Friday, March 1, 2013

"Feature Friday- Sossity and Mario Gargiulo- Holistic Hoof Care"

Howdy Folks,

Like so many folks now practicing and promoting the barefoot healthy horse, Sossity first decided she needed to find a new way to help her own horse, Faith, a 4 year old Arab/Trakehner mare who had lameness issues. She decided to broaden her scope and suddenly natural hoofcare found her. It made perfect sense. But also confused her, "how could veterinarians and farriers and the 'barefoot crowd' each hold such opposite views?" She asked herself. The more she examined the situation, the more confused she became.
Sossity trims
A friend recommended she buy Pete Ramey's book. She did. She became immediately enthralled, joining every Yahoo group she could find on barefoot horse care, bought books and DVDs from folks like, Gene Ovnicek, KC La Pierre, and Jaime Jackson. She traveled to hear Pete Ramey speak. Ultimately enrolled in AANHCP training program, and traveled to several states to mentor. "I applied to the American Hoof Association in 2008 and was approved as a certified trimmer. That was a huge accomplishment and I was at the time of approval one of less than 20 in the nation to achieve the honor." Sossity said.

Sossity is one of the founding members of Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners (PHCP) whose mission it is to provide a supportive network and educational foundation for hoof care professionals and horse owners based on a holistic and progressive approach.

She is instrumental in introducing barefoot horse health to the world of competition horses. Sossity's work with and for, world class horse trainer Shannon Peters, and Shannon's husband Steffen and his horse Ravel was recently written about in "Dressage Today" magazine, by author Kelly Sanchez.

Retired now Ravel, was one of the most successful horses in American Dressage, ridden by Steffen Peters in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, the 2010 World Equestrian Games, only the second U.S.combination to win the World Cup and the sole American to sweep the Aachen, Germany, CDIO, both in 2009. His record includes many Grand Prix victory. He enjoys his retirement on the trails with his new owner Akiko Yamazaki.
When Steffen's 2 time Olympic horse Ravel developed a quarter crack 2 months before the London games they turned to Sossity and her husband Mario for help. Sossity had just begun to work with Shannon a few months before. Things went so well with Ravel that today there are 15 barefoot horses from Training Level to Grand Prix in Shannon's and Steffen's training barn in San Diego.

Sossity takes the Holistic approach to hoof and horse health. "The hoof is a SYMPTOM.  The most perfect trim in the world can only do so much if your horse is eating a diet that does not respect and support his physiology, or if his tack is causing chronic pain and resulting compensation, if his lifestyle does not reflect his needs as a creature of movement and a social herd life, or if what he is being asked to do as his job does not respect him biomechanically or even psychologically." Sossity believes and teaches.

In addition to Shannon’s horses and those of some of her training clients in San Diego, Sossity also trims all of Akiko Yamazaki’s horses (including the Olympic horse Ravel discussed in the article).  Akiko has competing FEI level horses as well as retired competition horses.  Sossity also works on horses that do trails, riding lessons, therapy horses, fox hunting, reined cow work, gaited breeds, and more.

A lot of Sossity's trimming business has been through word of mouth, but she also tries to get the word out through her work with the PHCP, her website, the Wild Hearts Facebook page, as a blog contributor, and a monthly newsletter where she showcases a client or case study each month, talks about clinics she's attended or are being held, and reports on interesting studies that have come out. "I blog about basically anything relating to holistic horse health. My husband and I also have 3 horses of our own that we ride and love, and try to show by example how successful this approach to horse care really can be." Sossity said.
It's a family affair - Mario trims, too
Her hard work to promote holistic health and care for horses and her efforts to teach the competitive world barefoot is best, makes her a perfect fit for our Feature Friday. Thank you Sossity for all you do!

Please visit her website  for pages of information, links, pictures and contacts.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry


  1. Awesome! I couldn't agree more.

  2. A year after I got Maximus I stopped shoeing him and he's been barefoot now for eight years. Thanks for the link to Sossity's site.

    1. Great Patti!! ... I know you'll find a lot of wonderful information on Sossity's site!

  3. terryherbert1940@googlemail.comMarch 2, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    Hi Dutch, my dad did all the trimming on our farm horses, plus the cows and sheep, also our 2 goats. As you know that was 70 years ago, but granddad always remarked barefoot or bit-less in general would not happen in his lifetime, but probably in mine, I've promoted barefoot, and bit-less all my life, but some folks take a lot of convincing it's the best way to go. but based on my own experience, one thing I can say with proof is horses do live longer when barefoot and bit-less, of the many I've owned only one has died young, and that was a 4 year old colt with grass sickness, the rest lived to late 30s and some even early 40s. I think what Sossity is doing is marvellous, long may she continue to be a success, you are not to bad your self either my friend, I love what you do, and guess what,? this old timer is still learning from your posts.

    1. Great to hear from you Terry! ... We are making progress with spreading the word ... Your dad would be pleased I'll bet! Thank you for being part of the coffee Clutch, too!

  4. What a fantastic website they have! I just received a very kind email from Sossity, giving me permission to share her photos and information from her site on The Healthier Horse Facebook page! Thank you so much, Dutch. As always, you are a beacon of light.

    1. Thank you, Robynne, for helping to spread the word! Love your Healthier Horse Facebook page!