Friday, January 11, 2013

"FEATURE FRIDAY-Suzanne Warsinsky-Appalachian Hoof Care-Kids and Horses"

Howdy Folks,

The journey to become a respected and influential Barefoot Hoof Care Practitioner, beloved 4-H co-leader and champion of horse and human charities started in Suzanne Warsinky's youth when she read everything she could lay her hands on about horses and travel. It would not be until her college years that she actually had the opportunity to take riding lessons, and then study took her abroad.

"Traveling to spend 4 months in Salzburg, Austria, I had the usual culture shock that many experience. From that one time with it, however, I never had culture shock again, not in Cameroon, not in Germany, not in France, not in Viet Nam or Thailand, not in Guatemala or Peru, nor anywhere else I have lived, journeyed. I learned that culture shock is an attitude, and I left that behind after figuring it out." Suzanne said.

When Suzanne finally decided to leave the international lifestyle and move back home, she wanted a horse of her own. That horse was an 11 year old Arabian who taught her much. Enough in fact to get a second horse, Baja, a young Arabian mare, who stole Suzanne's heart instantly. When Baja died suddenly of colic, it took Suzane more than a year to open her heart to another horse. Then she met Reighny who has become her heart horse, the horse love of her life. Both horses were bred and trained by Mary Ann Rafferty of Valley View Farms in Bucks County, PA.

Suzanne with Reighny
"Reighny is responsible for getting me into barefoot." Suzanne explained. "When she arrived in November several years ago, I had the farrier come quickly to put shoes on her so that I could ride and not harm her feet. Reighny HATED the experience. And she soon lost the shoes. She had a mild bout of laminitis several months later. The vet told me she would instruct the farrier on how much to wedge her shoes. I knew there was no way I was ever putting her through shoeing again and found barefoot on the internet. A whole new world was opened up to me, and I did not need to go through culture shock! I'd already learned that lesson. I jumped in whole heartedly and have been learning ever since!"

When 3 of Suzanne's equines went lame within 2 weeks of each other, after being trimmed "bare but flat," she found Daisy Bicking of Daisy Haven Farm, Inc. She introduced Suzanne to mechanically correct barefoot trimming, based around the coffin bone, and suggested she learn herself. "I didn't think I could ever do such a thing! Then a group of us hired Paige Poss to come to WV and do a barefoot trimming clinic with us. Then a second one. And I was hooked! I enjoyed trimming so much I decided I wanted to "go pro" once my young kids were in school."

Suzanne trained with several individuals, was offered a competitive scholarship for volunteerism into the Equine Sciences Academy, and continued taking clinics with Daisy Bicking, Ida Hammer, and others. "I have built up Appalachian Hoof Care into a nearly perfect job for me, in which I get to care for horses' hooves along with their great owners. Together and we have formed an equine care team. We bring in dentists and body workers. By looking at posture, diet, teeth and horsekeeping practices, we help horses together."  Suzanne attends as much continuing education as possible each year to offer the highest level of service to her clients.

While Suzanne loves caring for horse hooves, the center of her world her world revolves around her children. With careful planning and scheduling she manages to trim and continue to introduce more and more folks and horses to the barefoot lifestyle, and raise her family. Suzanne is co-leader of the High Riders 4H Club in Randolph County, WV..

Suzanne doing what she loves
"We have a great time together, bringing in generous volunteers to be clinicians in their areas of expertise for the kids. We have had a saddle fitter, a natural horsemanship devotee, a massage therapist, an equine dentist, a centered riding instructor and many more! Generous folks have traveled at their own expense, from as far away as a 4 hour drive to impact the horsemanship of this group of kids. How wonderful! This coming year, we hope to have a rope-halter making clinic, a tack care clinic, an obstacle course clinic, a multi day camp with all kinds of volunteers, a show-prep clinic and more. With an appropriate background from my days as an organizer/planner/facilitator I enjoy putting together these programs and am entirely grateful to those who come to help! We would not be able to offer such a rich program without them," Suzanne said.

Suzanne donates some of her profit to children and horse related causes, and takes on young apprentices who learn holistic horse care. She has written several articles for Natural Horse Magazine on the subject of Barefoot Hoof Care, and she now serves as the strategic planning coordinator for the magazine.

"What I find the most interesting about "me" is simply the turning of natural horse paradigm into a workable model for programming with children, when volunteers are ready to share of themselves." Suzanne told me.

Thank you Suzanne for creating that most wonderful model.

Natural Horse Magazine
Equine Sciences Academy

Gitty Up,
Dutch Henry


  1. Thank you for this excellent feature of an amazing person! And thank you to Suzanne for a life dedicated to helping humans and horses!

    Karen Locklair

    1. Suzanne is truly walking the walk and helping others too, Karen! ... Thank you for reading & commenting ... Please sign on as a follower so you don't miss other great stories, too.