🤔 So here’s the thing. When we say all horses can go barefoot, what do we actually mean?

This statement ‘all horses can go barefoot’ gets many owners just a trifle hot under the collar.

Many of these people will have already tried barefoot but it didn’t ‘work’ for their horse, or they are of the opinion that for a horse to do any amount of decent work, then it’s common sense to use shoes to ‘support’ the horse.

Well if you’re a seasoned barefooter like I am, then you’ll know that if you take the skeptical owner’s horse, change the environment, change the diet and of course the hoofcare, then gradually that horse, that couldn’t cope, is actually starting to grow healthier feet and getting sounder.

Sometimes in order for this to happen, that horse has to change owners…why? Because the original owner simply didn’t have the mindset needed to keep their horse barefoot. They didn’t have the determination to change what was necessary at a consistent level (& that’s the key) before giving up and exclaiming ‘barefoot doesn’t work for all horses’.

Perhaps they didn’t truly know what to do in order to succeed barefoot?

I want to reassure those of you who are perhaps starting your barefoot journey, or having a few ups and downs, that the statement ‘all horses can go barefoot’ is true, and I’ll tell you why.

I have been told countless times by owners, vets, farriers either to my face or as keyboard warriors, that I and this amazing magazine, are selling something which is not achievable in the modern world, that it is spreading propaganda and giving people false hope.

These people who say this, are the ones that failed or didn’t even try in the first place. These people are hooked on a method of nailing metal to a horse’s foot, so that they can continue the practices that caused the shoe to be put there in the first place.

Sounds harsh? Yes it is…for the horse.

Here is what the statement should read in full:

“All horses can go barefoot…but not all owners”

If you want to take your horse barefoot, you can! If you are worried that your horse’s health and fitness is being compromised because of the traditional practices you have been following, then you’d be right.

This magazine isn’t selling a dream, something that isn’t achievable, this magazine is spreading the knowledge far and wide that owners need to take their horses barefoot and succeed.

Those who disbelieve it (the majority of course will not have even read the mag) are no way going to accept the reality that it’s not the horse’s fault it can’t go barefoot…it’s theirs!

I personally own 13 horses…yep I know mad! But those 13 horses will never go back into the traditional world because if they do they will go straight back to where they were when I came upon them. Every single one of my 13 horses has a story, every single one was having problems with their feet and or health…some about to be put to sleep because their current owner had been told, this horse will not survive.

Guess what….every single one is now healthy, sound and of course barefoot.

I have personally watched and helped owners with horses who were failing in the traditional world, completely succeed at barefoot when the elements that were needed to succeed were put into place and the owner had the right people and support around them.

And the best bit? It’s not that difficult.

In every issue of the mag, there are stories of how owners decided to take the shoes off their horse and go barefoot against pretty much everyone’s advice. Many of them had to learn the hard way, we’re ridiculed, targeted and often spurned, and yet still succeeded taking their horse barefoot.

Why? Because they changed the essential elements that were needed in order to succeed…and their mindset…and they stuck at it…consistently.

This magazine isn’t just for us seasoned barefooters, it’s for owners struggling to find that missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle that can help them successfully take their horse barefoot.

So, on a final note. Yes all horses can go barefoot. Yes the barefoot world is growing fast, in massive numbers everyday…and yes if you want to keep up with what is going on in this exciting world and learn how to keep your horse barefoot for life…then this mag is for you.

We are not the number 1 barefoot horse mag in the world for nothing! We work hard at making sure every issue is packed with real life stories, case studies and education to keep you company in your barefoot journey.

Don’t listen to those who say that all horses cannot go barefoot…get the right advice from the right people and watch your horse succeed!

Here’s a link to get this mag into your life now, your horse will be forever grateful.

SUBSCRIBE 👉 https://bit.ly/2Ffz0dP

This mag is for every horse owner all over the world. We ship the printed copies worldwide but you can also choose to read them online, and if you sign up to our newsletter you’ll get an immediate 10% discount off your first purchase.

Sign up to get 10% off your first purchase here 👉 https://bit.ly/2R5Ur1Y

You see the pic attached to this post?

