! How can something that is so natural – a bare foot – be seen as something which is unnatural?

Shoes have been known and referred to for many years, hundreds in fact, as a ‘necessary evil’, nailed onto the horse’s foot supposedly to give ‘support’ and ‘protection’…but at a great cost to the health of the foot (and body).

Shoes do not treat horses as individuals and they don’t allow horses to be ‘different’…if you want your horse to be an individual let it decide what shape feet it needs, not what the human thinks it needs.

If you carry on doing unnatural things…then you have to expect unnatural things to happen….and in this magazine we hear countless stories from owners finally making the decision to treat their horses as true individuals, take their shoes off and watch nature weave it’s magic!

See lots and lots of recovery stories of horses going from shoes to barefoot in The Barefoot Horse Magazine.

Go here to subscribe 👉 bit.ly/ANNUALsub

If every horse is different then let them prove it!

Hmmmmm!

Lindsay, Editor

🤔Why are people dressing horses up as Zebras?

It’s one of those questions you get asked by your science teacher at school…

“Why do Zebras have stripes?”

Well aren’t we all conditioned to say “Camouflage!”?

But camouflage from WHAT exactly??

Hmmmm 🤔 now scientists have found that those famous Zebra stripes might actually be ‘dazzling’ blood sucking horse flies as they come into land!

Now in the name of science…how does one find that out? Well dressing horses up as Zebras of course 🤦‍♀️

When uniformly coloured horses were dressed in ‘Zebra coats’ the flies made fewer landings on the striped areas but were not kept away from the head. The flies would often come in too fast and make a crash landing and then abort quickly!

Dr Martin How from the University of Bristol said “Stripes may dazzle the flies in some way once they are close enough to see them with their low-resolution eyes.”

Perhaps similar to when human pilots get dazzled by sunlight when attempting to land in the sun?

The scientists performed their study on a UK farm that keeps both domestic horses and Zebras (we want a Zorse!!) and suggested that the stripes reduce the chances of the Zebra being bitten by pesky flies!

Oh no….up go the sales of striped fly rugs this summer 😱😂

Have a fun ‘stripey’ day!

The BHM Team ❤️

p.s. we’re not encouraging you to go out and either paint your horse or buy stripey fly coats 🙃 natural coats are best 😉

🤔 Here is an interesting topic – MUD!

If you own horses, then mud is inevitable in the winter time. But how much mud is ok? Is mud going to harm our horses?

I personally keep all manner of breeds of horses and not one of them ever gets mud fever or any leg/foot problem, no laminitis, no navicular…why? The answer, isn’t just the particular paddock they are in or the particular mud they are exposed to. My herd have moved into 5 different environments over the last 4 years and they have never suffered once from mud fever, even though they are exposed to a fair amount of mud in the winter.

Have I got special horses…or special mud? Nope. So why are my horses not suffering from problems when exposed to mud?

Well, there are various reasons, not just one.

I don’t wash their legs…ever. I let any mud dry and then it can be brushed off if needed, but never ever do I wash their legs…for anything. Their legs and feet get wet from the mud or the water around their trough, but I don’t soak them or hose them at all.

I feed them 24/7 365 mixed meadow hay, no rye, no single species hay. They have this hay in two big bale feeders AND dotted around their paddock in big sturdy buckets. This means they can eat together or they can eat apart, there are enough ‘stations’ for them to eat totally alone if they choose to, or they can be more communal, the choice is theirs.

They aren’t rugged, they have their own natural rug, they have shelter if they need it, but rarely use it in the winter, preferring to use it in the summer to escape the flies. If I had a sick or very old ailing horse, I would rug if I needed to, but all my horses are fit and healthy, the young and the old.

They are barefoot, have fantastic circulation, functioning healthy frogs & are never footsore.

I never stable them, I am lucky to have my own land, but if I had to keep them in a stable for some of the day or night in the winter, I would still do all of the above if I could.

They have a magnesium based salt lick, with trace minerals – no molasses – which is available 24/7 365.

