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

Numerous published books have straight forward instructions on proper hoof trimming techniques and guidelines, and there are additional sources on the internet. There are programs for training owners, and re-training farriers in the natural way of trimming hooves if they are willing to go the distance and pay the price, but even with the support and guidance of all available sources, turning around everyone’s attitudes toward shoeing, and changing how we provide good stewardship for our horses to provide what they really need (including lifestyles and diets), is going to be a real challenge and take some concerted effort by all of us who care for our horses. My original mentor on the subject, Martha Olivo, has herself evolved over the last few years, developing an easily understandable format with which to approach the horse’s hoof and trim it successfully. She has developed United Horsemanship, an organization that lends itself as the solidarity vehicle for the barefoot movement worldwide. We are “horsemen helping horsemen become better horsemen.”

A veterinarian such as me easily understands how the presence of a steel appliance on the bottom of a horse brings harm. When other veterinarians, other equine professionals, and stewards come to discover the true workings of the horses’ hooves they will cease to perpetrate such harm, and will not stand idly by while others do so. When they better understand how the horses’ feet are constructed, function, grow, offer protection and allow proper and vital sensation for the horse to interact with their environment, these good people will have gained a very powerful new tool. They will no longer ignorantly resort to or demand the use of a nailed on appliance or a confined lifestyle for horses. They will stop unknowingly causing pain and premature deaths for the horses they care about.

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