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After 3 months
||The development of barefoot hoof care has become an alternative to
traditional horseshoes. Known as the Strasser Method, as it was developed by
Dr. Hiltrud Strasser, a German veterinarian. For over twenty years Hiltrud
Strasser researched the causes and cures of lameness and other common health
problems of the domestic horse and in 1993 she opened the Institute for Hoof
Health and European School for Hoof Orthopaedics (ESHOP) in Tuebingen,
Germany. ESHOP is a centre for study and learning, for European hoofcare
specialists to attend.
Barefoot hoof care requires specialist regular trimming of the hooves by
regular visits from Certified Specialist Trimmers: The coffin or pedal bone
of the horse must be ground-parallel and the coffin joint must be over the
centre of the coffin bone base.
The horse's living environment is also adapted to a more natural state i.e.
roaming free in a field or paddock for 24 hours a day, every day, with the
company of other horses. Over 70% of the natural behaviour of the horse is
movement which is important for healthy circulation and keeping the joints
mobile. In a horse at rest, the tendons of the extensor and flexor apparatus
are immobile. The tendons are shortened through muscle contractions to
produce movement, if there is continuous muscle contraction (muscle tonus)
through standing, e.g. when a horse is confined to a box, it can result in
the muscles cramping.
The horses hoof is living tissue and requires regular circulation and a
certain metabolic temperature as nerves can only function in an environment
with active metabolism. Roaming free allows the horse the regular exercise
that is vital to healthy circulation, as the horse moves the blood is pumped
up the leg into the limbs. Living out in its natural environment the horses
hooves receive moisture that is important for healthy growth of horn.
Rugging a horse is not encouraged in the barefoot system as it may prevent
the horse from naturally controlling its own metabolic temperature.
Natural Hoofcare is not just a trimming method for barefoot horses, it is a
daily care system that encourages the natural behaviour of the horse and
allows it to remain barefoot throughout its working life. It is a system
that can be used to rehabilitate horses from many degenerative lameness's:
In the ESHOP centre's first holistic hoof clinic, equine patients from
around Europe are regularly healed by the barefoot system. Many horses
attending the clinic have been given up as hopeless and incurable by
conventional veterinary medicine, but are completely restored to a fully
active life by the Dr. Strasser holistic hoofcare system. Dr. Hiltrud
Strasser is the author of several textbooks on lameness and healing,
reference books on natural boarding for horses and many articles for both
horse and veterinary journals.
Dr. Hiltrud Strasser books translated into English include:
A Lifetime of Soundness,
Shoeing, A Necessary Evil?
Who's Afraid of Founder?
Other Recommended reading:
The Natural Horse - By Jaimie Jackson
Horse Owner's Guide to Natural Hoof Care - By Jaimie Jackson. Regarded as an
educational text book on natural hoof management and praised by all who have
followed his ideas.
Barefoot Hoofcare Training as a Barefoot Trimmer:
To train as a Certified Hoof Care Specialist you need a minimum of 500 hours
hands-on instruction. Mainly farriers and vets undergo the training.
Basic courses suitable for owners wishing to provide a 'maintenance' trim
between Specialist Trimmer visits plus guidance on adapting your horse's
living environment to barefoot hooves are available:
To contact a Barefoot Trimmer go to:
www.ibem.org.uk - Institute of Barefoot Equine Management
Justine Jenkins - Tel: 01269597635
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