That is an aerial shot of my ‘track system’ when I used to live in the UK (I live in France now). See the lush green fields surrounding it? Those ‘lovely’ green pastures were why my first pony Sunny became laminitic just a few weeks after I bought him. Then I learnt the hard way how to get him better…and he’s still with us today, 20 years later, even though the vets told me he would never recover and I should put him to sleep! I wish this mag had existed then!

Of course you don’t need a track like this, but I ended up rehabbing many horses, so for me it was essential.

Don’t listen to those who say ‘you can’t…’, listen to those who say ‘you can!’

Happy Barefooting!

Lindsay, Editor

😁 🐴 Do you remember Shadow (AKA Texas Star) from the front cover of Issue 8?

Well this year he is starting his 16th year as a police horse for the Houston Mounted Police. Still happy, healthy & of course barefoot – as all the working horses at the HMPD are.

Officer Greg Sokoloski (now retired) was Shadow’s partner, and the man largely responsible for instigating the pioneering change from shod, unhealthy horses who were often off work because they couldn’t cope, to a barn full of barefoot police horses, healthy, chilled and ready for work every day.

This is what Greg said when he popped by the HMPD barn the other day to see his old pal Shadow:

“Shadow starting his 16th year as a police horse. Still happy and healthy and barefoot. All he has known is what he is doing in the pic. I make sure when I visit he is happy and comfortable and he is, people come to see him everyday so retiring him to a pasture full of horses may not be the right thing right now. When he says he is finished then we will make that decision, but right now he is still going strong thanks to the wonderful changes we started with him and the wonderful people and officers that take care of him and continue with the practices we started almost 20 years ago. What a pleasure it is to walk into a barn full of working police horses and see happy and healthy horses!!”

The story of how the HMPD went from spending thousands of dollars on propping up unhealthy, unsound horses to changing their equine management, training & hoofcare, is one not to be missed.

Read all about it in Issue 8 which is one of the printed back issues in the January 50% Off sale.

This story you will be recounting to friends, family & professionals forever!

Truly inspiring.


Go here to get Issue 8 at 50% off until Jan 31st 2019 or stocks last:

https://barefoothorsemag.com/product/back-issues-in-print/

Keep barefooting Shadow ❤️

The BHM Team ❤️

🤔 Top 15 reasons why horse owners take their horses barefoot

1. Horse had been having recurring lameness issues in shoes, wanted to see if barefoot would help

2. Horse hated being shod, often had to be sedated for the farrier or wouldn’t let the farrier near them

3. Horse’s feet were falling apart in shoes…kept losing shoes

4. Remedial shoeing wasn’t working, barefoot was a last resort

5. Horse was barefoot on hinds & coped well, feet looked amazing, wanted to go barefoot on fronts

6. Owner just didn’t like the idea anymore of hammering nails into their horse’s feet

7. Friend had gone barefoot & their horse was doing really well

8. Wider choice of hoof boots now available

9. For economical reasons, barefoot was far cheaper

10. Horse had laminitis/navicular & told would have to be put to sleep

11. Horse was continually tripping in shoes

12. Horse had been retired, so shoes removed, then found horse was going really well barefoot

13. Horse was out of work, owner wanted to give the feet a rest from shoes, hooves began to improve

14. Had read/heard about how much healthier it was for horses to go barefoot, so wanted to give it a go

15. Owner shocked at the negative changes in their horse’s feet with continual shoeing eg, hoof/frog health, contraction, shoe sizes getting smaller

It’s just a no brainer really! Never has it been a better time to take your horse barefoot!

The education, proof, information & support is out there!

Barefoot is proving to be healthier, Barefoot is proving to be best…no need to go it alone anymore, this mag is here to help!


Subscribe to the No. 1 Barefoot Horse Mag on the planet in Print & Online:

Go here to subscribe 👉http://bit.ly/ANNUALsub

Issue 21 out on Feb 1st…don’t miss your copy!

The BHM Team ❤️

#barefootisbest

🤔Why did I start The Barefoot Horse Magazine?

Well, a few moons ago when I was spending my life bombing around the south west of the UK, visiting my lovely clients with their barefoot horses, we would chat whilst I trimmed, and one of the things I began to realise was that they were so happy I was there…not just to trim their horse but for someone they could chat to who was also a barefoot nut like them. They were often bereft of someone to talk to, or resonate with, or gush to about the trials and tribulations of their barefoot adventure…and this made many of them isolated and feeling alone.

