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What makes a natural barefoot?

Our model is based on the true wild horse's foot found in the American West.  These horses move many miles a day over some of the most rugged terrain known. Yet they do not suffer any lameness caused by laminitis or navicular disease.  
We stand for the whole horse.  What we feed them, how they are housed, and the condition of their feet, all profoundly impact this noble animal's health. Our model is found in nature. Even our domestic horses can develop a well connected and highly conditioned hoof; if provided the proper tools.

As trained hoof care practitioners, we do not carve into the sole of the hoof or pare down the frog. The concavity seen in this domestic racehorse's hoof was built naturally by the horse himself. A knife was never used to carve the sole to obtain this deep concavity.  


An experienced and educated trimmer knows how to read the horse's sole. The sole is the window to the hoof. Barefoot hoof trimmers who trim to the true wild horse model, understand how to read the live sole and the healing angle of the hoof.  This is how soundness is achieved in each horse.  A natural barefoot trim is an important part of optimal health. A natural diet can be the distinguishing factor between a completely sound horse and a mildly laminitic one.

Inside look at a perfect barefoot hoof. Notice the thickness of the sole and the well developed digital cushion

Effects of Peripheral Loading 

Metal shoes may have had their place when horses historically were used as a means of transportation and in battle. Horses that were housed in cramped barns with unsanitary footing conditions, and only access to questionable nutrition had hooves that would become weak. The metal shoe was designed to hold the hoof together and provided a band-aid for the unavoidable problem of the working horse living an unnatural lifestyle. Shoes may have even had their place in addressing hoof pathologies in the beginning of podiatry for the well-being of the animal.


Today that band-aid is unnecessary, and considered outdated technology. There has been extensive research in the last decade, confirming the aspects and causes of hoof pathology.  Balanced hooves with good nutrition and healthy lifestyle have no need for metal shoes. Horses do not need a prosthetic; they need a stronger hoof. Comprehensive studies have proven that metal shoes negatively effect the hoof and entire body. There are many cutting edge, healthier options for hoof care when going barefoot is not an option. Metal shoes of today are a modern convenience based out of a medieval time. 

Some Effects of Metal Shoes :

Infection: Nail holes provide breeding grounds for bacteria and fungus to invade the hoof horn. Frogs that are lifted off the ground become contracted and infected.

Reduced shock absorption: The entire body is effected by excessive concussion when horses move over hard ground. Soft tissue and bone is damaged over time

Camouflage: Metal shoes only mask low levels of inflammation and weakness in the hoof, they do not solve the problem. 

Weakness: The soft tissue of the internal structures become weak from inadequate contact with the ground. This results with contracted heels.

Stunted hoof growth:  Shod hooves do not  get the opportunity to wear naturally; this natural wear stimulates more growth.

Increase in tripping:  Reduced proprioseption: The entire underside of the hoof is covered in sensory receptors.  they are hindered by a metal shoe lifting the sole off the ground.

Osteoporosis of the Coffin Bone (P3) :  Long term use of shoes can cause bony changes to the coffin bone from excessive concussion and lack of circulation. 

Unnatural loading of the wall: The entire underside of the hoof has evolved to bear the weight of the horse. Peripheral loading caused by shoes damages the laminae and connective tissues.

Injuries:  Slipping on slick surfaces where barefoot hooves have natural tread , or strains caused by excessive grip from quarks in an inappropriate environment. Puncture wounds from loose shoes and nails, damage to the hoof wall by shoes tearing away from the foot accidentally. Injuries are also caused to other horses who are kicked by horses wearing shoes. 

Front Right Hoof is shod

Blood Circulation Restriction: The hoof is a flexible organ. As the hoof weight bears and expands, blood fills thousands of capillaries, then when the hoof leaves the ground it contracts, pushing blood back up the limb - like a second heart.  Metal shoes inhibit the foot from flexing in this way.