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Creating More Problems in the Whole Horse…

More from Dr. Thomas Teskey’s – Breaking Traditions: A Veterinary Medical and Ethical Perspective On the Modern Day Usage of Steel Horseshoes

One of the greatest damages that occurs because of the application of steel shoes to the horse’s hoof is the greatly reduced circulation within the hoof, and the diminished return of blood back up toward the heart through the veins of the lower leg. Shoes interfere with the hoof’s natural blood-pumping mechanism. The natural hoof expands and contracts with each step, letting blood in as it spreads upon impact with the ground, and squeezing blood up and out of the hoof as it contracts when it is not bearing weight. If this sounds familiar, like the blood pumping mechanism of a heart, that’s because it is–natural hooves perform a critical function as supplementary “hearts”. This vital heart-like mechanism is greatly restricted by immobilizing the hoof with steel shoes.

I have read that the horses hoof “pumps much more blood than it needs to perform it’s functions”, thus the amount of lost circulation due to nailing a steel shoe on it is of no consequence. Now, what kind of retarded excuse is this that justifies the use of the steel shoe? Why was a hoof designed over such a monumental amount of time–to assist circulation to the degree it does, so that man would be able to nail a rim of steel to it? Such a presumption is an example of the ignorance that is so prevalent and been allowed to flourish around horses for the last thousand years. In the long run, the reduced circulation in the foot and leg of the horse through the application of steel shoes harms the horse’s entire body. The damage adds up over time, taxing the body with its attempts to heal, and gradually stressing it beyond it capacity to mend. Not just the feet are taxed, but all the organs and all metabolic processes. Damaged cells and tissues are able to heal only so many times, divide so many times, and put up with insults so many times. Animals die when cells and the organs they make up are no longer able to divide and repair damage. Debilitating pain and premature death of horses is the result when we fail to trim hooves properly and/or nail on shoes.

We create problems for our horses when we ignore the natural design and functions of their feet. Our arrogance in believing we can improve on nature causes them great harm. What we as stewards must accept, and try to get others to realize, is that horses’ feet have great strength and durability and perform optimally when proper, bare hoof form exists and when they are kept in the most natural lifestyle possible.

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