It got me thinking during the many hours I spent in my Hoofing van in between visits…what if I could start to bring together all my clients so they could connect with each other? So I started our own private Facebook group. But, people are often fairly shy, and they didn’t always have the nerve to put up posts, and posts aren’t long enough to really tell people about your journey!

So, I began to jot down stories and I would send out a newsletter every month to all my clients, telling them about other owners just like them. My clients loved it and they started to feel more connected, stronger and more positive about owning their barefoot horse.

Then one mad client said “Hey Lindsay, you know what we need….we need a magazine all about barefoot horses…I’ve given up reading all those horsey mags that are out there because there’s really nothing in there for me and my barefoot horse!”

NO WAY was my knee jerk reaction – me running a magazine? What do I know about magazines? Besides I am WAY too busy looking after all you guys and trimming your horses to go starting up a mag….

….but alas, I couldn’t get the thought out of my head….and so it began.

That was 20 issues ago, and we’ve grown and grown. We started as a digital online edition initially but so many wanted to read it in print that we started publishing the printed mags from Issue 6 and they became so popular that the printed editions are now shipped all over the world.

I remember how excited we were when the very first printed mags arrived at my house. My kids ripped open the box (yes just ONE box back then!) and the first thing my Mum said was “Oh, it’s actually like a real magazine!” Ha! For those of you who know me, it was never going to be some flimsy pamphlet, nope this mag had to be awesome from the start or not printed at all!

We’ve had lots of ups and downs over the years as many of our loyal followers know, particularly lately with changing our data systems and updating our website, but we are now more popular than ever. Our print runs have got bigger and bigger and our hoof print on the equine world, which was once Shetland sized, is now heading towards full grown Cob….maybe we’ll reach a Clydesdale one of these days!!

Thanks to all of you who keep on supporting us and a message to all of you who haven’t made that extra step to become a subscriber yet…this mag is for you, it’s a mag you can call your own…because nobody understands about being a barefoot horse owner better than all of us.

So, if you haven’t subscribed already, check out this little vid I put together for newbies to the mag….and perhaps those that need a little nudge to get this mag into their lives and on their coffee tables (or to waft in front of your non barefoot horsey friend or vet). You and your horse won’t ever regret it!

Go here to sign up 👉bit.ly/ANNUALsub

FREE Calendar with every new Annual Subscription during December 2018!

This is the one and only Barefoot Horse Magazine!

Lindsay, The Editor ❤️

🤔🐴Can horses suffer from PTSD?

We know horse get stressed. But do we realise just how much stress equines living in our domestic environment suffer?

Most of us have witnessed brutal behaviour towards equines at the hands of humans and the effects of such behaviour on the equine stay with them for life. But what about when long term ‘buddies’ are taken away, split up, moved on? This is also a very stressful time for horses and something few humans consider.

Horses can begin to become ‘hard work’, maybe they bite, nip, lunge, kick…maybe they hate having their feet trimmed, picked up, touched. Perhaps they hate it when their ears are touched, face, flanks….are ‘cinchy’ with their girths, swinging around to strike when the girths are tightened.

Frightened to go into the trailer, stable, yard. Run away and are difficult to catch when they see someone come into their field holding a halter – so the human tries to hide it behind their back. Rip off their rugs, attack other field mates, act like fire breathing dragons going out for what should be a gentle hack.

Thousands upon thousands of humans own horses they never ride, are simply too nervous to ride, because their horse, which they adore, is unpredictable and scary out on rides. Some are great in company, others are better alone, some freak out at the thought of leaving their field, friends, yard…..some go to a show once and never again because the stress for both horse and consequently human is just too much.

The list goes on and on and on. One thing I know for sure is that many MANY of the above problems can be helped by doing simple things such as changing the diet, the management, taking the shoes off, creating herds, even a herd of two, who live out 100% of the time in more interesting environments where hay is placed in different locations for them to mimic foraging behaviour.

Some horses are lucky and have owners who can create these types of environments for them and they become ‘better’ more settled horses because of it.

