Revenge of the Strasserites!


     Well doggy! Looks like my little article about the whole All-Natural, New-Age, Biodegradable, Vegan, Greenpeace-approved, Warm And Fuzzy, Utopian Hoof Care Approach (aka The Strasser Natural Barefoot Trim) has ruffled a few feathers out there.

     Here are a few selected responses and my replies.

     Their words are in italics. Mine are not... Except when my words are in italic boldface, which means I am quoting them quoting me. (Sheesh!)




From: "warbrookem@ampbanking.co.nz"


Not very impressed with your article on the Strasser Trim.

You may not like her methods, but you should talk to the people who are having great success with her methods.

You farriers force many people into going barefoot, but not turning up on time, or doing shoddy jobs on our horses precious hooves. You leave us know choice.

The words you have put into italics, are not quotes, they are you remodeling her words to suit your needs.

You are just peeved because you are losing customers to a better way!!!!





Dear warbrookem,



Not very impressed with your article on the Strasser Trim.

     Sorry to hear that. Was there a technical point you'd like to debate?


You may not like her methods, but you should talk to the people who are having great success with her methods.

     Every method, no matter how ill-concieved, has its ardent supporters. Some horses can withstand poor hoofcare (at least for a while). Some horse owners can delude themselves into thinking that a poorly cared-for horse is better off than he is. Some horses are shod so badly that even the Strasser trim and bare feet are an improvement.
     A few enthusiastic testimonials do not change the facts of the matter. There were many who swore by the Charlier shoe a while back. Despite the fact that hoof creams are demonstrably harmful to the hoof walls, the manufacturers have no trouble finding people to rave about their products.


You farriers force many people into going barefoot, but not turning up on time, or doing shoddy jobs on our horses precious hooves. You leave us know choice.

     Some farriers are less than exemplary about scheduling. Some are very reliable. The same can be said for any service professionals.
     Sometimes farriers have their schedules thrown off by horseowners who don't show up on time, or don't have their horses ready for service, or don't have their horses trained to stand for shoeing. That doesn't justify me claiming that "you horseowners" are all to blame.

     Qualified professional farriers aren't in the business of doing shoddy work, but some horseshoers are. There are established means for telling the difference.

     Difficulty in staying on schedule with a qualified farrier does not justify substituting gimmick trimming for proper hoofcare anymore than difficulty in finding good hay justifies substituting pine straw. There are qualified farriers out there, one simply has to be willing to make the effort to use one.
     On a side note, there is nothing wrong with keeping horses barefoot if that suits their use. It's only a problem if one has to modify the horse's use to allow him to stay barefoot. When a horse is suited to going barefoot, there's no reason to trim him out of balance as suggested by the Strasser trim.


The words you have put into italics, are not quotes, they are you remodeling her words to suit your needs.

     I never said or suggested that the italic texts were Strasser quotes. The parts that are enclosed in quotation marks are from major websites that promote the Strasser approach. If I took anything out of context, please explain exactly how I did so.
     In the article I said the "Barefoot for Soundness" approach was *attributed to* Hiltrud Strasser. Unless she's several centuries old, she didn't invent any of it. And I don't know that some of America's natural horse true believers aren't adding some of their own ideas to Strasser's in the translation process. Ultimately it doesn't matter. I was responding to the "Barefoot for Soundness" approach as it is currently being presented to the American public, and stated that intent in the article.


You are just peeved because you are losing customers to a better way!

     On the contrary... If the Strasser approach was a better way, I'd sell it and make money on it. It's far easier than balancing a horse correctly, and I wouldn't have to drive around a heavy rig. A few trimming tools in a motorcycle saddlebag and I'd be good to go.
     Better yet, I'd just go around doing little clinics "training" people to do the magic trim on their own horses. That's be MUCH easier than beating on steel and actually getting under horses for a living.

