Back to the Bars!
OK, I know we've got through this before but I continue to see people posting things such as, "gotta get rid of those bars! If they pop up again, dig deeper until they're gone!" Really?
Unfortunately, there seems to be some sort of black hole when it comes to the anatomy and physiology of the bars and the heels in the equine digit. This is VERY disturbing to me and I find myself actually getting quite perturbed over this lack of education, knowledge, whatever it is ...
So, that's why ano...
May 23 2017 8 Gwen Santagate
With Spring upon us here in the US and Autumn in other areas of the world I know that many people are facing hoof cracks in their horses' hooves for various reasons.
Hoof cracks can be very simple aesthetic annoyances or they can be career-threatening to the horse and rider. They can originate at the ground and spread upward or they can originate at the coronary band and work down.
There are different causes for hoof cracks from something as serious as laminitis to something as b...
May 15 2017 0 Gwen Santagate
From Tooth to Hoof and Everything In Between
Yesterday was the 2nd day I was off my crutches for over a week and good thing. Here at PENZANCE South we had a very special clinic.
Brittany Granitsas, NBD, traveled here to SW Florida to teach us about Natural Balance Equine Dentistry. Along with Brittany was Barbara Bliss from Two-Hearts Mustang Wellness Center in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
We had a BOGO here!
Brittany worked on horses' teeth while Barbara (Penzance Natural Hoofcare Graduate) worked on hooves.
The premier combination for...
May 08 2017 0 Gwen Santagate
More on Heels ... and ... crutches
Well, last week I discovered just how important the heels are - on a human. Due to an unfortunate accident with a little pony hoof, I had the back of my heel partially avulsed. Yeah, that's a BIG ow! While I can't make an analogy between the back of a human heel to the heel buttress on a horse's hoof, it got me to thinking, again, about the value of the horse's heels. In my own situation this meant that I can put no weight on the foot as with each step the wound would open further.
So, I am...
May 01 2017 2 Gwen Santagate
What the heck are "retracted soles"?
Daisy Alexis Bicking and Esco Buff explain it well -- "Retracted soles are when the sole retracts, or 'sucks up' into the arch of the coffin bone. Usually this happens to horses when they are in a wet or muddy environment. The external appearance of the foot will have good concavity (usually excessively good), and even sole/toe callusing. However the horse is often footsore with low grade pulses, sensitive to hoof testers and even manual pa...
April 25 2017 0 Gwen Santagate
It Ain't All Hooves, Ya Know!
I had an interesting discussion this past week with someone about hooves and their 'health'.
Definition of "Health": free of dis-ease in mind, body and spirit.
Whoa, that sheds a whole different light on what healthy hooves are all about!
It ain't ALL hooves, ya know!
Remember way back when I started this blog? I mentioned that "what goes into the horse grows out through the hooves" ?
And, so it does.
But diet isn't all that goes into developing healthy hooves obviously. Neither is t...
April 17 2017 0 Gwen Santagate
"Seedy-toe and white line disease (WLD) are simply different names describing similar infections. Seedy toe and WLD look the same and involve the same opportunistic fungal and bacterial invaders. Neither are primary hoof diseases; both are secondary problems caused by mechanical hoof problems or whole-horse health issues." -Paige Poss
Well, that's it in a nutshell (in a hoof? bad pun - sorry! *grin*)
So, simply put in another way, the hoof has become compromised as to allow opportunistic fu...
April 10 2017 0 Gwen Santagate
Breaking Out the Quarters
There's been a bit of worry from many about the hooves breaking apart at the quarters after removing shoes and trimming up for barefooted life.
I want to reassure everyone that this is common. Very common.
Mainly because the hooves are trimmed 'flat' for shoe application. With shoes the hooves are peripherally loading. The walls at the quarters, when trimmed for shoeing, are left at the height where the shoe will fit flat against the hoof. This means that with hooves that have any sort of a...
March 29 2017 0 Gwen Santagate
The Walls ...
I found myself in a bit of discussion about a hoof that someone posted that needed some help. The walls were separated< collecting gravel and bits of stone etc. and the toes a bit long. I mentioned beveling the hoof walls at a 45* angle from the white line to the distal edge of the hoof and one person blatantly posted, "Don't do that... or rather, check out the different theories and methods regarding white line separation before doing a radical 45-degree from white line. It might give you...