Ulcers are now recognised as one of the most common problems amongst domestic horses in our modern times and it is likely that more horses suffer from them than was ever first imagined!

Trauma from living in the domestic world can run very deep and I truly believe many horses suffer from PTSD. Which is why, when I was contacted by a man called Bob Burdekin a few months ago, telling me about his New Wave Therapy Program and how it helps equines suffering from stress, I knew I had to know more.

Bob spent most of his life in the horse industry and in 2002 decided he wanted to look at alternative methods to helping horses who had stress related problems, so he could bring about positive changes in their lives.

When Bob met a horse called Oden, it made a profound impact on both of their lives. Oden was aggressive, he was a fighter, if you got close to his head he would reach out and bite you, biting the farrier and his owner on several occasions. On finding out more about Oden’s history, Bob realised that, just like the combat soldier, the abused child or the emotionally abused woman, horses too can suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

His article ‘Can horses suffer from PTSD?’ is a great read and is just one of the typically excellent and thought provoking articles we always have in The Barefoot Horse Magazine and you’ll find it in our latest Issue 20. You won’t find articles like this, written by such knowledgeable individuals as Bob Burdekin in pretty much any of the mainstream ‘horsey’ magazines, which is exactly why we exist.

So next time you hear someone complain that their horse is ‘naughty’ or worse needs to be put to sleep because their behaviour is too ‘dangerous’, maybe we need to take a different approach at trying to understand WHY!

Here’s a link to Issue 20 ➡️ http://bit.ly/BHMissue20
Here’s a link to subscribe ➡️http://bit.ly/BHMsubs

Thanks for reading folks!

Lindsay, Editor

p.s. the horse in the top picture is Oden with Bob on one of their first meetings. The spotty horse below is one of my horses ‘Tony’ with my daughter Georgia. Before I met him he was aggressive and was heading towards being put to sleep. He came to live with my large herd, out 24/7, eating nothing but good mixed meadow hay, and within 48 hours the herd magic had already worked wonders…I was trimming him on my own with the rope on the ground. Does he still have issues? Without a doubt but nowadays we don’t tend to see them because Tony is one of the lucky ones.

🐴Metal horse shoes are so ‘YESTERDAY’!💤

shoes vs hoof boots

Move over Mr Metal Shoe here come the new kids on the block!!

Get your FREE in depth article “Scientific proof that hoof boots are an improvement on metal shoes”
➡️ https://bit.ly/2DpOavq

As the Editor of The Barefoot Horse Magazine I might be a bit bias, so lets take a look at some of the general pros and cons of shoes vs boots.

👉The PROS of why HOOF BOOTS are BETTER than SHOES:

– Hoof boots do not invade the hoof capsule, unlike nails to secure the metal shoe to the hoof

– Shoes (and nails) always do cause a degree of deterioration of the hoof capsule over time e.g. contraction, distortion, reduction in circulation, cracking, whereas hoof boots have no such effect on the hoof capsule

– Hoof boots can be easily put on and taken off whenever the owner feels the horse needs protection, giving the owner far more control over their horse’s comfort; shoes are fixed and can only be removed and replaced by the farrier

– After the initial outlay, hoof boots are far more economical than shoes, as the owner can put them on and off without cost, totally free, unlike shoes which have a cost implication at all times

– Being made of metal & because they are worn continuously, shoes deteriorate much faster than the tough composite materials in hoof boots, meaning boots last far far longer than shoes, and can be used over and over again

– Hoof boots can be measured, purchased and fitted by the owner, shoes always need a farrier

– Hoof boots have been proven to reduce impact and therefore reduce wear and tear on the joints of the horse, shoes have been proven to increase concussive forces and therefore cause & continue to exacerbate joint/tendon issues (see FREE article download below)

– The majority of shoes are heavier than boots

👉The PROS of why SHOES are BETTER than BOOTS – to the owner:

– Shoes need little to no attention by the owner, they are the farriers domain and the owner has very little input

– Some owners think shoes allow horses to ‘grip’ (but this has been proven to be no more or less of a reality to either barefoot or booted horses)

– The owner has to make sure the boot fits correctly, with shoes this is up to the farrier

👉The CONS of both SHOES and BOOTS:

– Shoes and boots can both come off. If a shoe comes off then the horse is often very footsore and the horse is out of action until the farrier can return. If a boot comes off, other than the fact it has to be put back on again, a barefoot horse has the ability of going bare!