     Personally, I specialize in therapeutic farriery. So the whole "BfS" fad will probably make me some new clients. Some farriers in Europe are telling me that it's been a real business producer for them.
     It's just too bad some horses are going to suffer for it... Not only the ones who may be lamed directly, but the ones who are reduced in usefulness because their owners have been convinced that horseshoes are evil. When you are stuck on the soft stuff while everyone else is enjoying the rocky mountain trails, or left behind struggling with easyboots while everyone else hops on and rides away, horses stop being fun. When horses stop being fun, people start losing interest. When people start losing interest, horses wind up being ignored and eventually sold... And horses who've been owned by disinterested people for a while are prime candidates for the cannery.


                                                                       -DAVE.




From: Ovrdunit@aol.com

Hello,

I was provided a link to your website page containing your article about Strasser's work.

Snake Oil? Cult? Do you really think so? And the fact she comes from Europe means her information is better than any we'd find here in the USA seems a bit off to me. Jaime Jackson lives in Arkansas and he's been pushing this barefoot thing also but he comes to it from a farrier's point of view. Strasser's approach, aside from living in Germany, comes from a Veterinarian point of view. Are they both nuts? They certainly offer a different perspective than I've ever been exposed to before.

I'm almost 40 years old and have had horses since age 11. Not that I was all that concerned about my horse's hoof care, but I can recall the various shapes my horse's feet assumed through the years. I relied on my riding instructor's knowlege in addition to all the professional horse care people we had to treat our horses. For 7 years now I've been doing my own trim work. It was something my farrier helped me learn to do and came in handy when he moved away. I thought about attending a farriers school to learn how to shoe but didn't after hearing about this barefoot work by Jaime Jackson and Strasser. I feel our area (Asheville) has many farriers who are trained to shoe so my remaining a barefoot hoof care provider wouldn't be a problem.

I have found Strasser's work quite useful but maybe I'm an exception? Maybe.
All I can say is that I heard about this work, read the books, attended clinics to learn more and have been putting it to use ever since. I'm getting more clients because of this too. When the local horseowners become frustrated with their own farrier work and their horses are not getting any better, I get a call. I'm not doing anything the farriers couldn't do, just doing something different. Maybe it's just as well I never attended a farriers school after all. The farriers I'm "replacing" had training of some sort in addition to far more years practicing this than I. What's wrong with this picture? I'm doing something they aren't and it's working. Maybe they will want to know more? Then again, maybe they know it all.

So while this Strasser woman may seem like she's peddling snake oil or starting a cult to you, I can assure you that I'm just out here working and helping horses by using her ideas. They aren't new by any means but certainly not what I've seen through the years being practiced. The bottom lines is that she's bringing more attention to something that needs it evidently or people wouldn't be so eager to learn more about her work.

Sincerely,

Anne Coley,
Asheville, NC





Dear Anne,


Snake Oil? Cult? Do you really think so?

     For many advocates of the Strasser trim, yes... For them it's not an argument about biomechanics or husbandry, it's an almost religious vision of what they consider to be the Perfect Horsecare Approach. A vision that they don't want to subject to reason or facts.
     That little article of mine sure made the rounds of the 'Net more than I ever expected it to. I've had quite a bit of response. And yours is the first rational pro-Strasser letter.


And the fact she comes from Europe means her information is better than any we'd find here in the USA seems a bit off to me.

     Just a little poke at the strange American attitude that all things European are somehow more sophisticated than American-produced equivalents.


Jaime Jackson lives in Arkansas and he's been pushing this barefoot thing also but he comes to it from a farrier's point of view.

     Jaime did some interesting observations of feral horses' hooves and behaviors. They don't necessarily relate to proper upkeep of domestic horses, and I've heard him say so.


Are they both nuts?

     Jaime is. (But in an interesting sort of way.{g}) Have you ever met him? That doesn't mean his observations aren't valid... But they do get taken out of context frequently.
     I don't know Strasser, so I can't comment on her sanity... The direct translations of her theories I've seen aren't nuts. They're just based on an incomplete picture of how the hoof functions, and her ideas on the effects of shoes seem to be based on some rather bad shoeing approaches.