And that is it! No problems. Barely ever see a vet, unless there is an unforeseen trauma. In fact the last time I saw a vet for my horses was 16 months ago when he came to sign the papers to say they were all fit to travel abroad.

I don’t want my horses to stand around in mud all day…but that’s the thing…my horses rarely ever ‘stand around’ unless they are having a snooze….they are on the move all the time. I always have areas that they can get out of the mud but do they always choose to go to these areas…no.

Mud doesn’t kill or harm horses, but what you put in their diet can. If you are desperate to keep your horse off the mud and by doing so you expose your horse to more and more overgrazed grass, then you are trading their health for a perceived kindness to take them out of mud.

I’m not advocating mud up to their hocks, of course not, but I’m trying to get across that mud isn’t the enemy…but grass can be, so be careful.

Mud in the winter with horses is just a fact of life for so many. If you can provide areas that are mud free then all the better. If you are at livery and your horse has to go inside for some of the day, then try and keep the hay going 24/7 if you can, and be careful what hay you feed.

I used to be a paranoid horse owner who freaked at the sight of my horses in mud…now I can relax, because not one of my horses ever suffers.

Just follow the simple steps above as closely as you can, and your horse should be fine…but if you have mud, don’t freak out about it and don’t let others make you feel bad.

After all, mud can actually be very beneficial!

Enjoy the weekend barefooters 🙂

Lindsay, Editor BHM

Our You Tube Channel is now live!

You Tube channel thumbnail

Today we are launching our very own You Tube Channel, full of everything and anything to do with barefoot. Lindsay our Editor will be taking on the mantle of producing many of the videos and we also have some interviews and other exciting stuff lined up for you. We’ll be bringing you info on new releases, features, solving barefoot problems, discussions, fun and lots of barefoot savvy!

So nip over to show your support, don’t forget to subscribe and click that bell icon so you are notified everytime we post up a new vid. We’re quite excited about it and a bit nervous too, as going into the moving picture realm is a bit different for us, but we hope you are going to enjoy it.

Here’s a quick video welcome from our Editor, Lindsay Setchell.

Don’t forget you can add comments under the vids, anything to do with barefoot, any questions you have and maybe some ideas for new vids or suggestions for the mag. Not much there at the mo…but it will start building!

We hope you join us and we can’t wait to promote Barefoot Horses to an even wider audience!

Here are our other BHM social network links, go visit, go share and join in – keep sharing the barefoot love!

facebook.com/BarefootHorseMag

https://twitter.com/BareHorseMag

https://www.instagram.com/barefoothorse_magazine/

Happy You Tubing!

The BHM Team

Happy Earthing!

hoof/foot

We absolutely know without a doubt that horses who spend their lives barefoot with their own hooves on the ground (instead of metal) are healthier…but does anyone really know why?

Perhaps studies into humans going barefoot, called ‘earthing’ or ‘grounding’, may begin to shed some light on this, as scientists discover what happens to your body when you walk barefoot on the earth.

Fascinating article – here’s the link.

Happy ‘Earthing’!

The BHM Team

Well big brother is watching!! 🤐

Bracy Clark hoof deterioration

One of our recent posts has completely disappeared off Facebook, lots of people shared it and now they cannot find it. It was removed from our page without any notification and one person had a response that the post was SPAM! Many of us have lodged complaints but have yet to receive an explanation.

Come on FB this isn’t good! We need to be able to talk about barefoot and the effect of shoes, as this is, apart from anything else, a fairly big welfare issue which has been ignored for far too long!

If you are interested to know what the post was about, it was talking about a vet, who, just over 200 years ago, when the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons was in its infancy, declared that shoeing horses was causing them long term health problems, painful feet and could potentially shorten their lives due to the onset of other biomechanical issues, not just in the feet.

This vet was Bracy Clark and we featured an article about him in Issue 6 by author Linda Chamberlain who wrote a book about him called ‘The First Vet’. At the time he was branded a maverick for his views and so set about to prove his claim that shoes did indeed cause damage to hooves over a period of time. The drawings in the first image show how one of his client’s mare’s hooves changed dramatically over time from being barefoot to then repeatedly shod over a period of 3 years.

