Feet First – Barefoot Performance and Hoof Rehabilitation by Nic Barker and Sarah Braithwaite is one of the best books on Hoof care I have seen. Nic and Sarah started on their path of having barefoot horses when 3 out of 5 of their horses went lame while in shoes. When conventional veterinary care was unable to help these horses the authors started on a self education program and this is the story they share in this book.
Feet First is very well organized and easy to read. I was impressed with how up to date the authors were on the latest hoof care research into the detailed anatomy and function of the hoof. The pictures and illustrations are excellent and give very good examples of healthy verses unhealthy hooves. The before and after natural hoof care pictures are equally impressive.
I was very pleased to see the authors shift the focus off of the barefoot horse trim itself and focus more on diet and overall management including adequate exercise. The diet recommendations are sound and uncomplicated and sources are listed for products that have proven beneficial. The authors give good detail into how to set up track systems that utilize your property in a way that keeps your horses moving on varied terrain.
Feet First contains an entire chapter on performance horses who are successfully competing without shoes and the testimonials from the owners are very positive. It seems the barefoot horse is less susceptible to injury because his proprioception is improved which allows him to make immediate adjustments to ground conditions.
Another chapter deals with long term case studies of lame horses being rehabbed out of shoes. Some cases span over 2 years which supports the transition from shoes to barefoot process sometimes being a long term project rather than quick fix.
I have several excellent books on hoof care and barefoot trimming but found this one to be the easiest to read and have for quick reference. The book can be purchased at halebooks Madalyn
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