When the local horseowners become frustrated with their own farrier work and their horses are not getting any better, I get a call. I'm not doing anything the farriers couldn't do, just doing something different. Maybe it's just as well I never attended a farriers school after all. The farriers I'm "replacing" had training of some sort in addition to far more years practicing this than I. What's wrong with this picture? I'm doing something they aren't and it's working.

     Horseshoeing schools in America are ridiculously short-term, and *some* school instuctors don't know enough about true farriery to be allowed to practice, far less to instruct others. And some shoers work for decades without really learning anything new after leaving school except how to get shoes to stay on tight for a long time. (A skill real farriers don't brag about.)
     If a horse has been getting bad shoeing... Two inches of underrun heel, nailed behind the widest part of the hoof, maybe some sole pressure, overweight shoes, maybe those heel calks in the front for good measure... Then you come along and leave him barefoot and cut that heel back a bit, it's no wonder that he does better.
     If you're getting the call once the owners are already in the frustrated, "ready to try anything" mode, you get an unfair advantage over the regular shoer. He might've wanted to try shoeing the horse correctly, but had owners demanding that the shoes stay on and that the heel be left long.

     The Strasser trim is physiologically unsound... That being said, any trim that doesn't immediately lame the horse is better than a bad shoeing job, since the horse can more easily wear/grow the foot back into balance without the shoe.


So while this Strasser woman may seem like she's peddling snake oil or starting a cult to you, I can assure you that I'm just out here working and helping horses by using her ideas.

     (Note: I never used the term "this Strasser woman". Gender doesn't make any difference to me. There are very good farriers, vets, and researchers out there of both sexes... I just don't think Strasser is one of them.)

     The snake oil reference is quite appropriate... Strasser tours around selling her theories (and literature). She's sweeping through Canada now. Just like with snake oil, some people will swear the stuff worked wonders.
     The "cult" isn't Strasser's doing, even if she will benefit from it. It's an interesting social phenomenon though. Farriers deserve some of the blame for it. By refusing to formally distinguish qualified farriers from other shoers, and thus physiologically correct farriery from speed shoeing, we've allowed many horseowners to think that the bad shoeing that they're seeing is "normal"... No wonder they're ready to jump onto any bandwagon that comes along.

     You may indeed be helping horses. But I wouldn't credit Strasser's flawed ideas. If you did nothing more than pull off the bad shoes, burn incense, and chant a prayer to Poseidon, you would help them about as well.


They aren't new by any means but certainly not what I've seen through the years being practiced.

     Certainly nothing new about leaving horses barefoot if they can fulfill their intended use that way. It's just counterproductive to insist on keeping them barefoot when they could be more useful with proper shoeing.

     Nothing new about trimming back underrun, overlong heels. Strasser just takes it too far for no valid reason. (There is no practical benefit to having the P3's solar margin plane parallel to the ground, and there are known negative effects from the broken-back phalangeal axis that results from bringing the hoof angle down to 45 degrees.)


The bottom lines is that she's bringing more attention to something that needs it evidently or people wouldn't be so eager to learn more about her work.

     Unfortunately, the Strasser movement is throwing the baby out with the bath water. What needs to be brought to the attention of horseowners are the negative effects of *POOR* horseshoeing. The Strasser folks want to convict *ALL* horseshoeing... Blaming the shoes rather than the incorrect application.
     Horseowners often think that any shoes that stay on for a long time, look okay, and don't immediately lame the horse are "good shoeing". Seems like the trend in recent years has been towards people worrying only about the shoer keeping appointments and returning calls quickly, not whether he really knows farriery.
     Physiologically correct horseshoeing does not cause any of the problems that the Strasser advocates blame on horseshoes. But, since many people don't have a clue what correct horseshoeing is, they assume that the Strasser folks are right when they blame all horseshoes for the problems their poorly shod horses are having.

     Since you are having consistantly good results from your trimming, I suspect that you have modified the Strasser approach a bit, whether you consciously meant to or not... That shows a good knowledge of the workings of the hoof and a bit of common sense. The 4-Point Trim is like that too... If someone who knows basic farriery tries it, they often have good results. A less knowledgable person who doesn't know how to modify the approach for each individual and does it exactly per instructions will mess up some hooves big-time.

