I often get questions from clients, horse owners and non-horse owners. The most frequently asked I would like to answer here. If your question is not in here, please, ask me and I will try to answer it and may be even post it on my website.
Q: Why do you take pictures?
A: I will take 6 pictures of every hoof of every new horse before I start my first
trim. And of course frequently after that. The reasons are:
1. You see much more details on a photo than when standing there outside
2. I can see if there is progress and how fast
3. We often tend to forget how the hoofs looked before I first started, this way
I can show the owner the differences/improvements.
4. When I get a difficult case, I can send pictures to my colleagues and they
can give their opinion (two see more than one). I can also discuss it with a
veterinarian; pictures will then be very helpful.
Q: Do you shoe equines?
A: No, because they do not solve hoof problems, they are often the cause of
hoof problems. It's known that they mask the problem, because as soon
as you take the shoes off, the problem is still there. I do use boots if
needed, mostly only during the transition period from shoes to barefoot.
Q: Why don't I notice that my horse is in pain?
A: A horse is a prey animal. This means that in the wild he can not look weak
(aka lame) because then he would be an easy prey for his predators. So
the horse instinctively will not show lameness/pain until it’s way too late.
Fortunately, a trained horse person can see when a horse is in pain (eyes,
nostrils, muscle tension, shifting weight, stumbling, etc.).
Q: Why is a stable not good for a horse, I let him out every day couple of hours?
A: A horse needs to be able to walk about 16km a day, needs social contact
with other horses, (fly)protection, play mates, etc. This is not possible if you
lock him up. Also locking a horse up means he’ll stand in his own
urine/faeces: this eats the keratin (material the hoof is made of) away =
deteroriation of hoof wall quality.
Q: What is an abscess? Do I need to worry?
A: It’s nothing more than the removal of necrotic tissue from inside the body
to the outside. And you don’t need to worry since an abscess is actually
something good, this means the horse is on its way to healing.
Q: Shoes have been used for years, why is it suddenly not good anymore?
A: It’s not suddenly, straight from the beginning it has never been a good idea
to put shoes on a horse. It was rather convenient for the owner/rider: the
hoof problem is masked by shoes and the owner/rider does not have to
wait for revalidation, he can ride away instantly (although that’s what he
thinks: the horse is still in pain). But soon as you take the shoes off, the
problem is still there.
Q: Can all horses go barefoot?
A: Well, in general, 'yes', but there are exceptions. If horses have been shod
their whole live and the owner suddenly wants him barefoot at age 24,
then I will probably say 'no'. The hoofs will be too compromised and the
horse will have to suffer too much on his way to recovery. It also depends
on the overall condition of the horse.
Q: What are the benefits of thermal imaging?
A: Thermal imaging (TI) is not only non-invasive, there is also absolutely no
health risk for the horse. It's objective. It can detect problems that are not
visible to the eye. X-rays are expensive (if available) and form a health risk
for the horse instead you could use TI, which is also cheaper. TI is useful
for early identification of stress injuries, laminitis, stress fractures,