What You Need To Know and Do, To Provide The Best Horse Hoof Care Possible.

Proper horse hoof care is essential to good horse health. I'm sure you've heard the expression "No Foot No Horse" or maybe not. Anyway, I'd say the expression isn't too far from the truth. Unfortunately, poorly trimmed, shod or neglected horses feet are something we've all seen. The best horse hoof care involves more than just the Bare Foot Trim. If you want to build the strongest, healthiest foot possible and allow your horse to perform at his peak follow all four hoof care practices listed on this page.

Horse standing of hind legs in snow storm

1. Bare Foot Trim ( click here to learn the steps of the Bare Foot Trim)

2. Horse nutrition is extremely important for horse hoof care (click here to learn about specific horse nutrition). In general, horses are healthiest when allowed to graze naturally for their feed. If pasture is not available good hay is the next best thing. Most horses are overfeed and under worked (much like myself) and an overweight horse cannot perform at his potential. In addition, horses that are overweight often suffer many lameness issues directly related to being overweight. Keep your horse near his ideal weight, and unlock his potential! I believe, the two most important things YOU can do for your horse's health is keep him at his ideal weight and keep his feet trimmed properly.

3. Your horse needs to have movement or exercise everyday. Free movement as part of a herd of horses is best. Moving several miles a day, interacting and grazing with a herd of horses is ideal for your horse's health, as well as, horse hoof care. Horses are very social animals by nature, if we take away their ability to be part of a herd, they do miss it. (Healthy hooves and healthy horses go together. You can't have one without the other.)

4. Horses need to be able to move over natural or uncultivated ground to build the strongest hooves. Natural horse hoof care works best if your horse routinely travels uneven slopes, gravel, rocks etc. are all good for building strong hooves and horses. Relatively dry ground is much better than wet ground. Horse hooves weaken when they stay moist over long periods of time. Dry, rocky, uneven ground is best for building strong functional horse hooves. (Horse hooves do need some moisture and in dry pastures often the water trough is allowed to overflow to create a muddy area where the horses hooves can absorb some moisture when the horses come to water.)

Horses on dry grass pasture

The premise behind natural horse care and natural hoof care is.. wild horses living free in their natural environments live relatively healthy lives and grow strong without the help (or interference) of man. That's not to say that their lives aren't hard and unforgiving.

The closer we as horse owners can come to providing or mimicking the natural (wild horse) environment for our domestic horses, the less lameness in our horses we will see. The further we are from providing these natural conditions for our horses the more work we will have to do to keep our horses healthy. It's really that simple. Horses and their hooves take care of themselves in ideal conditions (traveling 10 to 20 miles a day over rocky, dry, uneven terrain). Unfortunately, most of us cannot provide natural ideal living conditions for our horses. So, our next best alternative is to create or build the “natural like” pastures or paddocks for our domestic horses. Read Jamie Jackson's Paddock Paradise for some really good information on creating healthy paddocks.

I think we as horse owners often “care too much” for our horses and make life too easy for them. Out of our love for them we leave them on green pasture too long, feed them too much grain, and make them work too little. By providing an “easy” life for them we also make them sick and lame. Instead..feed them just enough, give them a place to exercise, let them be with other horses, keep their feet trimmed and watch them come alive!

How does Bare Foot Hoof Care compare to Shoeing your horses? Learn what the difference is for your horse's health. Click here to find out.

Want to learn more about the Natural Hoof Trim, what it is and why it's important? If so, click here.

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bare foot horses