Hawaii Natural Hoofcare
Susanella Noble, CNBBT
Holistic Hoof Care Practitioner
Certified Natural Balance Barefoot Trimmer
Holistic Lameness Specialist
Introducing my eTextbook
Featured Clinician at the Hawaii Horse Expo and
The International Lameness Prevention Conference
"Susanella shows how to maintain healthy feet
without shoes." --West Hawaii Today
A wellness trim follows Mother Nature's blueprint allowing that every hoof is unique and always keeping the weight-bearing sole and the frog sacred. Hoof walls are genetically programmed to regenerate 20 miles worth of growth every day so a good, frequent trim on a domestic horse can imitate the wear a horse would get in the wild.
Basic wellness trimming alone can achieve morphological, healing changes!
Equine science has repeatedly proven that shoes are harmful to horses and that no horse can truly be sound until it is barefoot. The hoof is a neurosensory organ which is constantly transmitting information about the environment to the horse's brain. The studies of Dr. Robert Bowker DVM have shown that within an hour of nailing on shoes, horses lose 50% of the circulation and feeling in their feet. We are no longer entitled to have opinions about whether or not horses need shoes for "protection or support" when science proves otherwise.
I have to admit that I've kept my horses in shoes most of my life....until I realized that it simply wasn't right to nail metal shoes onto living feet. The science is available to all horse lovers around the world and the barefoot revelation has been making huge headlines in all the equine disciplines. It took 60 million years of evolution for horses to evolve their perfect hooves on rocky terrain, better than any shoes man could nail on their feet. I know that the living hoof has the amazing ability to remodel itself even from catastrophic insult and I have learned the hard way that you can't heal hooves with shoes. In the words of Albert Einstein, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
I work hand-in-hand with the laws of nature and prove that the holistic approach produces a healthy, happy horse and I now believe that we can actually nurture BETTER hooves than Mother Nature!
All of my clients are successfully going barefoot here in Hawaii, even on our sharp lava rocks chasing cows, leaping jumps, playing polo, prancing dressage, slogging through mud and water while living and working on their perfect, genetically-programed hooves. Science shows that horses continue to grow until they are at least six years old. When shoes are hammered on before the coffin bone has finished developing the horses will have smaller hooves, constricted heels with underdeveloped digital cushions and lateral cartilages. They may never fully recover proper hoof function but with the use of hoof boots they can perform above and beyond than with debilitating iron shoes with more stamina and agility.
Clients with serious pathologies are protected and rehabilitated by casting tape which conforms to the individual hoof and sets up when the weight is loaded to promote healthy remodeling of the hoof capsule. There is no magic wand = it takes TIME for horses with distortions to grow new capsules with improved hoof function that can withstand all terrains. I daily study the research to actually HEAL hooves and the success of my practice is proving that I'm on the right track (see The Journal Of Equine Veterinary Science). Healing requires cooperation and commitment from the owners to monitor diet, environment and exercise. Barehoof horses will thank you by being more sure-footed and confident, happier and healthier.
There are four requirements for keeping domestic horses barefoot:
Some of the top reasons that shoes are detrimental to horses:
Reduces the circulation in the hooves & throughout the whole body
Destroys sensory proprioception
Concussive effects cause minute, spiral fractures
Prevents normal expansion/contraction of hoof capsule
Raises the sole, bars and frog off the ground
Creates pheripheral weight-loading on the hoof walls
Inhibits stamina and longevity
Thehorse.com reports in a poll that 63% of owners are keeping their horses barefoot. We the horse owners need to demand better "green" trimming techniques from traditional farriers and force the change that horses deserve after hauling us into the 20th Century of civilization. We are starting to see barefoot horses winning in flat-races, steeplechases, endurance races, rodeos, cross-country and ordinary horses who tote their weekend riders around. We have great scientific researchers and pioneer farriers in the field of barefoot practices to show us how to follow the wild horse as our guide. With the state-of-the-art hoof boots available today, there is no justifiable reason to nail a shoe on a horse anymore.
"I learned than many of the things we were taught in veterinary school were wrong. We need to think for ourselves." -- Dr. Robert Miller, D.V.M.
"It is physiologically impossible for a steel shoe to offer anything therapeutic or beneficial to a horse." -- Dr. Tomas Teskey D.V.M. Please read his great article, The Unfettered Foot
Wikipedia says: Iron horseshoes may have been invented by the Roman legions. They were used in Europe during the Middle Ages at a time when nobility began to live in castles. For the fist time, horses were kept in stalls, often for long periods of time if the castle was under seige. As the horses were forced to stand in their excrement, the ammonia and lack of circulation to the hooves began to take a toll. The health of the hoof began to deteriorate, and the horse began to exhibit signs of hoof degeneration and hoof pain. This led to the invention of the horse shoe.
60 million years of evolution has given horses the perfect feet. It only takes a few minutes of poor farriery to ruin them. My practice is devoted to reversing the damage.