I have been involved with barefoot horse for over ten years now and I am still on a road of discovery.
In that time I have had the good fortune to have worked with many different horses, and it is this variety of horses that has driven many of the concepts that I now hold.
From those first few horses that I started with I have had the strong belief that I was not just working on the foot but the horse as a whole. I used to say that barefoot was 70% diet, 20% exercise and 10% trim and still hold to this for most horses with healthy feet. However I hold the concept of the adaptive foot most dear. This forms one of the cornerstones of the way I work, and I know that sometimes the trim outweighs all else.
I also know that time is very important when dealing with the transition of any foot especially where the soft tissue structures within the foot are badly compromised. The importance of these structures are not widely know and can get overlooked as the hoof wall and sole get top billing. When you consider that in a healthy foot, around 70% of its volume is made up of soft tissue, its importance becomes clearer.
I have been lucky enough to work with a group of classically trained stallions and their owner (one of the country’s leading trainers) and learn just how the foot can effect everything from balance, to muscling, and how, over four years, their trim has improved their soundness and movement.
I have been working with a number of horses with shoulder and back problems and have been able to rebalance their muscling to great effect. This does take time but has proved to be well worth it.
I have a quite relaxed approached to working with horses and mostly they tend to relax and doze while I am working. I like to work with foals and yearlings and have found my quiet approach a good way to start their hoofcare experience. It is important to start young horse’s feet in the right way just as you would take care with a child. There are some conformation issues that can be improved or prevented with correct hoofcare at an early age.
I have worked with horses that have conditions such as E.M.S, Equine Storage Myopathy and Cushings. Many of these conditions affect the foot directly and I have been able to help keep the horses sound or at least help them through tough spots when they occur.
Laminitis is a big subject and has many trigger points; diet is the most common and best known.
I have worked with some truly terrible looking feet where I have felt too embarrassed to take pictures, particularly when it hasn’t been the current owners fault.
You won’t find lots of pictures of horses feet on my web site as I find pictures in themselves too often can be misleading or uninformative, it’s the story behind the foot that is important to understand, not just the foot.
I love talking about the equine foot so if you have any questions you would like me to answer please drop me a line and I will answer as soon as I am able
Devon, Somerset may travel to other counties of South West if time and distance allows.
© Copyright 2016 Clive Ponsford