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

In a message dated Fri, 29 Jun 2001  2:38:02 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Darolyn Butler-Dial <> writes:

<< BUTLER:  One thing you are forgetting here is that the riders chasing the
wild horses were in (most cases) using several different chase horses which
they positioned so they might keep the wild horses on the move.  >>

Most accounts I've read and most oldtimers I've talked to say differently--they used one good horse (which they called their "whip") and one rider stayed with the herd until they were a combination of tired/footsore.  Basically, a shod, fed horse could do this in fairly short order.  Only then did the group come out on multiple horses and start the catching process--or in some cases, if they were lucky to have obliging terrain, they might well utilize a natural ravine to get the horses into some sort of a holding corral.  Others hastened the process with domesticated horses that knew the way to the corral, and turned them out.  But in this neck of the woods, it was one horse and rider that did the wearing down part...

<<Heidi:  Certainly NOT a condition the wild horses had!

BUTLER: Oh... but it was... if you view many of the wild feet that not only
Jamie Jackson shows & has studied, but many of the other studies done on
hundreds of subjects the bars are naturally worn down & the quarters are
worn more shallow. >>

But Darolyn, this should be happening as well with your turned-out horse!  It certainly does with mine--my broodmares and youngsters RARELY require a trim if they are out 24/7.  So why is this "unnatural" condition a part of the method?  That's my point exactly--in nature, this occurs by itself.  But everyone I've talked to about these barefoot horses seems to think that "our" horses still need intervention by trimming.

<<BUTLER:  I started my herd "barefootin' " last Oct/Nov.  by Jan. 1 2001 all
but 1 or 2 horses out of the 40 that live at Cypress Trails were barefooted.
I competed on Bronze Star (aka Jedi-whom was just lost in the flood) on Dec.
30 in a 50 miler only days after his 1st Strasser trim.  Granted the ground
was soft...>>

Yes, there is always that "granted" part.  I imagine most of my horses could do a few 50's on soft ground as well.  But that isn't what I find when I get out to XYZ ride, in most cases--at least not in this part of the world.  Also, our ground is dry and rocky.  Our horses that are out and very active have very little excess hoof.  When you add work to their normal activity, there IS NOT much hoof to spare.  Now, these horses are the sort that the farriers exclaim about--what thick walls, what tough soles, etc.  Had a very interesting illustration of this when I moved my bachelor herd (5 young stallions ranging from 4 to 8) up here this spring.  They have been out 24/7 all their lives (except the 8-year-old, and he's been out 2 years), and grew up in central Oregon lava rocks.  They wintered on a hill with sagebrush and rock with a little bit of pasture below.  Actually had just a tad of excess hoof on them when we brought them up here to Tendoy in March.  They are my most act!
ive group, by far, and they coul
d view the mares from their new digs.  Footing was the same as they had had in their winter pasture.  In LESS THAN ONE WEEK, every single one of them had worn their feet down to a perilous point and were gimpy.  Well, they weren't being ridden, so no, they didn't get shoes--it just became the limiting factor to their activity.  

This has been our experience with starting youngsters as well.  Not a one of our horses EVER gets shoes until they are well started under saddle.  But there comes a point where hoof growth simply DOES NOT meet the demands of a workload beyond their normal activity level.   

<<I use him as a case study to follow thru.   Two weeks later he
completed another 50 miler, 3 weeks later he completed a 100 Miler in the
LBJ Grasslands ride.  The first 20 was on horrible hard gravel roads... I ez
booted him (in front only) for the first loop, then removed the boots for
the balance of the 80.  I did go slower than I might have with shoes, but I
did go progressively faster thru out the ride as I gained confidence that he
was ok barefoot.  In fact my last loop was at the same mph as the winner of
the ride.

In April he did the LBJ 100 mile course again (sans the gravel roads-which
management had eliminated due to everyone's' complaint), and finished in
fine shape, with absolutely minimal wear on his hooves.  This was his
demonstration 100 Miler for the Pan Am nomination.  I had to be pretty
confident with this or I certainly wouldn't have risked that demo ride.