It doesn’t matter how many times these points are discussed, there will always be those who believe shoes are better and refuse to believe boots are any good and of course vice versa.

However, one thing is for sure, the hoof boot industry is absolutely booming, manufacturers are developing new boots all the time, and therefore that can only mean one thing….the shoeing industry is on the decline.

If you want to go barefoot but are worried about your horse ‘coping’, then booting is now a real and better alternative to metal shoes.

But don’t take my word for it….we have a great free article for you, showing some scientific research & data, proving without a shadow of a doubt that hoof boots are an improvement on metal shoes.

⭐️Get this FREE article “Proof that hoof boots are an improvement on metal shoes” by clicking here
➡️ https://bit.ly/2DpOavq

Happy Booting everyone!

Lindsay, Editor

My horse has gone lame…is it an abscess?

Abscess blog pic

When you notice that your horse has gone lame, most owners leap to all kinds of conclusions and usually they imagine the problem to be far more sinister than an abscess. Lameness can range from a slight limp to full blown holding the leg up in the air, not weight bearing at all accompanied perhaps with lots of lying down.

At the sight of their beloved horse hopping around a field or limping into the yard, or looking like they have broken their leg, and anything in between, can send most unknowing owners into fits of total delirious frenzy.

This is usually followed by an expensive (and often unproductive) vet visit and can leave the owner and the horse with days to weeks and even months of recurring problems.

How do I know if it is an abscess or something worse?

Well 9 times out of 10 if your horse has suddenly gone lame….and the lameness is GETTING WORSE then it is likely to be an abscess. Tendon or ligament injuries tend to follow the path of consistent lameness, not getting worse and gradually getting better. So if your horse is limping about out of the blue and he is getting progressively worse, then you can pretty much guarantee it’s an abscess.

There is an awesome flow chart taking your right through how to diagnose an abscess, together with an in depth article all about abscesses in Issue 17 (see link below).

Should you call the vet?

Ok…well here we have an interesting situation. If a foot abscess is suspected what will your vet do? Vets are deemed to do something to aid the pain your horse is feeling – that’s why you called them right? This can range from painkillers such as Bute (nearly always Bute) to full on digging holes in your horse’s foot.

BIG WORD OF WARNING! Digging more holes into your horse’s foot to ‘find and release’ the pus can give your horse instant relief (if the pus is found and it often isn’t) BUT it can also cause far more problems than you bargained for in the long run….and this happens more then you can imagine!

The best and most amazing thing about foot abscesses in horses is that ALL horses can deal with them themselves. They can and WILL ALWAYS burst them eventually and another hole in the foot is just asking for more trouble and in MANY cases causes re-infection.

Myth Busting!! Does going barefoot cause foot abscesses?

NO! But all horses who transition to barefoot from shoes are at risk of getting foot abscesses as their foot heals because the shoeing has caused poor hoof health ranging from holes (yep those nail holes are a wonderful entry point for pathogens), cracks from contraction, and hiding all the other pathology which is due to dietary problems that were not that obvious when the horse was shod.

Will my horse get rid of the abscess on his own?

Well because mother nature is actually really quite awesome, all your horse needs is the following few things to get rid of his abscess:

– Movement – do not confine your horse…even if it is on 3 legs!

– Company – please let your horse stay with his buddy, it’s very important to healing
!

– 24/7 Forage – lots of good mixed meadow hay to keep that gut in good condition, remove all sugars – if your horse is loving his grass or molassed licks or molassed feed – then REMOVE IT because that does the opposite of keeping the gut in a good condition, it plays havoc and causes gut problems and that has a knock on effect to the healing of the foot.

A horse is more than capable of bursting his own abscess. Yes you want to take the pain away but digging holes and intervention is simply not the most prudent way of going about getting rid of it. Many vets are now beginning to understand this and if they are called many won’t dig….truly it’s not great, it leaves you with a big or bigger hole in your horse’s foot…a bigger hole in your bank balance and the very REAL possibility of your horse re-infecting and suffering months from recurrent abscessing and all the problems that go with that.

