Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Frequently asked questions

We talked a lot between ourselves yesterday about YHL, and as it was our first time at that sort of event, we were focussing on how we would improve our stand and make our information even more accessible to people in future.

Looking back, the majority of the people who visited us came because they had problems that they wanted help with - horses which were already "barefoot" (ie had had their shoes taken off) but which were footy, or horses newly out of shoes where the owners needed guidance about what to do next.

Then there were the lame horses, some with formal diagnoses, others where owners felt they just weren't quite right, navicular horses, laminitic horses and horses with poor foot and limb balance.

A lot of the problems were feed-related - horses out at grass 24/7, many being fed commercial feeds which we know cause problems (that was a tricky one as all the big feed companies had HUGE stands and were doing a roaring trade handing out samples!) and many more who were fed either no minerals or inorganic minerals which weren't providing what the horses needed.

We also had a fair crop of people who wanted to know what horses could actually do barefoot - did they need to shoe for roadwork, did they need studs to event and so on, and we were glad that we had such great footage running all day, demonstrating exactly how well horses shock absorb on the roads barefoot :-)

The final crop of queries was from people who had horses who "couldn't go barefoot" because they had such terrible hooves, and again it was great to have lots of photos showing how dynamic hooves are, strengthening and improving, often over relatively short periods of time.

I think many people also expected to have a barefoot vs shoes debate, and were surprised when we explained that shoes were often the most practical option, and that good diet and environment would improve shod as well as bare hooves.

One of the best quotes of the weekend came from someone who was talking to Harry Johnson about "Feet first" and flicking through the book. She looked at him very quizzically and said "So, let me get this right - your dad is a farrier but now he does this?". "Yup" said Harry, and smiled :-)

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