March 26 2017 1 Gwen Santagate
A Personal Story of Barefooted Horses
Edited Excerpt from "10 Secrets to Healthy Hooves". --
In 1992 a move to Florida from Massachusetts led me on a search for a new equine partner and one who could be a gentle and kind teacher for the 60+ kids in my own 4-H club. Bubba was gifted to me. Actually, I rescued him from a very stressful situation.
He was barefoot.
But that horse would not only take the tiniest of children on his back with ginger care and watchful eye but also soar over 4 ½ ft. jump courses as if he had wings.
March 21 2017 0 Gwen Santagate
I am always amazed at what just some simple tweaking can do for a horse's hoof.
About 4 - 6 weeks ago I trimmed out a horse that was very flat footed, caudally tender, long toed with no heel. The front feet were more oval shaped like the rears. Of course, we know that the front hooves on a horse hold 60% of the static weight of the horse and that is why nature shaped them in a round form rather than the oval, 'shovel shape" of the hind hooves that are meant to 'dig in and propel forward'.
March 14 2017 2 Gwen Santagate
On Barefooted Horses
Some quotes from farriers and others on Barefooted Horses:
"I have so far had no reason to put shoes back on my horses. All of the horses have trained better, are more fit, balanced, and sound, than ever before." -- Shannon Peters, US Dressage Competitor and Trainer
"Whether or not it is feasible for a horse to go without shoes will further depend on the owners' expectations, the owners' commitment to the project and the hoof care the horse receives especially during the transition period...
March 09 2017 2 Gwen Santagate
Is Your Horse "Footy"?
Well, you have a horse who's been barefoot for ages. All's fine until the air gets damp and the ground gets wet. Then your horse is pulling you over off the side of the tar to the grass and is 'footy' on rocky ground. OR, you don't have the opportunity to ride all that often and your horse is 'footy' when you travel out on trails.
What does 'footy' mean? Simply, it means footsore.
So why would a horse with apparently healthy, strong hooves come up 'footy'?
Well, several reasons ...
February 28 2017 0 Gwen Santagate
The Truth About Barefoot Horses
The Truth About Barefoot Horses
by Daundra Becker
Horses need shoes, right?
But what if I told you that your horse's shoes actually do more harm to your hoofed friend than good? Allow me to introduce you to a different option for your horse: barefoot.
You Don't Put Shoes on Your Horse!?
A common misconception about barefoot is you pull off the shoes, let your ponies run free as they please, and nature takes care of your horse's feet.
Barefoot does not mean letting your horse's feet get...
February 23 2017 0 Annette Kaitinis
More on BARS
OK, to trim or not to trim the bars of the Equine Hoof?
That seems to be a highlighted question nowadays.
I've addressed just what the bars are FOR in a previous blog post:
But let's look at some photographs that will clearly show the extremes from one end of the scale right to the other ...
The photo above from www.vettec.com/ show some pretty extreme bar growth.
One can clearly see here that overgrown bars grow forward over the sole ...
February 20 2017 1 Gwen Santagate
Do Your Horse's Hooves REALLY Need Trimming?
What a question, huh? I can hear y'all shouting YES! to the title of this post ... but stop and think ... do they REALLY need to be trimmed every 4 or 5 or 6 weeks?
I've been viewing a rash of 'little hooves' ... meaning, the hooves' walls are not as long as they perhaps could be, the heels are pretty un-noticeable, the collateral grooves back by the seat of corn are a mere 1/8th of inch deep, the frogs are weak looking little things, there is no visible indication that the hooves even HAV...
February 14 2017 3 Gwen Santagate
Why NOT to Rasp the Entire Hoofwall
The periople lies just under the coronary band/hairline of the hoof capsule.
Its role is to protect the softer new horn that is being generated to grow new hoofwall.
The rest of the wall of the hoof is protected by a thin layer of tissue that protects it from outside environmental insults. (You can see just part of this covering on the hoof above - and can clearly see where the hoof protection has been rasped away.)
