When someone sees the sign on the side of my car advertising “Natural Hoof Care” they ask me what that means. For the average person, I explain “You know how a farrier puts shoes on a horse? I am a barefoot trimmer and specialize in un-shoeing a horse.” I guess it’s time to change my answer.
According to Wikipedia, a farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care, including the trimming and balancing of horses’ hooves and the placing of shoes on their hooves, if necessary. A farrier combines some blacksmith‘s skills (fabricating, adapting, and adjusting metal shoes) with some veterinarian‘s skills (knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the lower limb) to care for horses’ feet.
Before anyone gets too upset, let me explain. I firmly believe that horses should be barefoot. I have also previously stated I would not turn to shoes unless I met a horse I was convinced couldn’t be helped without them. Well, I’ve met that horse. At the same time, I have been closely following the development and release of the Easy Shoe from Easy Care. It is similar to the Epona that some of you may have heard of before. This is essentially a plastic shoe that is designed to be glued or nailed on. At this point, I am only planning to offer Easy Shoes as a glue on option. Specifically, I plan to use the Easy Shoe Performance and the Easy Shoe Sport. Here is a good article comparing Easy Shoes and Boots http://blog.easycareinc.com/blog/bootlegging/easyboots-or-easyshoes-yes
So why would I make this change? There are a number of scenarios when people choose to shoe a horse instead of boot a horse. In years past, I showed King in dressage at Falls Creek Farm. Boots are not allowed in dressage and if I rode him on the gravel roads between the warm up arena and show ring, he would occasionally take those wincing steps. His feet couldn’t handle the gravel, which is why he gets boots on the trails. Easy shoes solve that issue. Another example is the horse who needs 24/7 protection due to laminitis or founder recovery, but destroys the boots out of boredom.
The initial reports are that these shoes last a full 6 weeks when glued on correctly and still allow a hoof to function as it should. Because this isn’t a completely rigid metal shoe nailed to the hoof, it still allows the hoof to flex. Since I will only be gluing the shoes, if you are interested, you must have a clean, dry area for me to work on the hooves. At my farm, that means I will be shoeing in the garage since our barn floor is dirt.
As I have stated before, I won’t sell something I haven’t used. So, as soon as my first order of shoes arrive, I’ll be gluing up the hooves of King and Calli. Glue on shoes will be $65 plus the cost of the trim. If you are interested in having shoes glued on the next time I come out, please email me so I can make sure I will have shoes in the correct size and plan for the time required.