     I fear the Strasser movement will do two things...

     One: Unleash a bunch of hoof-butchers on the equine world, laming a lot of horses. Newbies right out of shoeing school will eat this Strasser thing up, as will a lot of other people who really shouldn't be trying to trim hooves. The trims will be inflicted upon previously sound horses by people who are just following the directions and don't really know what they're doing.

     Two: Make many horseowners view horseshoes as "evil", causing them to keep horses barefoot when their intended use requires shoes. The result is a horse with diminished capacity. A horse that is less fun to own... A horse that may be on his way to the sale sooner rather than later. Like yourself, I've been around horses since I was a child. Much of that time interacting with a large number of horse owners, and I've seen the pattern many times.


     As I've often said, there's nothing wrong with keeping horses barefoot if it suits their use. I never "sell" horseshoes. I tell folks to go out and use their horse as much as they want, wherever they want, as often as they want, without regard for his hooves. If he needs shoes, it'll become obvious pretty quickly. If not, that's fine with me. I get to go home a little earlier the next time I see him!


                          I hope you're enjoying this sudden Summertime.
                          My big colt is out of mothballs and wearin' saddle marks!

                                                   -DAVE.





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From: "anna larson" Subject: barefooted horses

I think you need to domore research before you start knocking the barefooted "fad" Some of us have had barefooted horses for over 25 years. I have taken a few of your paragraphs off your website and added more informatin for you to read. although I double you will even look into this further as you are so obviously brain dead from your comments on the web page.

"The fact is that physiologically correct horseshoeing does not cause hooves to contract, nor is it otherwise "bad" for the hooves in any way."

Maybe you should do more research!
Current studies have proven that no matter how "properly" the shoe is applied there is still restriction of the hoof expansion. In addition any hoof expansion that is possible with a shoe on is forced into un-natural positions which pre-disposes many horses to toe and quarter cracks.

Equine hoof function investigated by pressure transducers inside the hoof and accelerometers mounted on the first Phalanx. by P. Dyhre-Poulsen, H.H. Smedegaard, J. Roed, and E. Korsgaard in the Equine Veterinary Journal 1994 26(5) 362-366


The Following information was taken from the Ollov website:

The practical procedure of the study was made with the help of 5 healthy horses (warmblood), shod with rubber and steel shoes on the left foreleg respectively. The results were registered in stride (7 steps) and trot (10 steps), brought forwards at hand on a hard gravel surface. The expansion of the hoof was registered with the help of a potentiometer which was fastened with screws on the outer heel wall, see Figure 8. The potentiometer (ELFA) was connected by a thin steel wire (Monofil steel, 4/0, Ethicon) which was lead over a roller on the outer heel and was fastened on the inner heel.
The data was registered on a PC with an AD-card (DAQcard 700, National Instruments). The sampling frequency was 100 Hz. The potentiometer was adjusted with a caliper square. The average value for the expansion of the hoof was calculated for each horse which was the basis for the calculation of the following variables: Stance phase of the hoof, maximum expansion of the hoof (Max), minimum expansion of the hoof (Min), time measured in percent of the stance time for a maximum and a minimum as well as a 0- expansion, and a positive (AreaP) and negative (AreaN) area during the expansion curve.
The unshod hoof was not included in this study since there have been studies made previously on the unshod hoof. Generally it can be said that the unshod hoof has a larger expansion than the shod hoof. This is most probably due to the fact that when the shoe is nailed on to the hoof, the movement of the hoof walls will be locked in the toe and to a certain extend also in the side parts, which will result in a smaller hoof expansion.
The measured difference was in the magnitude of the expansion of the heels. With the .O. this expansion was on the average 1,3 mm in walk and 2,7 mm in trot while the corresponding values for the steel shoe were 0.9 resp. 2.3 mm. A comparison between walk and trot showed that the expansion in the heels was more than doubled in the transition from walk to trot, valid for both types of shoes. During the walk we have a statistic difference in the expansion of the hoof between the two shoes, Max (.O) = 1,3 mm compared with the Max (steel shoe) = 0,9 mm. There remains a difference in the trot, Max(.O.) = 2,7 resp Max (steel shoe) = 2,3 mm.
The graphs shown in figure 9 are normalized averages for the 5 horses with each 7 steps/horse and shoe in walk and 10 steps in trot. The curves show how the hoof expands and contracts in the heels during the stance phase. When the hoof lands, the heels start to expand, that means that the distance over the frog increases in the heels, then the expansion decreases in order to go over into a contraction during break over. The maximal expansion in the heels occurs earlier in walk than in trot. This depends on the fact that the load / hoof is larger during trot than it is during walk.
2.2.3 Conclusion and discussion
With the above mentioned procedure, Figure 8, a change was measured in the distance between the outer and inner heel. Vertically the change was measured between the under edge of the sole and the coronet. If this is representative for the so called hoof-mechanism, has not been examined in this study. But an assumption can be made on good grounds that the expansion in the heels is connected to the hoof- mechanism, Figure 7.
The results show that the .O. allows increased movement in the hoof compared to the traditional steel shoe, especially in walk (44% increase) and in trot (19% increase). In light of the generally accepted belief that a well functioning hoof mechanism is necessary for a good circulation of the blood in the hoof and thus directly necessary for a good horn-quality. The study, which now has been carried out, shows, that llv Original has a positive effect on the function of the hoof compared to a traditional steel shoe.

