Saturday, 18 April 2009

Common hoof misconceptions...

...there are lots of visitors down on Exmoor at the moment, and the ones I encounter are generally down with their horses from other parts of the country where hunting has finished. 

Generally they are also from parts of the country where there aren't as many barefoot horses hunting as there are down here :-)  *

Now, I am always happy to chat about hooves -  in fact I am a complete hoof bore given half the chance - but I am well aware that for most people, barefoot horses are just an oddity so I do try not to speak until I am spoken to...

...there is no doubt, though, that its always the same questions that crop up, time and again.  Its lovely now, compared to 5 seasons ago, because people are much more interested than they used to be, but there are still a lot of misconceptions out there.  Here are the most common ones (!):

"It must be OK because you don't do roadwork" 

I usually just nod and smile, and wait for the dawning confusion as they watch us belting down the road.  A classic was a friend-of-a-friend who had been telling me that his horses needed shoes because they did so much roadwork.  He spent the day watching Felix and Hector on the roads and apparently said after a few hours, in some bewilderment "...but they should be lame by now..."

"How long does it take for their feet to harden up?"

This is a classic, typically from people who know a little bit about barefoot and have heard that horses need to "transition" to stony surfaces.  Of course the point is that horses with healthy feet can already cope with stony surfaces - so if they can't, you know that they have unhealthy feet...

"Its all about how you trim the feet, isn't it?"

Again, normally from people who are interested in barefoot and have heard about "barefoot trimming".  Its often hard for people to understand that creating a healthy hoof is mostly about nutrition and environment until they have seen it in action.  

"I wish I could just take the shoes off my horse - it would save me loads of money"

Definitely a "just smile!" comment... :-)

"How do they go over flints without their feet being cut to pieces?"

Ummm... the same way as the shod horses :-)   

* Honourable mentions go to Cheshire and Cornwall, where I know there are definitely horses regularly hunting barefoot!


kellywelly said...

Even I get the same...... people say to me, well its okay really as Dexter just gets ridden on Dartmoor there is no need to go on the road!

This blog made me laugh loads, thanks as been trying to do uni work all night!

Nic Barker said...

LOL! Do you remember Dexter doing extended trot along the road at Liphook, just to prove he was fully recovered?! Hope your essay crisis is improving :-)

cptrayes said...

Ah Cheshire - that must be Jazz and me then. The stares and questions got bigger as the season went on - "still shoeless????" "out AGAIN with no shoes on??????" I think they got it by the end of March, beginning April :-))))


kellywelly said...

they could even believe dex was being ridden let alone trotting! dissertation is horrible but I am getting there! xx