Making the Decision

Evolution of the hoof

  • 50 million years of evolution from multi-toed forest dweller to 1 toe grazing animal
  • Unrestricted movement in a natural environment
  • Growth rate that equals wear rate in a healthy hoof

Are metal shoes really needed? – some known damaging effects

  • Hoof wall cannot naturally wear through abrasion
  • Applying a steel shoe to the hoof reduces the natural shock absorption by 60 – 80%
  • Nails puncture and damage the hoof capsule
  • Negative centrifugal effect from the weight of the steel shoe on the joints
  • Vibration of the steel shoe on hard ground damages living cells
  • Impairs the natural hoof mechanism and disrupts circulation
  • Contracts and deforms the natural hoof shape – bone & capsule
  • Creates safety issues – risk of injury from steel shoes for horse and human

Horses do not require steel horse shoes, quite the contrary as they are infact detrimental to the horse. Steel shoes were invented for humans so they could use the horse, that beautiful and majestic creature, beyond its physical capability.Why is it that the human believes he can improve on nature and 50 million years of evolution via the use of steel?

Julie Leitl f.SHP

"The present day paradigm of equine hoof care fails to both define and solve some of the most common health problems seen in the equine industry. Traditional hoof care methods are unable to maintain soundness, nor bring lasting relief to ailing horses due to reliance on traditional farrier methods which are incompatible with the normal physiologic needs of equine species. The new paradigm of hoof care respects the hoof’s ability to protect sensitive inner structures, adjust itself in response to the environment, promote proper circulation, exfoliate old tissue, replace itself over time and have a keen ability to sense the environment. Application of steel shoes prevents all of these vital functions and alters the form of hooves to such severe degrees that shod horses can not be deemed sound. Instead of providing the hoof protection, support and traction, steel shoes promote weakening and deterioration of the hoof, disrupt natural support mechanisms and disallow normal traction on all terrains. Protection for the hoof should be afforded the horse through the use of boots made of dynamic materials which complement the nature of the hoof. Veterinarians and other equine professionals are obligated to examine the evidence that shoeing horses is harmful and replace traditional hoof care practices with techniques that keep horses sound, return lame horses to health, and abandon the use of nailed on shoes, thus doing no harm to the animals"...

Tomas G. Teskey DVM

"You have probably guessed that I am an advocate of the barefooted horse. That's the way he was made; that's the way he should go. All too little attention has been paid to that 'natural' foot. Certain ideas have developed over the centuries as to what the foot should look like and too many feet are forced into that mold."...

Professor James Rooney from his book 'The Lame Horse'.

"Currently, only one part of the body of one animal on the planet can be legally immobilized or have its bone alignment altered by someone who is not a doctor. Horses have and are still suffering this injustice"...

Author Unknown

A shod horse walking on asphalt (bitumen or concrete) receives 3 times the impact force as an unshod horse trotting on asphalt.

Luca Bein

English Veterinarian Bracy Clark chronicled the deforming effect of shoeing by taking plaster casts of horse's hoof before shoeing (previously never shod), after 1 year, 2 years and at 3 years of shoeing, showing the increasing contraction (compression/shrinking) in the hoof..........and that was in 1809..........nearly 200 years ago!