"The horse's hoof is indeed an amazing design, but its wearing surfaces are still organic material. Softer than rock and asphalt. And those hoof surfaces can, at best, only be replaced at the rate of 1/50th of an inch per day. If you're going to grind those wearing surfaces against rocks and sometimes pavement at 50-200 pounds per square inch on a frequent basis... Well, you don't have to be a master engineer to figure out what's eventually going to happen."

Ican ride up to 20-30 miles a day across lava rock, sand stone, and even pavement and I still need to trim the horses hooves.

"I doubt seriously that you can find many 30+ horses who have spent the bulk of their working lives barefoot except in the soft-sod lowlands. And you'd have trouble finding many owners of 30+ horses who know whether or not the horse was shod regularly 15 years ago. If there is any statistical evidence showing that barefoot horses live longer, it almost certainly includes small ponies... Who tend to live longer than horses by their nature, and are rarely shod or worked much in recent decades. That shod horses would experience more navicular problems and athletic injuries than barefoot horses is to be expected. It's not because of the shoes. It's because shod horses are more likely to be used hard. That's why they were shod in the first place! Founder, on the other hand, is not more common in shod horses. We see it more often in barefoot broodmares and ponies than in working shod horses."

This whole this is a bunch of bull. I have a 20 year old horse who I have has since he was 6 months old. He was not shod until he was about 8 years old. Within 3 years of being shod, he developed both contracted heels and sever lameness (not because of improper shoeing either) just because of shoeing alone. He recovered after being returned to barefooted means. and as for the founder, We have had barefooted horses for over 25 years and bred many mares. We have not had a single case of laminitis or founder in all that time.


"More importantly, the notion that iron (actually steel) shoes significantly reduce normal hoof flexing is incorrect. Yes, steel shoes are rigid, but they are not nailed to the entire perimeter of the hoof wall."

Read the research at the top again!!!!




Dear Ms. Larson,


     Amazing this Internet thing... A little newsletter article from last year still making the rounds and ticking people off. I wonder if it's been edited or reworked somewhere along the line, since people seem to be reading only parts of what I said, while inferring what I didn't say.


Some of us have had barefooted horses for over 25 years.

     And I said that all horses MUST have shoes ALL the time?


I double you will even look into this further as you are so obviously brain dead

     I "double" that I shall be able to match wits with one who resorts to personal attacks so early in the discussion.


"The fact is that physiologically correct horseshoeing does not cause hooves to contract, nor is it otherwise "bad" for the hooves in any way."
Maybe you should do more research!

