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Barffooters who choose to *make* horses lame; how could this possibly be "natural"?

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  • Barffooters who choose to *make* horses lame; how could this possibly be "natural"?

    This has probably been discussed before, but I am haunted by what I saw.

    Saw some horses the other day. They were labeled "Natural Barefoot" and Natural Horsemanship (that part I don't really have a problem with). Their hooves were whittled down to nothing. They were LAME on the soft footing of their indoor arena. I am talking foot sore on all fours. To ride them or take them outside, the people have to apply hoof boots (I own some hoof boots, but don't need them. My horses are sound.). If they were that lame on the soft arena footing, I really can't imagine how sound they'd be with pancake flat, short feet strapped in rubber boots.

    So they are trying to model these feet after wild horses, right? The the domesticated horse just ain't a wild horse! Wild horses wear their hooves down; their feet are not butchered by man. If horses in the wild was lame like these man-made created lame horses; he would not survive! He would be eaten. And that would be NATURAL.

    Tell me, just how "natural" is it to purposely inflict pain upon a horse? Isn't that considered horse abuse - premeditated inducement of pain? After all, they PLANNED to trim the hooves that way. They said the horses would eventually be used to it. I asked about the flat as a pancake soles, the redish white line, they said they eventually be used to it. So, the horse's will eventually be used to living in pain? I don't think so!

    I told my father (old time farm boy from North Dakota) about this; he was appauled, and rightfully so!! He said, "You might as well just twist my arm till it breaks, and then slap a cast on it!". He is right. I said, "Or go to the dentist and have him file down your teeth until the nerve is practically exposed, and then be force-fed hot and cold foods!". Same thing.

    But don't get me wrong; I have barefoot horses. I am a barefoot believer. I am a shod horse believer, too. What I don't believe in is purposely torturing horses. That. Is. Wrong. Most of my herd is barefoot, except for some competition horses who usually wear shoes. Shoes are often pulled in the Winter. Regardless, they are ALL SOUND, barefoot or shod. They gallop my hard Summer pastures SOUND. They trot or gallop on my 1/4 minus gravel (some areas a little bigger gravel) - SOUND. Now this, I consider to be natural; sound happy horses, the way nature intended them to be: emphasis on sound! However, I don't have to label it that way; it just is. They are "naturally" sound; with or without shoes. Mine are "just" horses. Healthy. Horses. Sound. Horses.

    OK. Can anyone out there knock some sense into my somewhat logical head, and help me understand how this can possibly be "NATURAL"?

  • #2
    It's simple. Some people don't understand hoof form, structure or function. They just read something and mimic it.

    Same can be said about anything. Good, bad and idiots.


    • Original Poster

      Curious if PETA or similar is on to people involved in this trend; this cruel movement?

      They call themselves horse lovers, yet they continually hurt them!


      • #4
        When people call me a "natural trimmer", I say there is nothing natural about using nippers and rasp on hooves. If you want "natural trims", work them on an abrasive surface, enough to keep the hoof worn down.

        There is nothing good about what you describe, either. Trimmer and owner are in error. I sure hope they don't founder the horses before they learn to do better. Sounds like the horses are already foundering, though. Or at the very least, laminitic.
        "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


        • #5
          Hey, I like the "barffooters" in the title. That sounds like a pretty accurate description of the perpetrators.
          "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


          • Original Poster

            Mean people suck and make me wanna barf!

            Oops! I didn't see my error! I think I'll leave it, though. Mean people suck and make me wanna BARF! Actually, between this thread and the other thread about Two Socks, I am feeling rather queasey!!


            • Original Poster

              This time of year, my horses are practically self trimming. I just need to touch them up with a rasp for the most part.


              • #8
                Makes ya want to rip the toenails off of the perpetrators and tell them they'll get used to it. Not that I condone torture, but one can dream.

                I think that if I ever taught a trimming clinic, I'd bring a box of shoes and make everybody wear the wrong size and then have them do an obstacle course. That way they can learn what it feels like to have too long a shoe (long toes, low heels, too long between trims/resets), to small a shoe (short shod, over trimmed), or how it feels to be asked for athleticism in too high a heel. Luckily, I don't plan to do any clinics, since I'm not "all that," and a worse teacher.
                "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                • #9
                  That is so sad.

                  And of course, it will turn a whole lot of people off letting their horses be barefoot, even if they would do great. And who can blame them. Those sort of people usually are quite vocal about the whole thing.

                  I agree w/Matry, I don't particularly like being called a "natural" trimmer. Just trimmer will do, thank you very much.
                  "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                  • #10
                    I am not a capital B barefoot person. I think shoes have their place.

                    I took on a neglect case nearly two weeks ago with flippers. I trimmed the crap out of him. Some watching said "OMG, he's going to be LAME!!!!"

                    24 hours later, he was running and bucking in the field and I was getting calls to do more horses.

                    Not all Barefoot or barefoot trimmers

                    There is no reason...NO GOOD REASON to leave a horse sore. Period. Does it happen sometimes? yes. But it's not okay and it's not the norm. If a horse ends up sore it's because A) we screwed up B) there was a fluke issue. Then you CORRECT IT. It's not okay to leave a horse worse off than you found it.

                    It's not anything Natural or capital B Barefoot to leave a horse in pain. That is NOT a professional. IMHO of course.
                    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
                      ...I took on a neglect case nearly two weeks ago with flippers. I trimmed the crap out of him. Some watching said "OMG, he's going to be LAME!!!!"