Look to your diet and management. If your horse is getting abscesses the diet and the management are nearly always at the bottom of it…with the exception of the horse standing on a foreign object!

Do go check out Issue 17, Trimmer’s Tips, all about hoof abscesses – you’ll be glad you did! Here’s the link: https://bit.ly/2Snvfp8

Happy sound horse day!

Lindsay, Editor

Bare, Booted or Shod? 🤔

There are times, many times, when a ‘non barefoot enthusiast’ utters the disgruntled and immortal words ‘booted isn’t barefoot!’. To this I sigh and smile politely before I deliberate whether or not I should enter into the often lengthy and emotive subject of the difference between bare, booted and shod.

Well, as barefoot ‘enthusios’ we know, that there’s nothing healthier and indeed more beautiful than a bare hoof on a horse. Owners often marvel with me, some many months down the line after taking their horse’s shoes off, at just how amazingly different their horse’s feet look ‘now’ compared to ‘then’. But going barefoot is way, way more than just aesthetics.

During transition or rehab, on the road to the ‘healthy hoof’, completely going bare may not be possible at that time. This is where the boot comes into its own. Also, in the realms of tough equine sports, such as endurance, where you would think barefoot would be least likely to take off, it’s growing rapidly, aided and abetted by the advent of the boot. Endurance horses often cover great distances far exceeding what they would be apt to do in a natural wild environment and therefore further protection is often needed, take the gruelling Tevis Cup in the US for example, with barefoot & booted competitors year on year taking the tops spots.

So boots are a reality. A well fitted boot never impedes the natural hoof mechanism. It is neither invasive nor constrictive. It offers support and protection and affordability. In the UK, a full set of shoes ranges on average from £65-£150 (depending upon your location in the country) every 5-6 weeks. In one year alone that can mean a shoeing bill of well over £1200. Boots range from approximately £85-£250 per pair, depending on the make and size and there is also a thriving second hand market too. It doesn’t take a genius therefore to see that booting your horse is way more cost effective than shoeing, with boots lasting many times longer than shoes….years in lots of cases!

This brings me to one of the points of this post. One of the major differences between boots and shoes is that boots can easily be removed, put back on and removed again by the owner whenever they need to. When the horse returns from a ride the boots come off and the hoof is bare. I see so many horses who ride out or work less than 15 hours per week. That means that a vast majority of horses spend 153 hours a week lounging, resting & eating, not being ‘used’ by the human. For barefoot horses that’s 153 hours more contact with the ground than a shod horse in the same amount of work!

So this really brings us on to the third option for our horses feet – shoeing. If we further explore the previous calculations of 153 hours a week for bare horses in contact with the ground, most shod horses spend 100% of their ‘useful’ lives in shoes, changing them for a new set or reset every 5-6 weeks. So that’s 168 hours a week no matter whether they are doing work or not…that equates to 8,736 hours a year with absolutely no natural contact with the ground. The owner of course has no control over taking them on or off, they have to wait until the next visit from the farrier (if they happen to stay on that long and not all owners are conscientious enough to change them as often as they should!).

Nowadays an even more disturbing statistic is starting to arise. Many more horses now than ever before are spending 24/7, 365, year on year out shod…no rest or recuperation for the hoof. Most people who have been around horses for a long time will tell you that they remember a time when shoes used to be removed at least once a year for a significant amount of time to let the horse’s feet recover. Most farriers encouraged this practice and everyone involved agreed it helped the horse ‘last just that little bit longer’ in shoes.

Horses in today’s modern world are often subjected to shoes way before they have fully matured (maturity is approximately around 7 years of age) and are shod ‘back to back’ on just the fronts or increasingly on all four for the rest of their lives, whether they are in work, injured or retired. Even more worryingly now, is the big trend to using remedial shoeing techniques such as heart bar shoes as a ‘preventative’ to problems later on in life…this of course is unfounded and is symptomatic of the backlash to pathology which is wreaking havoc amongst our equines throughout the world. Shoeing ‘back to back’ is something which has become so common that owners are now becoming increasingly afraid of removing their horses shoes for fear of further damage purported by professionals with vested interests and for fear of reprisals from the tongues & prying eyes of their peers!

