April 9, 2010


Here are a sequence of Ziba’s Hoof Photos over the past few years.

Before she was with shoes & corrective shoeing, and her hoof form worsened over time.  It did shake my faith in a very age-old tradition of horse care, however I do not mean to say that every horse should be barefoot – (I do believe most horses would benefit by it).  It was simply my conclusion that for our situation and her history in shoes that were becoming more and more ‘corrective’, that it was time to reconsider.   I finally decided to take her barefoot after admitting to myself that the direction she was headed in her corrective shoeing process was downhill..

Here is a link to a diagram of a healthy horse’s hoof, in the following photos  see how different Ziba’s foot is from it in 2005?

Here is Ziba in late 2005. Early in 2005  Ziba exhibited heel soreness, and lameness in fronts, and at the recommendation of vet & farrier had moved from regular shoes, to bar shoes, to pads+bar shoes in fronts.  Note also ridges, hind flares, and uneven hind walls.  By this time she was very lame.

November 2005, very lame

Right Front – 11/05.  Note wall ridges, Crushed & Under-run Heels,
with pads & small shoes

After corrective shoeing (& 2 farriers later),  I decided to take the leap and take her barefoot…

When we first removed her shoes, she had severe thrush, thin walls, major stretched white lines, underrun & crushed heels (especially in fronts), and flares in hinds.    Her feet were in a bad way.  And she was also diagnosed with periarticular Ringbone in her fronts.  High in right front, low in left front.  Her right front leg exhibits multiple rotations, so vet attributed some of her problem to her conformation, but also I was told her general conformation, her early years of hard riding – or perhaps incorrect training, and then to add on top of it, my well intentioned, but far-from-ideal riding made things worse no doubt!

This photo was taken after we brought back her crushed heels and removed the bar that was covering her sole on both fronts.  You can see her thin walls, stretched white lines, and old abscess that popped after shoes came off.

Right Front 1/06

Right Front 1/06 – this was after the bar covering her sole was removed mostly, and her crushed heels had been taken back.  When we first removed her shoes, her heels ended in the middle of her foot covering where you can see the abscess had emerged.

May 2006, here is Ziba after 5 months into barefoot,  her toes are way too long.  I had taken on trimming her feet w/ help from the equinexion forum and was very ‘under-trimmers anonymous’.  But she was finally getting comfortable again.  Over the past 5 months, her feet expanded in size and she outgrew 2 sets of hoof boots!:

In transition – and as you can see I was really undertrimming..

toes are way too long, and heels contracted..

by May '06 Ziba was feeling a little more comfortable barefoot.September ’06, still sensitive

She even felt like moving a bit (and that was a huge  improvement)!

September ’06 – fitting in a little fun despite being sore still..



By December 2006, she was really feeling comfortable enough to want to move, canter, play!  She still suffered from DJD and ringbone (and does to this day), but her feet felt less painful.

By December 2006, Ziba was moving again!

By December 2006, Ziba was cantering again!
Granted it was not a pretty canter, but at least she was more comfortable.
Bunny hop canter..
A happy dirty Horse!

Ziba’s feet today, March 2010.

Kim Richman, Ziba’s barefoot trimmer, has helped to make her feet much better, her walls have thickened, her heel bulbs are filling out, her white line separation is improving, and her feet are basically so much more comfortable than 4 years ago.  It’s been a long slow road to recovery, but well worth it:

Aren’t her fronts much improved?

*   *   *

Look at these beautiful hinds!  Thanks to Kim Richman

Notice how her heel bulbs have filled out, and white line is much improved (still not perfect), and how she has more concavity in her previously pancake flat fronts?  The fronts have been a challenge and are not perfect but so much better!

*    *    *

I wish I could say “and she lived/worked/moved happily ever after!” , but such is not the case.  Ziba’s progressive DJD and Ringbone has also been a major issue we have been addressing.  The good news is that for now I can say wholeheartedly that her feet are not the cause!!!

Will post more about her healing soon…



April 10, 2010

Before moving onto the next subject, I’d like to share a few resources that helped me on our barefoot journey.

EQUINEXTION founded by Lisa Huhn.  This site is a wealth of information.  The forum was very active 4-5 years ago, not sure now.

THE HORSE’S HOOF founded by James and Yvonne Welz.  Their site is also a great source for information, and they also have a publication called ‘The Horse’s Hoof’ Magazine.

THE BAREFOOT HORSE by Marjorie Smith.  This is a very helpful site.



Here is fellow blogger’s page on Hoof Boots Christina’s blog has a lot of great information on the horse’s hoof.  I didn’t see a review on Cavallo Boots, but for big saucer shaped feet like Ziba’s, the Cavallos worked best for her (for regular rides, not endurance).  They fit her feet, and are so easy to put on/take off.

The Easy Care boot line (epics, bares, gloves, etc) are not the correct shape for very round feet.

Mac Boots seemed too heavy & clunky (I wanted a lightweight, non-trippy solution for my ringbone mare).

Boas rotated on her round feet.

I’m still waiting for the Renegades to come in a larger size up as I have heard great things about them, they are successfully being used in endurance, and they look like a really well designed and well functioning boot.

more to come..



April 14, 2010


Here are is a video comparing the SAME HORSE MOVING SHOD & UNSHOD.  Note the amount of concussion the joint experiences in each..



Scroll down page a bit, the 2nd & 3rd video clearly illustrate this.


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