Behind the Times ...

RIRDC, Australia

It's funny.

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 results in his or her care. 

In "The Little Prince" Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote, 

“People have forgotten this truth," the fox said. "But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.” 

You see, our horses are our roses. Once we begin to spend time with them they become very important to us.  

Another quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery -- 

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

No time is wasted. And, no learning is wasted, either. 

Learning is not a waste of time.  It is a fountain of knowledge and as one learns more the fountain becomes bigger thus allowing for more thirst. 

OK, enough of the philosophical ramblings here ... Let's get down to the nitty gritty. 

Does YOUR veterinarian or farrier or hoofcare practitioner continue with his or her learning? Do they implement the very latest in findings about horses' hooves? 

If not, then it behooves YOU, your horse's guardian, to educate yourself on what is best for YOUR horse. Hopefully some time spent with your professional will solidify your team effort of keeping YOUR horse sound and healthy! 

But there's soooo much 'out there', you say.  How can one tell if it's good info or not? 

Well, your 'gut' is pretty intuitive, just like horses IF you tune into it and learn to trust it. You can read something, hear something, see something but if your own gut gives a nudge of recoiling then find out more before jumping on the bandwagon just cause so and so says so. 

Even your veterinarian and your farrier ... 

Both professions are filled with men and women who have good hearts and alot of knowledge; some with more experience than others. The ones with alot of experience tend to either be close to burning out so will just go ahead and share the 'conventional' approach while others are still burning with desire to truly help each individual animal whom they encounter. Those are the ones who will help you seek alternative treatments when the conventional treatments just are cuttin' it.  They're the ones who are more open to barefooted horses and using herbs and other means of health and wellness either instead of conventional means or with conventional treatments. 

Those are the people to work with so, as a team, y'all can figure out what's the best course of action for YOUR individual horse! 

I can't, of course, go into a discourse about conventional vs. alternatives. I believe there is room for both and both can certainly enhance and improve on each other. But, as a horse OWNER, one has the responsibility to take care of 'the tamed' in the best manner possible - giving all realms of possibilities careful though and consideration. 

Of course, that means if your 'gut' is holding back on a certain treatment for your horse then, by all means, educate yourself on it! Arm yourself with as much information as you possibly can and then take it to your horse. The horse is the final decision maker. Don't just blindly accept this or that. It used to be that cocaine was accepted in Coca Cola (Coke!) and then we found out later that the cocaine wasn't such a good thing.

There are two men in the hoof world who are continuing their research and sharing their findings with us;  Dr. Chris Pollitt and Dr. Robert Bowker. Both of whom have dedicated their lives to studying the Equine Digit; Both of them who are continually publishing NEW findings, NEW answers, NEW results to methods of care and treatment of the hooves.

In the next couple of weeks we’ll go over some of their research and discuss it. In the meantime, I would encourage each one of you to take stock of what is going on with your horses’ hooves. Are they in good form? Are they functioning well? If not, go and spend some time just ‘asking’ your horse what’s going on. Seriously – if you really LISTEN then you might be totally surprised at what your “gut” (think, horse) will tell you.  If you’re not sure how to do this, comment below and I have some great tips for you on just this topic! 

You might want to take a look at some of Dr. Pollitt’s published works as well as Dr. Bowker’s notes when you get a chance. Maybe share some of the things you find with your farrier or veterinarian and see what they have to say.  Get an open discussion going if you can.  The more YOU learn, the better you can help YOUR own horse! Perhaps your questions will spur your farrier or veterinarian to expand on their repertoire of hoofcare!

Just for your reading and self-education, here is a link to Dr. Pollitt’s finding on the Wild Brumby: “Improving the Foot Health of the Domestic Horse”.  We’ve discussed aspects about Laminitis and will be doing more on it soon.


A link to some of Dr. Bowker’s work is located on Pubmed:[Author]

Enjoy reading this amazing information!   

AND ...

Don’t ever forget your rose … ;)



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 includingThe 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 hoofcare for the last 18 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. For further information please click here:   Gwenyth also offers an online home-study of Natural Hoofcare 101 ... please go here: to view information and to register. 



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