Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Celery - it could be your horse's best friend

For some of you this blog post may be a blast from the past - its over 6 years since I first blogged about celery (or to give it the full title: Why its better not to let a farrier or trimmer near your horse with anything sharper than a stick of celery).

Back then I also posted about the numbers of horses whose soundness was impaired by trimming and who were measurably sounder when allowed to manage their own hooves instead.

There have been a number of other posts about celery since then so feel free to search for them if you are interested in catching up :-)

I hoped I wouldn't need to write more celery posts and its been good to see more and more people experimenting with allowing their horses to self-maintain, something which becomes even more important if you have a horse who is recovering from injury and who may need asymmetric hooves to provide essential support.

However, it seems to be time for a new celery post because poor trimming has become an increasingly common problem once more.  I have been told of several horses who have been lamed by poor trims - some by "qualified" farriers, some by "qualified" trimmers - and I am also seeing more reports online of horses being footy after trims. There also seem to be lots of "methods" of trimming being taught over the internet, usually using only photos and ignoring how the horse is moving. These tend to feature an aggressive approach which requires hooves to be trimmed to a template and removing all "flare", something which will render many horses unsound.

The reason for this post is very simple: to ask owners to stand up for their horses and never to be bullied into having your horse trimmed if it is to the detriment of his soundness. There are lots of "hoof experts" out there but the only one worth listening to is your horse.

I'll finish with something I posted back in 2011:

"If you decide to have your horse trimmed there is a way to work out whether your horse "needed" a trim - and its really pretty simple:

If the horse is moving better, more capably, more confidently, with a better stride length, over tougher surfaces after a trim, then it was the right thing to do.  

If the horse is moving better, more confidently, with a better stride length, over tougher surfaces when he is left well alone, then stick to celery. 

There is NO reason to trim unless to make the horse sounder, and if the best way to make the horse sounder is NOT to trim, well then, embrace your celery."


Katharine Lark Chrisley said...

We've had horses come here after all manner of contraptions & types of trims trying to get them sound... when we leave them barefoot to just let the hooves shape themselves how they need to be, the horses get better. We've had trimmers shape hooves how they thought they should "look" and we've lost a mare to torn tendons and had a gelding founder... SO often, the trim makes them worse... my Mum called it "healthy neglect" meaning do not overdo everything. I love what you wrote here!!! Thank you,

Nic Barker said...

Love it Katharine! There are more of us than people realise :-)