posted by Jean Luc Cornille from United States on 28.01.12 17:32
One cannot be an expert on everything and I do not pretend to be an expert in shoeing or trimming. There are very good studies published on both barefoot trimming and shoeing techniques. Emotionally, the thought of not having to put shoes on is attractive but the reality is different. I have students who have bare foot horses and others who have horses wearing shoes. When the situation allows bare foot, it is great but the footing has to be perfect, both in the training ring and the turn out. I know a few situations where perfect footing allows barefoot horses to train at grand prix level. When you have to show in different and not always best conditions, the luxury is not possible. There are also many instances where the situation is not as great and the rider has to deal with rocks, or abrasive footing like sand. When I receive a horse in training which does have shoes, I do not change unless it is necessary for the restoration of correct kinematics. Same when I receive a horse that is barefoot. I follow the research with interest and see great discoveries but also utopic and unfounded theories. I am not impressed by big names. I believe in factual documentation. I also believe in listening to the horse. You have to understand that cases that are presented to us for soundness issues, are in their last stretch; everything else has already been attempted.
Often, as we explain how we restored soundness, we receive infantile comments such a fitting the saddle or removing the shoes. All that has been attempted long before the horse come s to us. The reason why we succeed is first because we focus on the source of the problem. We have understood, such as for navicular syndrome, that the sole real cure is to suppress the cause of the abnormal stress. The other reason is that we respect the findings of previous experts. We do not try again the same thing if a competent vet or trainer already did it and did not succeed. Many trainers who pretend to reeducate horses are doing the same thing than the previous trainer did. They have so much ego that they think that this time it will work because they are who they are. If it was not playing with the horse’s soundness, it would almost be funny. Are we following the evolution of barefoot trimming. Yes certainly. Are we following the evolution of conventional shoeing, yes we do. Are we ready to risk the horse’s soundness or chance of recovery because we want to devote our faith to one solution only, no; absolutely not. The next immersion is going to have one day focusing on shoeing technique and how they influence the horses’ limbs kinematics. This includes good influences and bad influences. This demands a farrier who has an extensive experience and is knowledgeable enough to answer pertinent questions and sustain intelligent discussion. We are planning to have later another day presenting the same approach with an expert on barefoot trimming.
Good question. Thank you.