     Obviously. Over twenty years spent successfully caring for the hooves of thousands horses and the highest professional farrier credential in America don't count for anything. What do I know?


Current studies have proven that no matter how "properly" the shoe is applied there is still restriction of the hoof expansion.

     For such a study to be conducted, the horses would have to be properly shod. Research horses almost never are... Such a study would also assume that "expansion" (the flexing of the hoof capsule under normal load) is a good thing. This assumption is without basis.


In addition any hoof expansion that is possible with a shoe on is forced into un-natural positions which pre-disposes many horses to toe and quarter cracks.

     There are shoeing approaches that will result in toe and quarter cracks most of the time. They are either the result of a shoer who doesn't know how to shoe properly, or one who is more concerned with keeping the shoes on in the mud than the long-term soundness of the horse... In other words, bad shoeing.
     Of course, a lot of barefoot horses develop toe cracks and pop quarter cracks as well. Many are fixed simply by trimming them into balance and putting on shoes.


Equine hoof function investigated by pressure transducers inside the hoof and accelerometers mounted on the first Phalanx.

     That's sure doing it the hard and expensive way... Not to mention in a way that invalidates the data before you collect it. (Or are you going to tell me that they mounted gadgets *inside* a live horse's hoof and expected him to function normally?)


The Following information was taken from the Ollov website

     Uh... Ollov is in the business of selling fancy horseshoes. They have a vested interest in "proving" that their shoes are good and ordinary shoes are "bad". They controlled the tests, and got to spin the results as being pro-Ollov. (Once again making the assumption that more wall flexing is always better.)
     I actually don't have a problem with Ollov shoes. But they don't work any special magic.


Ican ride up to 20-30 miles a day across lava rock, sand stone, and even pavement and I still need to trim the horses hooves.

     Good for you. (Wish I could find the time and energy to ride so much!) Around here we have to ride over sharp granite chunks and large screen gravel that sometimes cut bits out of steel shoes.
     My personal mount of 20 years still grows a fast enough foot to go barefoot for heavy riding on abrasive surfaces (lava rock, sandstone, pavement). But that's not we have around here.


This whole this is a bunch of bull.

     Ah... More indisputable logic.


I have a 20 year old horse who I have has since he was 6 months old. He was not shod until he was about 8 years old. Within 3 years of being shod, he developed both contracted heels and sever lameness (not because of improper shoeing either) just because of shoeing alone.

     Okay... You are saying that a perfectly sound 8 year old gets shod, and three years later he's lame with contracted heels, but he was NOT SHOD BADLY? It was proper shoeing that wrecked him?
     That's got to make me wonder exactly what you'll accept as proper shoeing!

     I have a 21 year old who I've had since he was 4 months old. He rarely wore shoes until we moved up here into the hills when he was about seven years of age. Three years of wearing shoes later he was still sound. Ten years later, still sound. Still sound today, despite being a quarter horse. (And we've all heard they are predisposed to contracted heels and laminitis, right?) He doesn't know what bute tastes like, either.
     I wonder how this is possible, since all shoeing ruins horses' feet?


as for the founder, We have had barefooted horses for over 25 years and bred many mares. We have not had a single case of laminitis or founder in all that time.

     I never said that going barefoot causes laminitis.

     Broodmares founder (relatively) often because of weight gain, hormonal imbalances, and retained placentas. Ponies founder because they're usually underworked and overfed. Broodmares and ponies just happen to be barefoot because of their lifestyles.
     Horses that are kept fit by frequent riding or driving tend to be less likely to founder. These horses just happen to be more likely shod due to their lifestyle.

     The net result is that most of the founders I see are barefoot horses. That doesn't mean that being barefoot caused the founder. But it does tend to counter the notion (suggested by a Strasser supporter) that shoes cause laminitis.


"More importantly, the notion that iron (actually steel) shoes significantly reduce normal hoof flexing is incorrect. Yes, steel shoes are rigid, but they are not nailed to the entire perimeter of the hoof wall."
Read the research at the top again!


