"Stable Advice"

There is no doubt in my mind that the very best hoof care we can provide for our horses is to just leave them alone on hundreds or thousands of acres of desert land. For many of us this isn't in the cards. Domestic horses are at a major disadvantage. Hooves thrive on movement. The more confinement, the worse their hoof health. Trimming alone can be futile, especially in damp conditions. Studies in Australia have shown that brumbies in arid environments have better feet than those in wetter areas. I come across so many horses with what looks like hooves from the top, or from the outside, but when you turn them over, and take a closer look... they look like rotten hollow logs decaying in a swamp. They lack everything that a hoof needs to be functional. Many horse owners choose to board at stables. Some owners live in town and have no choice. Others choose to for convenience, or companionship, either for their horse or for themselves. I trim many stabled horses and I find it challenging to keep their feet healthy. Some owners have given up on my "to do list" for healthy feet, and some have gone to extremes to be successful at keeping healthy bare feet on their horses. It comes down to commitment...making the best choices for your horse. It's not cheap, easy, or convenient, but it pays in the long run. The saying "the more you give the more you get" couldn't be more appropriate when it comes to horse care.

Here are some tips for keeping healthy feet on stalled horses.

1. Pick a stall that has plenty of sun exposure.

This will help keep the footing dry and free of bacteria and funguses.

2. Make sure it is graded properly for positive drainage. This may include excavating a deep hole where your horse likes to urinate and filling it with 1-2" leach rock. I like the last several inches to be filled with pea gravel.

3. Pick up the manure often. If they step in manure and it sticks to their feet it doesn't matter how clean the footing is they'll be standing in manure until you clean it out.

4. Clean their feet often. You can't do this enough for a stalled horse. Also, the extra hoof handling will make it easier for your trimmer.

5. Use 1/4" minus chat for footing where they spend most of their time. 4" depth is plenty. Horse hooves are highly adaptable. This can be a blessing or a curse. A horse standing in crap will have crappy feet. A horse standing on rock will have rock hard feet, however, flat, hard surfaces leave no room for compensation. Pea gravel, chat, and sand are stone particulates. When spread at a 4" depth they provide a soft cushion and at the same time the hoof assumes the hard qualities. This does wonders for horses while you're still making improvements on their hoof balance. It allows them to weight specific areas of their feet without losing the support of other areas. They can sink into the footing at their desired angle, instead of depending on our best guesses. Horses standing on hard flat ground can only relieve one foot at a time. Having a hind foot cocked is often misinterpreted for relaxation. Sometimes horses aren't comfortable on pea gravel and need a smaller particulate like chat, or even sand. I've heard complaints with the use of chat, such as...

- my horse eats it. I have a horse that did that. I removed it and replaced it with sand. I guess sand looks less like pellets. Put down rubber mats where they eat so they don't colic on sand.

If your horse gets bed sores from chat. It's not deep enough.

I've heard complaints that the chat gets in the cracks in their feet. If they are trimmed frequently there will be minimal cracking.

6. Trim frequently. I've kept decent feet on barefoot horses bedded on wood shavings as long as the trim cycle didn't exceed 2 weeks and the conditions were kept free of manure and urine.

7. Ask for as much turn out as possible. Even if it costs extra. It will come back to you in your horses health and fitness. If possible turn your horse out with a buddy or two. This should increase movement and improve your horse's state of mind".

This may sound expensive and time consuming. It is. So is paying vets to diagnose a "mystery" lameness.

The "stable" mentality has a lot of catching up to do. The environment created by housing many horses in small stalls is not conducive to healthy bare feet. It can be done, but it usually comes with a lot of troubleshooting.

Our Philosophy

Horses feet have evolved over millions of years to be a regenerative system. Constant movement over varied terrain maintains the balance of growth vs. wear, step for step. The result is an amazing hoof comprised of:

- super structures that thrive on use.
- Hoof function with an efficient break over
- and the ability to withstand and dissipate concussive forces with a heel first impact (this allows the horse to use his weight for him instead of against him. )

The current more traditional system for domestic horses is a degenerative system where there is minimal movement in a small damp stall, infrequent trimming schedules and/ or prosthetic devices nailed to their feet.

This results in the horse crushing his feet under his own weight. I believe horses were designed to have sustainable feet for their lifetime. I feel that we are responsible as the horse's caretakers to protect the natural wonder, the horse's hoof, that nature has provided for them.

Our Goal

To encourage the mustang foot on the domestic horse through proper trimming and care. The best foot your horse can have.

AND

To teach you how to manage risk in your horse or herd through lameness prevention and sound management practices, specifically focusing on hooves, through movement, footing, balanced trimming and diet.

Services include:

- Assessment

- Consultation

- Trimming

- Booting

- Footing

- Clinics

- Personal Lessons

- Horsemanship Training

- Lameness Prevention

- Rehabilitation

- Facilities Design

and Development