When this protective covering is damaged in some way, i.e., rasping the e...
February 06 2017 2 Gwen Santagate
Oh Those Flares!
We all know 'em. We've all seen 'em. If not on our own horses' hooves we've certainly seen 'em on others.
What, exactly, IS a flare? Simply put -- its a tearing away from the white line of the outer hoof wall causing a distortion in the angles of the walls from the periople on down to the ground.
It's that simple.
Wish they were always a simple fix. But they're not.
(All photos except last photo belong to my mentor, Marjorie Smith.)
Some are merely mechanically caused from o...
January 31 2017 2 Gwen Santagate
Grass Seeds and Hooves ...
Because I'm from the US I wasn't quite sure what 'grass seeds' were until someone said they get stuck in the pasterns and mouths of horses and cause ulcerations. Especially this time of the year over in Tasmania. ICK! ... but that led me to realize that "grass seeds" is probably the same thing as we Americans call "Foxtail Grass" (Setaria species).
Although there are a couple of other grasses that are similar ... Sandbur (Cenchrus species) and Ticklegrass (Agrostis hyemalis) the Foxtail see...
January 24 2017 0 Gwen Santagate
Environmentally Developed Hooves
Let's talk environment today.
Environment and hooves.
Along with diet and hoofcare, the environment plays a huge factor in how the equine hooves develop, from newborns to seniors.
While we all want the best for our horses we don't all agree on what is 'best' for them.
The one constant that we cannot take away from how the hooves are sculpted and formed is the sand, the snow, the grass, the water, the rocks, the dry, the cold, the heat, the ice, the tar ... all of that affects the hoo...
January 17 2017 0 Gwen Santagate
Are Your Hooves Balanced PART 2 - What I would do.
Well, last week we did a wee observational on three sets of hooves. Go back to http://scootboots.com/blogs/blog/some-close-up-looks
and review. I'll post the original photos here, too. Plus photos to show how I would trim (approximation, of course) and give my reasoning. Several of you gave answers to what was going on in these hooves both here on Scoot Boots and over on Scoot Boots Facebook Page.
Check it out to see how those answers compare to what you would do, what I've illustrated and...
January 10 2017 2 Gwen Santagate
Are YOUR Horse's Hooves Balanced?
Well, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! I am hoping that you all have a wonderous, magical, fun-filled, LOVE-filled New Year ahead of you!
Let's face it. Horses are supposed to be FUN! If we ain't havin' fun with them then *shaking head*, why?
We can't have fun with horses that are sore-footed. So I thought maybe a few close up looks at hooves that are less than ideal barefooted to see what can be done to improve them. See if you can notice what I'm pointing out. Then I'll post a couple of photos ...
January 03 2017 4 Gwen Santagate
Detecting and Taking Care of "Caudal Heel Syndrome"
I hope this week finds everyone having had a wonderful Holiday. We celebrate Christmas on our farm and I have to say that living in SW FL is a bit different than living in New England. Snow or no snow in NE Christmas day is always on the chillier side. Usually just downright cold. Here in SW FL ... well, suffice to say that yesterday I ventured out to the barn in my shortie pj's and flip flops to feed in the morning. That, in itself, is an awesome gift!
OK ... so, this week I'd like to tak...
December 27 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words ...
Today I thought I'd post photos ... just photos. Of HEALTHY hooves. You are free to compare YOUR horses' hooves with these photos. I've taken photos from my own clients as well as from other Hoofcare Practitioners (labeled) ... all represent sound, healthy hooves. Something that we ALL want for our horses.
You may notice differences in the 'style' of the trim in these hooves pictured below. That's because there just isn't 'one trim that fits all' anymore than there's 'one shoe that fits al...
December 20 2016 2 Gwen Santagate
Winter Hoof Care
Winter time can bring a host of different aspects to hoofcare - and a host of questions. Those horses who live in sub-freezing temps with snow and ice ... how does one cope with that? Can I ride in the snow? How come the hooves don't freeze? How do barefooted horses keep from slipping? What about winter abscesses? Stone bruising? Tender feet?
I want to cover a few questions today which I've run across most over the years.
1. Can I ride a barefooted horse in the snow?
Absolutely! In fact, ...
