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Re: RC: Re: Barefoot/Strasser/fads...

In a message dated Thu, 28 Jun 2001 12:55:28 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Abigail Aiyagari <> writes:

I think that what people are missing here is that the Strasser
method...or Jaime Jackson's method...was developed based on research done
on the feet of wild horses.  As such, people have to understand that the
hoof condition that is natural to a horse can ONLY be duplicated if a
fairly strict adherence to as-close-as-natural living conditions is
accomplished by the horse owner. >>

That is a fair and accurate statement.  One of the "conditions" of wild horses is that they do not carry riders.  Another "condition" of wild horses is that for the most part, if they get sore or tender, they can slow down or quit.  They are nomadic, but they rarely travel at high speed for prolonged periods over difficult terrain.  In fact, one of the most reliable means of capture of wild horses in the early days was to make them travel for several miles, pursuing them on shod horses, until they were sufficiently sore to be able to capture them more easily.  The shod horses also had the disadvantage of carrying riders--and yet they could "ride down" the wild horses over time, largely due to the excess hoof wear the wild horses encountered when forced to travel unaccustomed distances.

<<constant trimming, especially of the quarters
and bars, to make up for what the horse is not wearing on his own>>

Certainly NOT a condition the wild horses had!

<< 10-20
miles of movement per day, under saddle or at liberty.  Now think about
this for a minute, and you'll realize that it is not unreasonable to think
that a horse living under these conditions could EASILY do a 50 mile ride
with no shoes.  >>

Actually, no, I don't "realize" that such a horse could "easily" do 50 miles.  The mileage that wild horses do is mostly at a walk, other than occasional short bursts.  And if the horse's wear pattern is adjusted to his 10-20 miles per day, and he is turned out doing at least a part of that daily, he should be pretty much even.  But then you throw in a 50-mile day, carrying a rider, and going steadily at speeds the horse does not travel steadily in a wild state, and you have the formula for more wear than there is excess hoof to accommodate it.

For what it's worth--I've seen a fair number of Strasser-type barefoot horses complete LD's with no difficulty, provided the terrain was not severe.  I've seen damn few do occasional 50's without showing tenderness.  I have yet to see one campaign a series of rides and stay sound, or do a 100 and stay sound.  I understand that a few have.  But as the work load goes up, the success of this method goes way down. 

This does not mean that the method is "wrong."  It simply means that it has serious limitations in application to the sport of endurance.  You can certainly make your own choices--is it more important for you that your horse be barefoot, or that you be a serious contender in this sport?  There comes a point where barefoot becomes the limiting factor in this sort of competition--unless your horse has a weaker area that limits him first.  As one poster said earlier--if the horse is too tender, that's simple--you just lay him off.  This is not an acceptable scenario for someone trying to achieve maximum fitness--when all that lies between the horse and continuing to work sound is a set of shoes!  We also help our horses out with "unnatural" things such as tack, electrolytes, prepared mineral supplements, etc.  They have their problems as well, but we learn to deal with them as precisely as we can, and go from there.

You may be horseman enough not to cross that fine line of exceeding the limits with your own horse--and if so, more power to you.  If you're not, then the ride vets have to make the choice for you when your horse has had enough. 


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