In May he competed 50 miles in the Crockett National Forest, mainly forest
trails, but a good sprinkling of gravel roads.  I avoided them when possible
by riding in the bar ditch.  He finished
in excellent shape & I proudly sent the BC judging sheets to the Head
selector to look over.
Unfortunately I will not get to see how perfect his feet may have been in a
year... but I think you get the jest of it.>>

I'm happy for your success.  I also understand from colleagues in Texas that on one ride alone, SEVEN horses with Strasser trims were removed from competition, not from stone bruises, but from suspensory damage.  Apparently the heel wear with a lot of miles and concussion causes far too many barefoot horses to end up with the equivalent of long-toe-low-heel, even though the toes do not appear to be long.  This sure dovetails right along with my own experience with barefoot horses--but I've never been willing to ride one to that point of damage.  Sure points out to me that the horse that can do what you have done with yours is the rare exception, not the norm!

<<Now, in all honesty  & in order not to paint too "rosy a picture"......  I
have no rocks or really hard surfaces to train on... my horses have a
distinct disadvantage when they do have to compete in the rocks.  I use
either ez boots, horsneakers, or shoes depending on the horse and/or the
importance of the race.  >>

In other words, you are willing to trade the risk of damage from abruptly changing the horse's way of going with constant alteration of what's on his feet for the minimal risk of a good shoeing job.  That's your call--but not one I'm willing to make for my own horses, nor am I willing to recommend it.  I'm even a stickler about not competing on a fresh shoeing job, until the horse has had at least a week to acclimate being out 24/7 getting used to the fact that his feet are a bit shorter than they were yesterday.  Nothing makes me cringe more than seeing the farrier in camp on Friday shoeing horses for competition...  And yes, I sometimes add Easyboots over shoes in extreme rocky conditions--but it also means "slow down"--both for the terrain AND FOR THE CHANGE I'VE PUT ON THE END OF THAT HORSE'S LEGS!

<<I understand people who can train in the rocks are having great success....
but remember, it may take a year to get there.  Maintaining the correct trim
is paramount... as well as remembering the moisture and movement criteria as
well.  >>

Have seen a few here work very hard at it--and as I stated previously--I've seen sevearal do fine on LD's, an occasional one do a 50, but I have yet to see one successfully do a 100 in our rocky conditions.  And the ones that do 50 don't have enough hoof that I'd want to go out and do another ride in two weeks--at any rate, not with any riding in between!

<<It was like a miracle, the feet became
pliable, stopped chipping & I even had to trim them a few times b4 the race
in 3 weeks.  Granted, I did have a suspensory problem,.... >>

Always granted something--and this seems to be one of the most common drawbacks...  Contributory factors here could be both the inability to maintain the correct angle AND the constant changing of way of going, back and forth from barefoot to boots.

<<He had absolutely gorgeous natural (not broken or chipped) feet at the end.>>

Feet need not be chipped or broken to be worn too far.  My bachelor boys had likewise gorgeous natural feet with no breaks or chips after their week of increased activity here.  They just didn't have much of 'em!

<<There were several miles of the 1st 3 loops that were done on
asphalt/pavement.... I know.. we were suppose to be in the desert... but...
I was really concerned, but the pavement had no effect & according to
documented research, a horse with shoes experiences 3 times the concussion
walking on pavement as a barefoot horse TROTTING.  Read that again... pretty
amazing!!! >>

Actually, not amazing at all--just common sense.  Which is why one conditions to that level of concussion--something that one doesn't have the luxury of doing when wear is the limiting factor.   

<<The more I read the Strasser books and see the difference in the over all
health of my horses, I'm totally convinced that "barefootin' " is the
way.... >>

And the more I see of the horses that tried and failed, the more I am convinced that it is not a solution for the vast majority of horses subjected to the level of work that we do in our discipline.  Yes, shoes are a compromise--but in most cases, the bare feet become the limiting factor far too quickly.


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