No-one wants to see a ‘footy’ horse tip-toeing across a yard, especially in front of those criticising eyes. But here is where questions need to be asked. Why is the horse ‘footy’? It is often a complete revelation to owners when they are told that their horse’s temporarily uncomfortable state is not just because they have had their shoes removed but because they have actually worn shoes and had a diet and management regime in the past which has caused the problem and deterioration of the hoof health in the first place (not to mention a myriad of other biomechanical issues – but that’s for another post!).

So, believe it or not, the future is looking brighter now than has ever been before for our equines. Yes there is huge political controversy surrounding barefoot vs shoeing, not least because there is a great deal of money invested in the shoeing industry and all the subsidiary businesses that support it. Yes horses are going lame earlier and are exhibiting more pathology than ever before…BUT and there is a big BUT… those of us committed to the barefoot healthier horse know that we are amongst some of the most forward thinking and innovative members of the equine community today. We are now able more than ever before, to educate ourselves on the whole health of the horse, instead of relying on tradition and convention to ‘see us through’. Barefoot owners are using their new found knowledge to propel the equine industry kicking and screaming into the 21st century and beyond. Turning their backs on old traditions and conventions which are now finally being scrutinised and questioned and gradually eroded.

Mark my words…with barefoot increasing at the rate it is doing today, in the next 10-15 years (or maybe even before) the world will witness a massive swing towards barefoot and booted horses and this will then be seen as the ‘norm’. The shoe, it’s nails and it’s detrimental toll it takes on the hoof and the horse, will be pushed into the annals of history as an interesting stop gap before the world caught up with innovation and educated themselves on the healthy barefoot horse.

Happy exciting barefoot & booted times!

Lindsay, Editor

If you have a horse, you’ve heard of LAMINITIS

Link between diet & laminitis

If you have a horse, you’ve heard of LAMINITIS. It’s a topic we talk about a lot in the magazine and for very good reason. Laminitis and colic are the two main causes of equine demise across the globe.

Whether you have a barefoot or shod horse, laminitis is never far from the minds and concerns of every horse owner I have ever met. We all have a pretty good idea that we mustn’t feed too much grass, or too much sweet feed but do we all know how to recognise those subtle signs of when too much is just too much?

It’s a sad fact that many horses and ponies spend their lives ping ponging in & out of mild to serious discomfort without their owners realising the root cause and how to fix it. If the horse is footy, it’s blamed on poor breeding, weak feet, feet wearing away…rather than something as ‘serious’ as laminitis. Acute laminitis is usually quite easy to spot – horse is stiff, has difficulty moving, is sweating up, might be lying down a lot…and that’s often before anything was ever noticed going on in the feet.

But it’s the low grade chronic symptoms of laminitis which are often missed. Early warning signs not to be ignored, if you only knew what to look for. We listen to professionals who we trust and tell us that “no way your horse is fine it’s not lamintiic, it just has to wear shoes because it’s feet are rubbish AND you’re doing too many miles a week to even be feasible for barefoot”. Well of course many discerning owners know that is simply a fallacy, but how many owners can truly say they know the signs and symptoms of low grade laminitis and what to do about it?

Well here at the BH Mag we offer advice, support, education and real life case studies from specialists at the rock face to owner’s sharing their stories of how they brought their horse back from a dire prognosis.

It’s all here across many issues of the mag. Click on SEARCH at the top of our this website and type in laminitis, you will be shown a list of all the issues where that topic appears…and you can do that for any topic such as NAVICULAR, HOOF BOOTS and DIET, to name but 3.

In Issue 19 we have an excellent article by barefoot specialists Hoofing Marvellous who talk about the link between diet and laminitis, one of THE most important links of all.

So if you are an owner struggling to find out how others coped, here is a link to Issue 19 and don’t forget to do that smart search to find out which other issues the subject of laminitis appears in.

The video below is of a beatufil brave horse called Duncan, who was diagnosed just over a year ago with acute laminitis, was shod and had been out on loan…then things went from bad to worse. NOT one vet believed he could recover, but with faith, determination and the right support, owner Jo & trimmer Emma pulled him through and just look at him today. Read his story in an upcoming issue very soon. The vid is tough to watch at the beginning but just look what happens in the end!

