Finally, we take a look at how the horse is moving after the first barefoot trim is complete.  From start to finish, the process takes from 1 to 2 hours.

Before you know it, the shoes are off and its time to start the first barefoot trim.  Each horse has different needs and issues to take into consideration.  If necessary, the horse is measured and fitted for boots to help him transition, expecially if he is tender footed.

Tracy comforts her horse before we get started.  It is completely understandable to be a little nervous.  But after much research, Tracy was very confident that she and Tilo were headed in the right direction. First we take photos of all the hooves from all directions. This provides important baseline information for future use.  Photos are taken again after the trim.

Being open-minded has its Advantages

The story always seems to start in somewhat the same way.  For people that are considering the barefoot option for their horses, they've probably been told by a more "experienced" horse person that their horse could never go barefoot because either his hooves are too soft, or they do too much trail riding or simply because the horse has always worn shoes.  Perhaps these possibilities have some merit, but then again so does going barefoot.  I respect those farriers that have spent their lives immersed in applying iron shoes to horses.  I just happen to believe that, in most cases, there is a better way.

I hope that by sharing some of the experiences of my clients, you can understand the process, the fears and the joys of freeing your horse from an age old tradition that might not be in his best interests.

The Barefoot Transition:  Tracy and "Tilo"

Growing up on a farm, Tracy Gentile learned horsemanship basics from her mother who was experienced in dressage and rode Western.  While a sudden move to the city as a child prompted the sale of horses and the farm, Tracy never lost her passion for horses and promised herself someday that, when the time was right, she would purchase a horse.  That day eventually came!  Tracy was methodical about the process. She first found local, natural horsemanship boarding facility (Sedona Rose Ranch, in Boston, New York), and they guided her towards finding a good match.  Shortly thereafter, Tracy discovered "Tilo", a very well trained Dunalino Quarter Horse that happened to be a perfect match for her interest in pleasure and trail riding.  After she brought Tilo home to Sedona Rose, Tracy began to notice that Tilo seemed to drop her should a bit while she was riding her.  It was subtle, but Tracy knew something just wasn't right.  She began researching everything she could about natural horse care and became enlightened to the possibility of removing Tilo's traditional horse shoes and going barefoot. Tracy has graciously offered to let us tell her story.  


Joe Lyford's Natural Hoof Care

Serving Western New York & the Southern Tier to help horses live a more natural life