     FACT: The heels of the steel shoe I nail onto a horse's foot today will not contract together over any period of time because steel is rather rigid.
     FACT: In six weeks, I'll reset that shoe without closing its heels further, and it will STILL FIT.
     CONCLUSION: The heels of the foot did not "contract".

     It doesn't take a bunch of labcoats to determine how a hoof flexes. Look at a worn shoe that was properly applied. The heel quarters move out when the foot loads, and in when it unloads, creating a telltale wear pattern on the hoof side of the shoe. Doesn't sound like the hoof capsule is exactly immobilized to me. The rest of the wall as affixed to the rigid coffin bone, and could only flex substantially by ripping the laminae, shoe or no shoe.
     Interestingly enough, the soundest horses show the least "expansion" wear. They have strong, rigid walls that only flex when overloaded. They act as emegency springs, not worn-out shocks.


     Finally, please don't think that I only pick on Strasser... There are lots of "innovative new approaches" promoted as solutions when the real trouble is that noone is facing up to the actual problem. It's like the horrific bits and bridles used to solve problems that SHOULD be fixed through decent rein handling skills. It's like people flocking to buy into ancient indian pseudopsychological horse communication magic when what they REALLY need to do is simply log some hours/miles on the horse.
     The problem isn't that traditional farriery approaches are bad. The problem is that people are hiring horseshoers who are not competent to apply those traditional approaches, or are otherwise dropping the ball on traditional hoof care.

                                                                       -DAVE.






From: "Daniel E. Hofford"

New Age Snake Oil?


Can you imagine an oncologist faced with new information about cancer taking the attitude you farriers take? What a joke. The only legitimate stance for you to take is to ask for case studies of horses who were foundered or diagnosed with navicular and treated by these methods. Then you might have something intelligent to say, but to dismiss this evidence, to dismiss Strasser, Jackson et al, and the work they have compiled without looking at it, without seeing horses who are being treated that way, is to consign yourself to a 'Hall of Idiots.'

Now, then, my challenge to you and every vet or farrier out there with a closed mind is to provide a case study(ies) of horses you have treated who were foundered or diagnosed with navicular. From day one up to two years out. But I want to see the changes you effect on a foundered hoof or one with navicular. Please, either put up or shut up.

Dan





Dan,


Can you imagine an oncologist faced with new information about cancer taking the attitude you farriers take?

     The problem is that nothing from Strasser or the current barefoot movement is new. It's all been done before.
     Most oncologists do take a rather "closed-minded" view of treating tumors with magical chants, snake oil, and other remedies known to be useless or counterproductive...

     And the fact that some people had tumors heal despite the use of snake oil does not prove that snake oil cures tumors.


The only legitimate stance for you to take is to ask for case studies of horses who were foundered or diagnosed with navicular and treated by these methods.

     See above...

     The fact is that a lot of horses are lame thanks to *bad* shoeing and management. Pull off the poorly applied shoes and let the horses out of the 24/7 box stall lifestyle, and they will get better.
     This doesn't mean that all shoeing is bad, or that the "Natural Horse" approach is the best way... It simply means that a bad trimming job is better than a bad shoeing job (because a horse can at least improve on bad trimming through growth/wear pattern), and that neglect in the form of sticking a horse out in a big pasture is better than neglect by sticking a horse in a stall without regular work.


but to dismiss this evidence, to dismiss Strasser, Jackson et al, and the work they have compiled without looking at it

     I met Jackson, heard him lecture, and saw his video & slideshows before any of the current "Barefoot for Soundness" stuff got going in America. I don't dismiss him. I merely take his observations in context.


without seeing horses who are being treated that way

     Ah! But there's the thing. I have been seeing horses treated this way for many, many years. Do you think Strasser invented the concept of turning horses loose in a big old pasture and not feeding them any grain, while leaving them barefoot and chopping their heels down? There were plenty of rednecks WAY ahead of the Strasserites on that score... Only they weren't clever enough to espouse a new-age horsekeeping philosophy to rationalize their ways... They were just too lazy/cheap to build a stables, clean stalls, buy good feed, or hire a competent farrier.
     And many horses kept this way did indeed wind up lame. Some eventually got better despite the way they were kept. Some didn't.


