Another excerpt from Dr. Thomas Teskey’s – Breaking Traditions: A Veterinary Medical and Ethical Perspective On the Modern Day Usage of Steel Horseshoes
Reaching our destinations with our horses…our partners…
So in spite of the resistance meet, I am dedicated to help with the “wake up call”. I feel that farriers and veterinarians and trainers and horse people everywhere must learn the truth and tell their clients, friends, and colleagues that shoeing horses damages them and robs them of years of their lives. I want everyone to know that steel on a horse’s hoof is not acceptable. It is the horses that especially want and need this knowledge to become mainstream.
I particularly want farriers to learn the truth and then be held accountable for the damage they cause if they fail to inform their clients that shoeing is not necessary. They need to learn what is going on inside the horse’s foot and learn how to trim a foot to achieve a healthy hoof form. They need to help educate horse owners who relay on them for guidance about how to help their horses become healthier and more serviceable for a longer time, through better hoof care. They need to know about and talk-up the judicious use of hoof boots so owners know they have a way to provide real hoof protection without damaging their horses’ feet. Farriers are important professionals in the equine world and horses and stewards count on them.
Farriers are in the ideal position to learn about proper, natural hoof form and function: they have the clientele with horses, the love for the horses and they know how to use hoof trimming tools. What more is needed is the willingness and the dedication to study more thoroughly and apply more carefully the natural hoof trim, and learn to counsel their clients on more natural means of horse care and management-getting horses out of stalls, feeding them fewer rich foods and more grass in their diet, and letting horses be together in herds where they naturally belong. For a farrier, retiring the anvil and hanging up the hammer leads to being part of an inevitable change for the better and championing a noble cause, and they can rest assured that what they will be doing is founded on solid knowledge gained from careful study of the biology and physiology of the horse.
Farriers, if you let people know that you are dedicated to the welfare of the horse, you will reap great rewards. The monetary rewards will still be there, in fact they’ll probably be even better, and with less strenuous work; good people everywhere will be more than happy and willing to pay for proper trimming and guidance in keeping their horses healthy, and if you become knowledgeable and practiced enough, you will be able to save the lives of many laminitic horses others ailing from hoof problems that would not be able to heal if they were treated only with conventional methods, such as so-called “therapeutic” shoeing. Money aside, the personal rewards are terrific.
“Barefoot-friendly” veterinarians are a rare breed, too; more are very badly needed. As of now, in a huge percentage of equine veterinary schools and clinics the world over, the highly effective therapy of natural lifestyle and the natural barefoot trim are not even mentioned as treatment options for lame and foundered horses. This is highly unacceptable and is a disservice to the horses we love. It is an omission that serves the egos of those who use horses as tools, rather than as the companion animals that serve us so willingly.
As time goes by, veterinarians and other equine professionals will be unable to ignore the mountain of clinical and scientific data related to the harm done by the use of the horse shoe, and the astounding benefits of natural lifestyle and natural hoof form. A few all ready accept this, and yet there are those that can not help but prescribe driving nails in to the hands of horses even after being told that what they are doing is causing damage. Whether from ignorant stubbornness or an addiction to working with steel or whatever the reasons, they will be held accountable if they continue once this knowledge becomes more widespread.
There will be more and more veterinarians picking up on this and the horses of the world are going to be healthier, happier, and more serviceable than ever. We will look at the horses in the future and see them as the magnificent specimens of power that they are. Seeing one with steel plates nailed to its feet will draw criticism from those that know better and who respect and love the horse.