December 13 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
Some Point to Point ... Shoes or Barefoot?
I thought today I could give some rebuttal to some very common answers we get when we ask a farrier or a veterinarian about whether or not our horses can go barefoot. The following are actual statements that have been made by farriers or veterinarians (grey italics). My rebuttals in reg. font and black.
--Can or should your horse go barefoot? Honestly assess his conformation. Look at his legs but also observe his hooves. Is he prone to sole abscess and bruises, even with shoes? Do his hoof w...
December 06 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
How Horseshoes Affect Hooves
Two of the main causes for a reduced life expectancy of the domesticated horse (in Europe, about 1/3 of the natural lifespan) are hoof and leg problems -- Yvonne Welz.
Wow, that's a scary thought.
What is scarier is the thought of all the repercussions to the hooves and legs that arise from horseshoes! Yet horse owners are frequently told, "if you want to ride that horse then you're going to have to have him shod!".
FACT: Hooves will condition to the ground to which they become accusto...
November 29 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
Myths and Old Wives' Tales
There are a few old myths and wives' tales that are still floating around the horseworld today about horses' hooves. I'm going to list a few to debunk and give reasons why the "old myths" are not acceptable.
MYTH #1: Laminitic -- walk him out of it.
TRUTH: forced exercise is one of the worst things you could do, because it increases the risk of permanent damage to the foot's supportive structures. Allow the horse to walk as he/she desires.
MYTH #2: Laminitis -- soak feet in ice water ...
November 21 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
Laminitis! What do I do?
The mere thought of Laminitis for any of our equine friends is just terrifying! It sends the hair rising on the backs of our necks and the pits of our stomachs to recoil. I've heard some people say their vets or farriers tell them its 'the end' for the horse.
But, IA quick checklist:
'm here to tell you ... that's NOT TRUE!
For almost 20 years I worked with pathological hooves ... laminitis, founder, sinking founder, perforated founders ... and while some horses were not able to go back t...
November 09 2016 3 Gwen Santagate
Behind the Times ...
With all the new information there is about Equine hooves and their health, it's funny that so many 'professionals' in the industry are so behind the times.
Why DON'T they listen and read and learn?
Doing so is called continuing education.
Continuing education for the BEST for our Equine friends.
When one is in a profession to HELP horse, then one has the responsibility to keep up with the latest findings and provings and then learn how to implement those res...
November 02 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
Is YOUR Horse Laminitic?
Could your horse be laminitic and you are not aware of it?
Yep. Actually could be.
I explained in another blog post about the 4 stages of Laminitis.
The first stage being the "Developmental" Stage. This is a stage that does not present with any clinical symptoms. In other words, your horse could be in the Developmental stage of Laminitis right now and you wouldn't know it. You wouldn't know until you see the tell-tale ring around the hooves maybe 4 months down the road or so. Then you ...
November 01 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
A Pile of Dirt & Rocks
Yep, we got a pile of DIRT today. We're building a barn and have to build up the ground underneath so we got a HUGE load of "Crush and Run" for the base. Now, this stuff has rocks in it. Yes -- ROCKS! Rocks that will crush and get hardened like cement. The man delivering it asked what we were using it for and I told him. He replied, "Oh! For the horses? Won't that hurt their hooves!?" and then went on to describe other places where they've dumped clean, screened, soft sand footing for the hor...
October 25 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
What To Expect When Transitioning
I was asked in our brand new Forum what one could expect during transitioning from shod to barefoot. I gave a short answer but thought I might elaborate a bit here this week.
These hooves ...
belong to a Thoroughbred (uh-oh, you say!) who was 23 years old and had worn shoes since he was a YEARLING!!!
The owner had heard about natural, bare hooves and how they were said to be healthier than shod hooves, so called me to remove the shoes and start maintaining this horse.
The first visit the...
October 18 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
A little break from Pathologies today ... want to address something that is concerning and that is ...
Why wait until your horse doesn't hold a shoe anymore? Why wait until the hooves are shelly, chipping, splitting, thrushy, yucky and your horse is just a tad bit 'off' ...
Why wait to get your horse barefoot?