                      24 hours later, he was running and bucking in the field and I was getting calls to do more horses...
                      Did this with a neglected pony who was lying down more than he was on his feet. When I went out 3 weeks later I had a hard time catching him because he was running and bucking. The first time I did him, he'd hold up the next foot for me, each in turn. The next time? Didn't have time for me to mess around with his feet when he'd rather be out running around.
                      "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                      • #12
                        If I have a horse to trim who has some pretty bad cracks that if I would trim a little too short just this once, I could be rid of the cracks -- I'll ask the owner how hard they figure to be riding in then next few days, and if the answer is "not very", I ask if they want me to go ahead and get rid of the cracks, knowing that it MIGHT make the horse a little sore in the short term.

                        But I mean "sore" as in "might be a little ouchy on gravel or pavement but should be fine on grass or soft arena" -- not hobbling around like a cripple. And it should only be for a couple of days. Cracks tend to want to keep cracking, and if the opportunity arises to get rid of them, a few ouchy days on a nearly idle horse might be worth it. Especially when you know the owner isn't all that bound to a trimming schedule and it might be "overdue" when the next call to trim it comes...


                        • Original Poster

                          A very wise person (you know who are) PM'd me and pointed out about BarfFooters and soundness vs hoof form. Interesting that they are more concerned about form as opposed to soundness. It should be the other way around; soundness first, hoof form second.

                          Is The BarfFoot Movement a catch all for all of the looney horse-illiterate, lack-of-common-sense humans out there?

                          (boy wouldn't I LOVE to file their toenails past the quick and make them go walk the streets of L.A. or climb mountains with heavy backpacks on their backs all day long?). MFers.


                          • #14
                            Not all capital B Barefooters are that way though.

                            I think in fact that anyone who is truly "into" it understands that it is about FUNCTION. If you leave a lame horse in your wake, you're not doing much for function. Movement is a cornerstone to healing. If the horse is so sore that it can't move, you just botched a job.

                            Accidents happen. But anyone who tells you that's "normal"????they're fruitloop outer limits.

                            ETA: soundness doesn't always equate to a good trim either. Lots of horses are quite stoic and will amble around on crappo feet. I don't find that soundness is a measurement to be used alone. Balance counts. form counts. Function counts. soundness counts. None are taken independently IMHO.
                            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                            Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Fantastic View Post
                              Is The BarfFoot Movement a catch all for all of the looney horse-illiterate, lack-of-common-sense humans out there?
                              That's the scary part that I don't understand. I have met some barf-foot trimmers who are, in every other regard OTHER than trimming, excellent horsepeople. How one can be so "with it" regarding nutrition, pasture management, groundwork and under-saddle training, etc. while letting one's horse run around in excruciating pain...I still haven't quite figured that one out. As I see it, excellent horsemanship begins with a Hippocratic-like oath to "first do no harm, at least not intentionally".
                              Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                              • #16
                                It's like Parelli kool-aid, guys.

                                there is no one right answer. And if you can't accept that? You are going to really screw up at some point and not take responsibility because you're EMOTIONALLY invested.

                                I bet you I could trim 100 horses and not have one take a lame step. The 101st though might. And then it's on ME. Most folks don't wan to take that responsibility. They perceive it as a discredit to the METHOD. It's not.

                                If you touched the foot, it's on YOU. not the method.
                                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                                • #17
                                  Ditto what LMH, matryoska and Eqtrainer said pretty much. I'm a trimmer...not a "natural" trimmer or fanatic otherwise. I've had a local vet label me a "therapeutic trimmer"...and I kind of like that title as it does describe what I do a lot...fix feet and problems via a trim and sometimes that is the best way to help a horse. Sometimes it isn't and I'm ok with that.

                                  I've told people to keep shoes on their horses and even suggested to a few people to use them. I'm all about doing the best thing for the horse and I'd be very upset to see one of my client's horses that sore that it could barely walk and know that I did it.

                                  I'm upset to she horses badly shod also...and I see that a lot...saw a couple today that made me wince...shoe too small and placed way up under the front of the hoof with no heel support. Saw another horse with bad founder shod with no support under the coffin bone...just a rim shoe...that probably won't end well...horse was very lame and could barely walk. Bad work is bad work regardless of what the hoof care provider chooses to call themselves and their work.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Fantastic View Post
                                    ...Is The BarfFoot Movement a catch all for all of the looney horse-illiterate, lack-of-common-sense humans out there?...
                                    This profession does seem to attract the loonies. Myself included.

                                    I LOVE calling them barf-footers instead of BUA!
                                    "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                                    • #19
                                      Isn't that considered horse abuse - premeditated inducement of pain? After all, they PLANNED to trim the hooves that way.
                                      Its certainly considered abuse over here in the UK, and a few years ago a number of people who practised invasive trimming were successfully prosecuted for animal cruelty.

                                      The benchmark of a healthy hoof is soundness and performance, in my opinion.



                                      • #20
                                        Bad work is bad work regardless of what the hoof care provider chooses to call themselves and their work.

                                        Well said. I use a trimmer, versus a farrier, and I've certainly never had a horse sore after a trim. My trimmer has been working on my neighbor's old horse who hadn't been trimmed in four years, and she was so much comfier after the first trim and has gotten better and better with each visit. We're six months in w/ her, and it looks like in about another four, she'll have a healthy hoof grown in. I don't think you can blame an awful trim on the barefoot movement, anymore than you can say one horrible shoeing job means that all shoeing is evil.