Cult or Honest Hoof Information?

I just learned I'd been blocked from yet another hoofcare "educational" group on Facebook. With no explanation. Now I'm not particularly a controversial person - I simply share what I've learned over the last 31 years of hoofcare/trimming in hopes that it might help others. I'm not a person to say *my* way is the *only* way - in fact, *my* way is comprised of many "ways" of those from whom I've had the blessing of learning. I sat under and studied many of the world's best reknown farriers and trimmers.  Although I'm a Hoof TRIMMER and keep (and always have for almost 60 years) my horses barefooted, I've learned a whole lot from FARRIERS over the years - in fact some of the best information I've learned has come from farriers and has been 'proven' by the thousands of horses on which I've worked! Now that isn't to say that everything I've learned or heard or studied has been 'correct' ... and that isn't to say that everything I've learned or heard or studied is ALL of what is to be learned!  Nope -- it takes a lifetime to "learn it all" and even then there's always, ALWAYS more to learn - from someone. It can be either good information or it can be mislead information or mistaken information or simply just down and out "bad" information. But its still learned. I have to say though, that when simple information is shared that is simply contrary to FACT then I have to say something - again in the hopes of helping others from making mistakes that may lead to harm for the horse. 

FIRST, DO NO HARM!  That is the FIRST "creed" of a good hoofcare provider - farrier or trimmer. The solid belief, "First, do no harm" should always, in my opinion, be the guiding force for someone's actions.

The second creed is, (and I learned this from a farrier who has become a good friend and even, at times, a solid mentor) ... "It depends."

The third would be, "Never say never and never say always when it comes to horses."

Now what is the purpose of this blog post today?  Well, I am hoping that those of you who read it will understand that there are so many facets to hoofcare and they all depend on the individual hoof-in-hand on the individual horse-in-hand.

It's that's simple - yet that complicated.

When someone says, "my way is the only way because I'm the only one who knows this" ... then I tend to either stay far away OR 'enlighten' that person if at all possible. But, generally speaking, when someone is that ideological and egotistical then enlightenment is a universe away.

Definition of ideology:  a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture

Notice, please, the word *individual* in that sentence. In this case of which I'm speaking, though, while we want to work with the individual hoof, we don't want to be boxed in to any one "individual's" theorizing or hoof "culture".  Does that make sense?

There are as many different types of hooves that need many different types of care as there are horses. Think about that. What one horse may need for a trim, for good form and function of its hooves may NOT be what the horse in the next stall needs!

Having a 'tool box' that is full of different 'tools' to use - those 'tools' picked up from such hoof care masters as Gene Ovnicek, Lyle Bergeleen, KC LaPierre, Jim & Yvonne Welz, Pete Ramey, Dr. Stephen O'Grady, Dr. Robert Bowker, Dr. Chris Pollitt and others such as Doug Butler, Dave Duckett, Mike Savoldi,Ted Stashak,  and more ... there are so many others ... gives the hoofcare professional something that can help each individual hoof on each individual horse especially when it comes to dis-eased hooves!  Each one has something positive and right and good to share.

While farrier and trimming 'schools' don't always include EVERYTHING there is to learn about hoofcare, there are those that teach good, solid BASICS of hoofcare which everyone who has anything to do with horses *should* learn. From there, from the basics, one can choose to go further on and learn more, or not. The BASICS should be learned, however, by every horse owner, trainer, instructor and certainly by those who wish to learn to trim his or her own horse(s). Learning anatomy and physiology (basic) of the equine digit and lower limb is something paramount to having a good base of understanding of the equine hoof and its form and function.

Anyway, that is my point-on for today [rant?] ... I do know of several good places to learn the basics from online to in-person. If you want to learn more, please be sure to contact me and I can help you. I've also included a small list of links below that you might want to visit.

Please, remember, there is NOT just ONE WAY to trim horses' hooves. Doesn't matter the name of the human behind the trim -- if that person says *my* way is the *only* way then heed that little voice nagging you to beware 'cause it just ain't so.

Some links to reference from whom I've learned: (my own website)




Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate is the best-selling author of 10 Secrets to Healthy Hooves as well as a noted author for various international equine publications including The Horses Hoof, Equine Wellness, Natural Horse Planet as well as a contributing author for the 2001 United States Federal Mounted Border Patrol Training Manual. For the last 37+ years, she has maintained healthy hooves with natural trimming on thousands of horses and specialized in pathological rehabilitation hoof care for the last 20 years. She and her husband John keep a small herd of their own equine in SW Florida and continue to offer consults for horses in need. You can email to Gwen -- or telephone in the US (774)-280-4227 NEW PHONE). For further information please click here:




Don’t know if you are talking about me or not, but I did remove you from the Mentor Group. you are still on the Markup group. the reason I removed you is because that group is for people who are actively doing a case study on a horse, and actively participating in showing the trimming they are doing. I also removed some other people, that are professionals who were not contributing as students. Notice I did not removed you from anything else

Linda Harris September 06, 2018

Thanks, Joan … Yes, I’m sure there are more than just a few wondering about all this. The thing that matters the most is that the HORSE receive the care he/she INDIVIDUALLY needs – regardless of what human deems to be the ‘right’ trim. There just is NOT one trim fits all … only that trim that fits the horse. :)

Gwenyth Santagate August 16, 2018

Well said Gwen! No one is all wrong or all right. Sometimes we have to take what makes sense to us and leave the rest behind. Everyone has some little pearls of advice that might work perfectly for a particular horse at a particular time and not for another. It’s being able to step back, evaluate, reconsider and try another approach if needed that makes a person “educated” and keeps us learning new things every single day. I’m glad you wrote this post as it’s something I have been wondering about.

Joan August 13, 2018

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