The first unshod image shows the mare had hooves with a natural flare, healthy wide frog and sole, images which are familiar to many owners who have barefoot horses….the bottom two images show THE SAME HOOF having gone through dramatic changes, narrowing, lengthening, contraction and the frog, as you can see is no longer the wide healthy frog it once was, just look how much closer the heel bulbs are! The owner of the mare was so freaked out by the changes that she stopped the experiment and had the shoes removed.

How many of us have seen hooves like the distorted, deformed ones that they witnessed after just 3 YEARS of shoeing? I know in my career, I HAVE NEVER EVER come across a shod hoof that had not been distorted by shoeing. HOW CAN WE PROVE THAT? By taking the shoe off, measuring the foot and taking pictures and measurements at every trim, just like Bracy did, and you will see how the foot begins to change BACK TO THE FOOT THE HORSE NEEDS.

However the sad truth? Rarely will feet return to the state they would have been if they had never been shod. The good news though, is they will be functional, become healthier and provide the horse with a foot that he fashions rather than one the human thinks is correct.

There are similarities between the effect of nailed on shoes on dynamic organic hooves, and the custom of applying tight binding to the feet of young girls to modify the shape and size of their feet. It was practiced in China from the Song dynasty until the early 20th century, and bound feet were considered a status symbol as well as a mark of beauty. You only have to do a google search to see their feet were definitely not a thing of beauty and caused great problems and pain in their lives and were irreversible.

Bracy even tried to patent a ‘shoe’ that would allow the horse’s foot to expand and contract…it never took off…oh how we wish Bracy could see how things are changing now in the equine world and all those amazing boots on the market, allowing horse’s feet to do just that! Sorry Bracy, it’s only taken us 200 years to catch on!!

But look how BAREFOOTERS today, just like you and us, are now being censored and branded mad hatters, just like Bracy, who was thrown out of the RCVS for his views!

If you want to read the article, here’s the link to purchase Issue 6, only available online now as all the print copies sold out.

Please Facebook, don’t remove our posts again.

Lindsay, Editor & The BHM Team

Progress doesn’t need qualifications

Progress quote

As is always the way, whenever you choose to do or follow something which is against the perceived ‘norm’, there are those who will ridicule you, belittle you, try to discredit you and perhaps, dare I say it, even attempt to bully you.

When you stick your head above the parapet and tell the world that you have a passion which many don’t agree with, you suddenly become criticised for even wanting to have a difference of opinion.

This is true in all walks of life, but perhaps especially pertinent on social media, where ‘keyboard warriors’ are able to ‘move in’ and take their front seat in the proverbial stone throwing competition, without having to stand face to face in the same room.

Along the way, questions are fired with no real desire to want to know the answer. These questions are not really questions directed for answering but more incredulous aspersions designed to ‘catch out’ the person to show everyone around they are worthless of having a difference of opinion. When questions are duly answered it doesn’t satisfy, so more questions arise with more intensity and, eventually, the question of qualifications will start to rear it’s head. What qualifies you to ‘preach’ to us? What qualifications have you got to ‘back up’ your claims?

No longer is your passion, a wonderful, exciting journey of discovery, it has become a distasteful itch that others wish to scratch incessantly, never finding satisfaction because, truthfully, they have no wish to.

In the barefoot world, I have been lucky to become part of a passionate band of people all across the entire globe, who, often after severe adversity, find a better way of keeping their equines healthy and strong, a way to give that equine true longevity, without a constant need to ‘prop’ them up with aids which fix nothing and only serve to mask a deeper problem which continues to become deeper and deeper.

These passionate people, many of which I have met either in person or virtually, have one thing in common, they are going against a mindset that has its roots deeply driven in tradition and convention, so deep that even those held in high esteem with the highest of qualifications, cannot grasp the simplicity and beauty of it.

