Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Hoofcare - simple or complex?

I thought this was such a perfect quote when talking about hooves that I asked for a translation of it into Polish so I could use it when we were there.  Unfortunately that was one of the slides which got chewed up when I transferred the presentations to another computer so it never made it to the big screen, but at least I can put it up here now.
The Polish version was left behind on someone else's Mac, but thanks to Wiola, I can now say it in Polish as well :-)

"Wszystko powinno być tak proste, jak to tylko możliwe, ale nie prostsze"

This quote is enormously relevant to horses, their hooves and their overall health - why?  Because in some ways its all very, very simple, and in other ways its extremely complicated.  The tricky thing sometimes is working out which bits are which.

I have no patience with people who try to "mystify" what they do with horses - whether its training, feeding, hoofcare or anything else - because often, making things more complicated is a way of confusing people and keeping control.   But equally, there is no point trying to over-simplify, because done wrong that can be disastrous.

In the end, its about honesty, I suppose and - as always - about coming back to the horse, rather than the "expert" to test the validity of what we are being told.

When we were talking about hooves in Poland, we were constantly using reference points from basic anatomy, basic biomechanics and basic physiology.  For hoofcare, these are the "home truths" on which everything else has to be built and, at some level, an understanding of them is essential for owners, trimmers and farriers.  

In simple terms, if we don't understand, or try to ignore, these home truths then whatever we are trying to do with our horses - whether trimming or shoeing, feeding, competing, rehabilitating or breeding - is likely (at worst) to fail or (at best) be less successful than it could be because everything about the horse is evolved in response to - and depends on - its anatomy, biomechanics and physiology.

In many ways, then, hoofcare is very simple.  You need the horse's hoof to function in a way that is appropriate for its movement (what we define as "hoof balance") and you need the horse's metabolism to be healthy enough to grow and repair its hooves throughout its life.

The tricky thing is that you can't make it simpler than that.  You can't say: "Feed this supplement and your horse will have healthy hooves"; you can't say "Trim a horse this way and it will have healthy hooves".   Why?  Because that supplement may (or may not) be what that horse's metabolism needs, and that trim may (or may not) enhance and support that horse's hoof balance and hoof function.

Its as simple as correct anatomy, correct biomechanics and correct physiology.  But no simpler...

5 comments:

Barbara said...

"I have no patience with people who try to "mystify" what they do with horses - whether its training, feeding, hoofcare or anything else - because often, making things more complicated is a way of confusing people and keeping control."

I can rant for pages about this and you said it so simply. May I borrow that. I am also going to send some people to this page.
In this country anyway, there are way too many people who have acquired a horse and a DVD and think all knowledge comes from the DVD. Ask the horse. Excellent post.

Nic Barker said...

Thanks, Barbara, and of course delighted for you to use it :-)

Wiola said...

"Wszystko powinno być tak proste, jak to tylko możliwe, ale nie prostsze.

Albert Einstein"

Nic Barker said...

Wiola, thank you :-) Fantastic!

Val said...

Love it!