What are you committing to when you switch to barefoot?
In his presentation of the High Performance Trim, KC Lapierre says that ‘’7 out of 10 horses that had owners interested in having their horses go shoeless were capable of doing so’’. The owner plays a key role in the success of the transition to barefoot. An important factor is the owner’s open-mindedness and eagerness to learn. You need to be motivated enough to accept to change the way you do certain things.
We recognize that change isn’t easy and that some of the modifications we might suggest are beyond your scope. However, there are areas in which we need you to commit. Diet is one of them: too much, too rich, too sweet, imbalanced, insufficient forage can all cause serious issues. No matter how well we trim, we will not make the horse sound unless the diet is optimal.
Another commitment we need you to make is the frequency of the trims. In the case of serious flares or wall separation for example, we need the owner to agree to have their horse trimmed frequently in order to intervene before the separation appears again.
If the horse needs hoof protection, we need you to be on board. It is our responsibility to warn you beforehand and to let you know when and if we think your horse should be comfortable barefoot, but you need to agree to put boots and pads on, or pay for hoof casts depending on what is needed. You need to understand that the transition can take time, have ups and downs, and is different for each horse.
We also need you to let us know of any issue, discomfort, lameness, etc. happening between the trims. It will enable us to adapt our trimming, or recommend a veterinary – or other health professional – visit if needed. It takes a team of equine professionals working together to bring a horse back to soundness.
You should agree to have your equipment – saddle in particular – checked and potentially get some instruction/coaching to see if you might be responsible for some of the horse’s issues (if for example you’re sitting very uneven in the saddle). Depending on your situation – private farm or boarding stable – we might ask you to make some modifications to your horse’s environment to improve their living conditions.
Because it takes so much commitment, I never try to convince an owner to switch to barefoot. You need to do your research, ask as many questions as you need, to be 100% sure that you want to give it a try. You can always ask for an assessment and have an open discussion with your hoof care provider on what could be achieved with your horse.