Monday, 18 January 2010

"Trim every 2 weeks"...!

I have to say, I am not surprised that lots of horseowners are either utterly confused by barefoot or think its practised exclusively by total whackos - if all I knew about barefoot was what I could read on the internet, I would be absolutely convinced of it :-0

Its SO easy for someone to put up a nice-looking website and spout a load of complete twaddle - and if I sound a bit riled about this, its because some of it is not just misguided but actually dangerous. You can't see the author in person (so you can't tell if their head really is spinning round and they are foaming at the mouth); you can't see their environment (so you can't tell if they have driven their entire families to leave home or alternatively have been living in a parallel universe for some years); you can't see their horses (which may or may not be as lame as dogs, wild-eyed and screaming in their own horsey way "please get us out of here").

All you can see is the website, with lovely pictures and plausible-sounding words.

I came across a corker a year or so ago, and re-visited it the other day because Sarah B had also come across it, and rang me to say "Good grief have you seen this?!!!".

Its a classic - looks nice and happy, if a bit commercial and hard-sell, has some photos of horses mooching about and the words "natural" and "barefoot" crop up all over the place...Which is fine until you see that this person is advocating that the best way to keep a barefoot horse is to trim the heck out of it - not just every 1 to 2 weeks (and for goodness sake, keep those pesky professionals away from your horse - they may be insured and have had years of experience but really, what do they know?) but with power tools every 1 to 2 weeks!!

I don't think I've read anything as way off-beam for ages, but even though I know this is bonkers, part of me is still intrigued with how someone who says that they work their horses could find anything which could usefully be trimmed that frequently. The only horses I can think of where a 2 week trim could even be remotely beneficial are severe laminitics - and even then I would be far more concerned about finding out whats the cause of the laminitis rather than trying to trim away the evidence.

In fact the only horses I've ever come across personally who were trimmed that regularly were under a Strasser trimmer and were fairly crippled. Sort out their diet, leave them well alone in terms of trimming - no more than every 6 weeks - and build in exercise once they were comfortable, and they became happy, sound barefoot horses.

As far as my own or my clients' horses are concerned, there is not a single one who I would trim every 2 weeks, and most do very well on 6-8 weeks between trims. One or two are very special cases, and go even longer ;-)

Of course there are some very competent owners out there who trim their own horses...BUT the ones I know (who have the performance horses to prove it) have devoted months or years to learning how to do so, and are extremely conservative in what they do. More importantly, they recognise that the trim is only one small part of barefoot performance and (just like farriers and trimmers who do this for a living!) they tend not to go around advising people over the internet on how to trim, because they realise that its a little bit more complicated than that(!).

Sorry for the rant, chaps, but there are some things which just aren't amusing...

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