For years I've worked on pathological hooves ... and mostly was called as the very last resort! People would then say, "I so wish I had called you firs...
October 11 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
Prevention of Laminitis
According to Natural Hoofcare While there are no guarantees, ever, that a laminitic horse will recover and be fully rehabilitated, the natural care provided by excellent hoofcare will go a long, long way in setting the parameters for the hooves to fully recover. Prevention, of course, is the first line of defense against Laminitis but even with the most diligent of care some horses will founder in spite of it all depending on their natural constitution and systems. It is almost inevitable t...
October 04 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
Laminitis - The Causes
Laminitis -- inflammation of the laminae.
What IS the laminae?
It's the 'sticky' tissue that holds the hoof capsule onto the foot. Plain and simple.
It is comprised of connective tissue that acts like velcro.
"The hair-brush like structures are called the sensitive laminae. These things interlock with some similar structures of the inside of the hoof wall called the insensitive laminae. The hoof itself grows from a structure near the hairline called the coronary band. The coronary ban...
September 27 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
Introduction to Pathologies of the Equine Digit
Preventing hoof diseases is a main component of hoof care by both the Hoofcare practitioner and the owner of the horse. While the primary job of the hoof care provider is to see that the hooves are in good form so they can function at peak performance, the owner has a responsibility to see that the rest of the whole horse is tended in a manner that is conducive to full health, including the health of the hooves. This series of posts will talk about the prevention of hoof diseases as well as h...
September 20 2016 2 Gwen Santagate
Pasture vs Barefoot Trim Pt. 9 - Maintenance of the Horse in Transition
Hi Folks! Those reading in the USA I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend! Oh wait ... I wrote the last blog post on Labor Day! Well, hope you had a good one -- I forgot to wish that for y'all last week.
I want to kind of wrap this series up with talking a bit about the maintenance of a newly transitioned horse. That is, one just taken out of shoes and trimmed NATURALLY. We've gone over much of the essentials and the differences between what a farrier might do with a trim to what the...
September 13 2016 5 Gwen Santagate
Pasture vs Barefoot Trim Pt. 8 - Frogs!
This section is a short section .. while the function of the equine frogs are VITAL to healthy hooves, the care of them is quite simple.
In preparing hooves for shoes we often see the frogs cut into wedge shapes ... routinely.
Let's compare that to a healthy barefooted frog:
Wow .. what a difference! Which one do you think would serve the equine hoof better in terms of shock absorption and energy dispersion?
When we think about the fact that the frog's a...
September 06 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
Pasture vs Barefoot Trim Pt. 7 - Angles
Ahhhhhhh, well, Good EST Monday Morning to y'all! What a great weekend and I'm so looking forward to a great, productive week! I love, love, love being able to help people from "afar" ... the internet has its down sides but, for the most part? It's awesome! I get to help people from all across the globe. That's so satisfying for me. I got a note, for instance, from someone in Wales this weekend. I'm Welsh, myself, so that was a nice surprise. A question about hooves, of course -- and I ...
August 30 2016 2 Gwen Santagate
Pasture vs Barefoot Trim Pt. 6 - The Quarters
Today I want to discuss the quarters of the hoof and why they are so relevant to healthy hooves.
We discussed, previously, how the hoof capsule is a protective, mirrored covering for the inside foot.
And we've discussed how the conventional pasture trim will leave the hoof flat rather than allowing for the natural concavity of a healthy hoof:
So what difference does it all make?
Well, let’s look at hoof mechanism and what happens to the quarters when ...
August 20 2016 1 Gwen Santagate
Pasture vs Barefoot Trim Pt. 5 - Tippy Toes Part 2
Well, last week we intro'd the toes ... and now, let's see how to determine just what is the right LENGTH for the toes ... from the coronary band down to the ground.
If one were to measure the coffin bone (front hooves) of every horse one would see that it measures approximately 3 to 3 1/2 inches from the top of the coffin bone down to the toe.
Now, again, that being said rather simply, there are always exceptions to the rule. The primary focus of trimming a barefooted horse should be t...
August 16 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
EXTRA EXTRA for this week ... QUIZ!
