Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 15

Well, my journey into barefoot horses has officially begun; I had the shoer (who came for Col) take off Little Love's back shoes this morning.  My plan is to take off the hind shoes first, see how it goes and then take off the fronts a bit later.  I don't have a definite schedule, but hoping to have all this happen in the near future, depending a bit on the weather.  Of course luck has it that at the moment the weather is not on my side, it was really really cold this morning and the ground is frozen (read: rock hard).  It's also really dry, which is not helpful.  I have to figure out a soaking method for the feet which won't be an easy task as Lilo hates water on her back legs to begin with.  It will take some training to have her stay in water/have on soaking boots (or any boots for that matter).  But, I have faith in the clicker... 

I went back in the late afternoon to take the horses in.  Luckily the sun had warmed up half of the outdoor arena and it was soft enough to walk in.  I hand walked Little Love for almost 30 minutes, just to give her hooves some extra blood circulation.  Tomorrow I'll be walking her more as well as trying to do some soaking.  I also have to bring the camera and take pictures of the hooves so I can send them to my friend Claudia in the US (she's the specialist :-).  Then the next step is to find a decent trimmer, which is not going to be easy.  I'll keep you posted!


  1. In case you haven't already found it, I highly recommend that anyone interested in keeping their horses barefoot read this page:

    What are you soaking for?

  2. Hi smazourek, thanks for the link, I checked it out, it had some good basic information about the barefoot horse.
    I took a 30 week theory course on hoof anatomy and barefoot issues, so I'm not going into this completely without knowledge (it's interesting that I took the course way before I became Little Love's owner and had no idea I would be her owner, and here I am now, using that knowledge. The universe sometimes does that to us, prepares us in advance for things to come...). Anyways, having closely followed a few of my friends take the shoes off their horses, I have some idea what to expect. Although it is sometimes easier to watch it as an "outsider" than the horse-owner... :-)
    I soak when the environment is really dry, because it helps the hoof become more elastic (and thus expand, as Lilo's hooves are contracted from the shoes). There are scientific studies that say the soaking doesn't add any moisture to the hoof, but I have seen sore horses become less sore and start moving due to soaking, so I figure it can't hurt. It is often recommended by trimmers.
    Are your horses barefoot?

  3. I've never heard that about soaking before, though it makes sense. I'll have to look into it. Wow, a 30 week theory course, I wish I had one of those nearby.

    Yes, my horses are barefoot and I've been trimming them myself since last June. I think I'm fortunate because my horses have never had shoes on, except that it's because they were very neglected before I got them and basically hadn't had any hoof care at all. Learning about hooves has been a part time job for me in the past couple months :)

  4. You can take the hoof course ONLINE! It's actually really brilliant, I learned so much about anatomy, physiology, hoof function, different contractions and how to go about fixing them, nutrition etc etc. Go to and look around, Claudia has courses online all the time. In fact, I think she just started a new one. You could still join and get the lectures you missed online. My next step is learning how to trim, which will happen in April. Well, at least the basics...