And here is the interesting juxtaposition. These horse owners, who have gone against the grain, have taken on research themselves, spoken to others in the ‘same boat’, read articles, joined groups, watched videos, filled up their bookshelves and often, after an immense amount of deliberation, and even more often, totally alone, have taken the plunge to take their horse barefoot. These people in the most part have no qualifications at all to speak of with regards their new found passion. They have no degrees, diplomas, certificates in equine health, science or footcare, they have not studied for years to gain notoriety on their passion, they have just been able to use common sense, an ability to really WANT to change their horse’s lives and to cure the dreadful problems that the ones with the degrees, diplomas and certificates pontificate about but never seem to actually do.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule, there are those who have taken their passion one step further and sought out a qualification so that they can go and help others, because they have been so deeply impressed by what they have witnessed themselves in their own lives, with their own horses, that they now feel the need to go and take this knowledge further, spreading the information wider to help more horses and owners.

Much like this magazine, by being a portal for people to tell their stories, their situations, in the hope that others will resonate with them and it will help them when those with traditional qualifications didn’t.

It is an interesting aspect of human nature, that when all else begins to fail on the attack, they hark back to the qualifications question. In the hope that this, for all those around to see, will eventually clinch the argument and prove that these people with their passion are nothing better than mislead lemmings following a fad that will eventually die out….and worse, people who are spreading lies, untruths, dangerous information which will lead to equines being far worse off rather than they are now. Tradition has been around for years…why change it?

For me? I was one of those people who wanted to take that passion a little further, to help others and try and make the world better for our equines across the globe. I was already a qualified science teacher but I knew little about horses’ feet, or how to help them when they had problems. So I began to follow a passion. I absorbed as much information from every source I could think of, I didn’t, couldn’t let it go. I chewed up and spat out, and rinsed and repeated, with as many nuggets of information as I could find on my subject…much of the time to the detriment of my family life. I was getting deeper into a subject which shocked, amazed and drew me in, and I was confounded why others with the highest of qualifications didn’t ‘get it’. Why did they not understand this? Why were these animals being put to sleep when often a very simple cure was just around the corner? Why were humans so blinkered?

This awful feeling in the pit of my stomach wouldn’t go away and I kept searching. I trained in the UK, in the US and around Europe to competently trim horse’s feet. I spent time with other passionate humans who taught me things to help horses that I will always be so eternally grateful to them. I spent years learning how to handle horses naturally, carefully and calmly and I learnt how to ‘read’ them, such that I rarely ever had problems even with the most difficult of poor equines who were so traumatised by previous experiences that they showed no trust at all. It never took me too long. 

I did gain qualifications, to already add to my degree and post grad certificates…but ‘these’ qualifications were sniffed at because they were not delivered by the traditional establishments and therefore they must have meant nothing, even though by this time, I had been ‘learning’ for years.

I ploughed on. I found insurance so I could protect myself and the horses I worked on. I kept meticulous accounts and learnt the hard way how to run a successful business. I gave up my secure day job and I began to use my ‘new qualifications’ and experience as a teacher, and started to run workshops for owners desperate to learn even more about their passion. I taught others who wanted to take it further and become like me, taking their passion to that wider audience and helping more and more equines. 

It is no longer a passion…it is a way of life. I have set principles that I will never, cannot ever shift away from because I have seen for my own eyes the dreadful consequences of doing just that. I have been hurt emotionally and physically along the way, mostly by humans, hardly ever by horses, and I know how it feels to be that person beginning their passion, desperate to help their horse and feeling alone and isolated in the vacuum of the traditional world.

But PROGRESS. What a funny thing it is. As George Bernard Shaw once said:

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

Progress will never stop. It is a train that if you wish to jump on will take you on the most amazing journey you will ever go on in your life. The progress train stops for no-one. It keeps on chugging down those tracks, occasionally attempts are made to de-rail it, but no-one EVER succeeds, until one day, the train is bursting from the seams because more and more people want to jump on board….because if there is one thing about humans….they don’t really want to be left behind. 

Have a thoughtful day

Lindsay, Editor