Don’t let laminitis be the end for your horse!

Lindsay, Editor

Can you JUMP your horse BAREFOOT or BOOTED?

Jumping booted

Well the obvious straight answer to us here in the barefoot world is YES! 

But perhaps if you are contemplating taking your horse barefoot, you might be being put off from doing so because you are worried you won’t be able to carry on doing all the fun things you could do (or maybe ‘were’ doing) in shoes.

It is a rather bizarre notion that the completely accepted normal in the horse world is horses wearing shoes (or at least it ‘used’ to be). People shoe their horses because they feel that the shoes will give support, traction, protection and some even believe it gives their horse comfort. Well I’m not going to go into details about the multitude of problems shoes cause in this post, which of course out weigh any potential benefit there might have once been, but rather focus on all the positive examples of owners competing, hacking, trekking, eventing, doing dressage, endurance, western….and of course JUMPING their horses barefoot or booted.

Owners who truly believe that their horse needs shoes for jumping will tell you that it is ‘safer’ for a horse, they will be able to corner with more traction, land better, jump higher….the list goes on…but truly, if you are someone who believes this, then all I can say to you is you have never jumped around a course, whether indoors or outdoors, show jumping, cross country or eventing, on a sound, healthy barefoot horse.

Lets take one example (we have so many examples in the mag), a lady called Holly Coetzee, who jumps her horses regularly in competition, not only barefoot but bitless too. Holly has featured many times in our magazine and is an ambassador for what can truly be achieved with horses who were previously written off as no-hopers, taking them to winning heights over and over. Holly featured on the front of Issue 18 and Issue 14 and says inside:

“My boy was a superstar at the FBMA international showjumping cup in Abu Dhabi….with a clear including the Joker in the 1.10m accumulator class on day one…..Interesting to note we were competing on GRASS with guess what…? NO SHOES!! Every other horse was fully studded up. Food for thought eh?”

Holly sends us regular updates and we have one coming up in Issue 20 out on November 1st (pre-orders available very soon). Holly is just one example of so many owners we feature in the magazine every single issue, who are able to carry on and do more and often far better than ever before, barefoot. Not only is Holly doing well with her own horses, she’s such a shining example that she’s encouraging more to join her and compete alongside her & her horses, all barefoot and mostly bitless!

But what about booted? Can horses jump in boots? Won’t they come off, get in the way, cause the horse to slip, create more problems? Again perhaps the only way to allay all these fears is to feature people who are jumping barefoot in all different kinds of boots and again succeeding. These owners want to shout about it from the rooftops because so many others who think that nothing is better than shoes can’t believe (and often WON’T believe it’s possible).

In issue 15 rider Ingvild Surdal, from Norway, who rides her horse in Equine Fusions in both dressage and eventing tells us how she chose to keep her horses barefoot and booted because she experiences very little in the way of injuries on her horses as well as many other positive benefits, such as improved circulation in the feet which improves overall health of the horse.

Some of you are familiar with one couple we often feature in photos, Carl and his horse Pegasus who jump wearing Cavallo hoof boots…this talented pair prove without a shadow of a doubt that horses who jump in boots have absolutely no problem at all.

If you check out our Competing Update feature which appears in most of our issues (see the contents of each issue on the mag website to find out), you will see lots and lots of examples of owners jumping barefoot and booted, with both horse and rider truly loving what they are doing.

On a final note, Issue 20 as I mentioned earlier is going to be released on November 1st and in this issue we have and interview with 3 ladies all who jump in Scoot hoof boots. Some fabulous pictures and great content, so watch this space for pre-orders to make sure you don’t miss that issue.

And one more final final note…our printed issues are very popular so if you want to be absolutely sure to receive a printed copy of the mag, the best way is to subscribe as you will always have a printed copy reserved for you…ohterwise it’s take your chances or of course alternatively read the mags online – they look awesome on the net too!

Oh…and in Issue 20 we will be giving away a pair of Scoots and a pair of Cavallo’s to two lucky readers – so watch this space for pre-order info coming very soon!

Happy Jumping!

Lindsay, Editor

p.s. here are the links to the issues we have mentioned in this post:

Click here for Issue 14

Click here for Issue 15

Click here for Issue 18