OK Folks -- here is your chance to see just how much of the Equine Digit you know. Can you label all these parts? Just for fun! See what you know. Write your answers below in the comments section. I'll be back by the end of the week to give you the proper labels. :)
I'll have a surprise for all of you who answer correctly. ;) 1-2-3 GO!
Quiz is closed/over on Friday, August 12th at midnite. USA Eastern Time.
August 10 2016 1 Gwen Santagate
Pasture vs Barefoot Trim Pt. 5 - Tippy Toes Part 1
Good Day! Well, seems like I went a step ahead in my last blog post about rockerin' the toes. I didn't mention, first, the LENGTH of the toes and why that's so important to healthy hooves!
Frequently with pasture trims one will see a long toe ... one in which the wall is much thicker/wider than that of the rest of the hoof. Ideally, the wall should be of uniform thickness along with the sole of the hoof.
In a typical pasture trim it is deemed necessary to rasp the hoof and produce "the...
August 09 2016 4 Gwen Santagate
Pasture vs Barefoot Trim Pt. 4 - The Soul of the Sole
Pete Ramey says, "Since the sole is the first line of defense between the horse and the ground, its proper management is crucial to soundness."
How many of you believe that? How many feel their farrier believes that? How many of you have sat by and watched your farrier just slice away the very 'soul' of the sole?
I would say anyone who has used a farrier or shod their horses has.
Of course there might be an exception or two. That goes un-questioned. There are always exceptions 'to the rule...
August 02 2016 6 Gwen Santagate
Pasture vs Barefoot Trim Pt. 3 - Rockerin' the Toes
Continuing on with our 'pasture trim vs. natural trim' of horses's hooves, we're going to take a look at the 'Toe Rocker" today.
"Toe Rocker" is a term that is not very familiar to most farriers unless they happen to follow Gene Ovincek's method of trimming the "Natural Balance" trim. And mostly, it is not a familiar term or method to many natural hoof trimmers, either. I've studied most of the hoof masters and, while not embracing all of what is taught by each one, I've managed to scoff up ...
July 26 2016 6 Gwen Santagate
Pasture vs Barefoot Trim Pt. 2 - Mustang Roll
Hi again! Well, we started off our series on the pasture vs barefoot trim with describing the difference between shortening the toe and bringing back the toe, sculpting vs. flat plane trimming etc.
In response, in the comments, a gentlemen requested some clarification on the Mustang Roll. I think that's a good topic for today ... so let's get at it.
First of all, did you know that the Mustang Roll is not a universal condition of the equine hoof everywhere? Or, even, all the time?
July 23 2016 1 Gwen Santagate
Pasture vs Barefoot Trim
OK Folks … Today we’ll start a new little series on the topic of Pasture trim vs. a natural, barefoot trim for horses’ hooves.
Not to start a war and not to disrespect anyone but to help educate and teach. Because there ARE differences. We’ll go into the individual differences in this little series.
Most commonly, a pasture trim is one that shortens the hoof all-round and does so to a flat plane. Shortens the toes, the heels, the soles … and let’s define ‘shorten’ vs. ‘bring back’ right at t...
July 21 2016 7 Gwen Santagate
Where, Oh Where, is the P3?
This is an article I wrote back in 2013 for a national publication on Equine Hooves, "The Horse's Hoof".
I thought since we've been talking about the caudal heel area of the hoof that maybe we'll go into the coffin bone. After all, that *is* a major portion of the hoof; well, THE major portion of the hoof.
The article was written for hoof trimmers but I strongly believe that owners should also have a solid knowledge of their own horses' hooves and, in that way, be able to tell if their hoo...
July 19 2016 0 Gwen Santagate
"Cauliflower" of the Hoof
Now THAT is one nasty lookin' hoof!
Along with all the black, nasty thrush we see this cauliflower lookin' thing that has taken over the frog.
This is an un-common condition of the hoof that is called "Canker".
And yep, it's nasty. Just plain nasty.
It looks nasty, it smells nasty, and it makes the horse nasty sore and lame! Not something you ever want to see on your horse's hoof.
But, if you do -- don't freak out. There is treatment for it. But first let's briefly see what the darn t...
July 15 2016 0 Gwen Santagate