Now, then, my challenge to you and every vet or farrier out there with a closed mind is to provide a case study(ies) of horses you have treated who were foundered or diagnosed with navicular. From day one up to two years out.

     That is actually a good idea. We just had a crippled 8yr old gelding arrive a few days ago, diverted from slaughter. He's diagnosed with ringbone, but looking at all the clues and the latest rads, I think his primary problem is "navicular". (The exostosis being a minor, secondary problem.)
     I was thinking about doing a continuing case report page for him on the website. I expect to have him serviceably sound and working by Springtime.

     I suppose I could sort through my records, and go borrow the rads and notes from my vets, to compile case data on horses I've worked on... I've got some pretty dramatic ones. Bilateral ruptured-sole founder cases, even sinkers, who went back to work within 18 months and were returned to being "radiographically normal"... Although less impressive, I prefer the cases where I'm called in early enough to stop the founder before it gets out of control.
     Navicular cases I'm almost embarrassed to report on, as most of them are so easy to correct through basic support shoeing and improvements in daily management.

     Of course, there are already volumes of case reports available from clinical research farrier and vet groups like the International Equine Podiatry Center.

     Still, anecdote is not plural of data... It's possible (not friggin' likely, but possible) that the big bay who couldn't even stand up on his bloody-soled, foundered feet before I found a way to support and protect them with heartbars and hospital plates would have survived without my help. Maybe, if I'd left him alone, he'd've gone from having the vets want to put him down to having them say they couldn't tell he'd ever been foundered in even less time than it took with my horseshoes under him.

     The truth is that you can get testimonials singing the praises of anything, and valid control studies of trimming/shoeing techniques are pretty much an impossibility. But there are known factors of physics, anatomy, and biomechanics which are not subject to opinion.

     Fact: Hoof horn, no matter how high its quality, is an organic material subject to wear on harder, inorganic materials.

     Fact: Even the most robustly healthy horse can grow new hoof horn at only a limited rate. If wear outpaces growth for long enough, the internal structures of the hoof will be exposed to damage.

     Fact: Steel is more durable than hoof horn, and can be replaced as often as needed in high wear conditions, protecting the internal structures of the hoof indefinately.

     Fact: Lowering hoof angle from 55 degrees down to 45 degrees forces the foot to raise the horse about an extra half-inch with every step, increasing the stess on the anterior wall by over 80%.


     Before I retire to the "Hall of Idiots", maybe you'd like to explain to me exactly what I said in the article that was wrong...

     Years ago I wrote an article for the Paint Horse Journal exploring how western pleasure horses devolved into the freakish, miserable-looking peanut-rollers of the day. Competitors realized what was wrong with horses who were losing early western pleasure classes... The horses were jogging and loping too fast, not in the relaxed, leisurely way you'd want to go on a lazy Sunday afternoon pleasure ride. They were carrying their heads in the rider's chest and stargazing, fighting control. They were wringing their tails angrily. Their riders were having to constantly check or hold them in...
     Instead of recognizing those faults and merely correcting them, human nature being what it is, folks went to the opposite extreems. If fast gaits were bad, hoof-dragging near-zero impulsion trick gaits were good. If high heads were bad, horses going with their noses in the dirt must be good. If wringing tails were bad, completely dead tails must be good. If tight reins were bad, reins with so much slack the horse might trip over them must be good.

     The Natural Horse movement seems to be much the same way.
     Yes, physiologically incorrect shoeing of horses 12 months a year starting from two years of age is bad news. Keeping horses in stalls 90%+ of the time is bad. Feeding excessive amounts of grain feeds instead of hay to horses with low energy needs is bad...
     But this doesn't mean that all shoeing is bad. Or that horses should never be stalled at all. Or that no horse should ever be grained.

     There is a balanced approach in-between somewhere.



                                                                                      -DAVE.





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