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Re: RC: Re: Barefoot, reply to Bob Morris

> Actually, the shod hoof with no pads has much more opportunity to have 
sole and frog contact with the terrain (and hence circulatory pumping action) 
than does the booted hoof.  Unless, of course, your horse is constantly on 
surfaces such as pavement.  Out here in dirt and rocks, the frog is making 
contact just about as well in our shod horses as in our barefoot ones, 
judging by the tracks...
> Heidi

It's not the contact with the ground that allows hoof mechanism, it's
the expansion and contraction of the hoof, particularly in the heel area.
The hoof expands when it hits the ground, allowing blood to enter, then 
contracts when it is lifted, pushing the blood out.  The presence of a
shoe not only prevents the expansion and contraction (try pulling the
ends of a horseshoe apart), it prevents blood from entering the hoof
capsule in the first place.  Obviously some blood gets in, but not as much
as when the hoof is bare and properly trimmed (even bare feet may not have
full hoof mechanism if they are contracted).  Also, the expansion and
contraction provides shock absorption, protecting the joints and soft
tissues further up the horse.  Hoof boots allow the hoof mechanism to
function because they allow the heel to move (much like the horse is
landing on smooth ground), and while they are not a perfect solution,
they're not too shabby for a start!  Hopefully as we get more
knowledgeable, better and better options will start becoming available,
and more high-tech materials will allow the boots to become lighter,
thinner, and better-fitting.  Just look at how far basketball shoes have


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