Foot & Hoof Care Services
Your horse needs shoeing every 4-8 weeks, depending on the horse and discipline. A horse doing a little bit of everything – hacking, schooling, jumping – roughly every 6 or 7 weeks.
Natural Balance Shoeing
I specialise in cold shoeing using natural balance shoes and a system that allows the hoof to function as nature intended, whilst supporting natural hoof growth, foot function, balance and movement.
The conventional method of shoeing has only been prevalent for the last 150 years or so; a method developed for working horses in conditions that are largely irrelevant today. The true ‘traditional’ method, using clipless shoes that covered the whole foot, has been around for 500-600 years prior to this.
I believe, supported by science, evidence and 40 years experience, that this is closer to the needs of the horse.
The System Explained
Under natural conditions, horse hooves adopt a strong, upright, circular shape with a thick sole and wide frog. The point of break over (the point at which the hoof turns over at the toe as it is lifted to take the next step) is much further back than in conventionally-shod horses, while the toe is naturally rolled due to wear and the foot curves up at the front, resulting in a perfectly balanced, healthy hoof.
I am one of a growing number of farriers who believe that nature knows best and it is best to mirror the shape of wild horses’ feet when shoeing. The shoes I prefer to use are broader than conventional ones, have a rolled toe but no toe clip, and are designed to support the whole foot, not just the hoof wall.
Enabling the horse’s foot to function in much the same way as it would naturally has a number of significant benefits:
- Many hoof problems associated with conventional shoeing can be eradicated, such as collapsed heel, long toes, thin soles and stunted frog growth.
- As a result of improved blood flow and hoof shape, hoof-related ailments such as corns, seedy toes, thrush, ringbone and even navicular disease can be eliminated.
- The horse is allowed to achieve its own natural central point of balance, in all paces at all times, allowing it to carry itself in the best possible way. This reduces the risk of stresses and strains and has a beneficial overall effect on the horse’s muscular and skeletal system.
So, don’t be put off just because it looks different to what you might be used to. It is up to us all to consider the options and make an informed choice in order to care for our animals in the best possible way.
If you would like more information, you can read a magazine article I contributed to here>>
Or please do not hesitate to call.
Natural Balance Shoes Fitting : Before and After
Example feedback from an owner converting to Natural Balance Shoeing
Paige has become a lot more fluid in her movements. The slight awkwardeness she was experiencing in her hind legs has disappeared. Crackers meanwhile has improved beyond all recoginition! She has transformed from a clumsy, gangly teenager into a free-moving young lady, and is so much more confident in her paces.
Glue shoes are flexible material shoes that can be glued on to the hoof. Glue shoes are an excellent choice for dressage horses, endurance horses and hunter / jumpers, as well as the leisure rider looking to extend their horses working life and increase comfort and hoof function and quality.
Glue shoes do tend to be a little more expensive but they do have a long lifespan and can be refitted where sufficient tread remains, increasing value for money.
They may be a particularly good choice for you if:
- You would, ideally, prefer a barefoot lifestyle for your horse but need a permanent solution to protect your horse’s hooves instead of a removable hoof boot.
- Your horse has been conventionally shod but you wish to use a more hoof-friendly shoe.
- Your horse is recovering from foot and hoof problems, as they allow your horse to be walked whilst the hoof heals. In particular, they can relieve the pain and discomfort associated with laminitis.
- You are concerned about loss of performance in your horse. Glue shoes are flexible and expand with hoof growth through the trimming cycle, eliminating the constrictive properties of conventional metal horseshoes which can lead to loss of performance.
- Your horse is suffering from degenerative or concussion related disease, such as navicular arthritis, side bone and ring bone. Glue shoes reduce concussion compared to traditional horseshoes.
- Your horse works on hard ground, or is required to work to the peak of performance, as the shoe will allow a more natural, uninhibited movement and reduction in the chance of injury.
If you would like more information about glue shoeing or would like to make an appointment, please contact me.
Harry has good feet but was prone to stumbling, even when being led from the field. Since fitting Cytek shoes the problems stopped overnight – his action has changed completely, it’s a lot smoother and he doesn’t trip at all.
The hoof shape has changed too and the new growth is smoother, shinier and just looks a whole lot better than before [see pic] and his frog is wider and in much better shape.
Harry’s conformation has also changed significantly, as has his way of going. He now stands straight and square and he isn’t at all ‘up front’ like he was before.
[The system] makes sense, it works and I believe it has potential for all horses, no matter what they do.
Trimming is a very important part of horse hoof care. It should be done every 6-10 weeks, depending on the horse and its discipline.
If your horse’s hoof becomes too long it could cause strain on the tendons, foot function and overall performance. Cracks can also form in the hoof if not tended properly and regularly.
When trimming I assess the whole foot first and the hoof receives a general clean out and tidy up.
Where remedial care is needed for your horse, a consultation is important, but usually a condition that involves both a Vet and Farrier results in a rebalancing of the foot, nearly always a shorter toe.
There are a variety of shoes for different conditions but proper foot balance is the main criteria, and this is what I am always aiming for in everyday shoeing as a matter of course – as both remedial and preventative care.
Rob Meyrick RSS
NEW FOREST FARRIER
Tel: 07902 990656