Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Feet Matter

Howdy Folks,
My mare Kessy's, beautiful feet. I do maintenance trim every 3-4 weeks. Takes about 20 minutes.
The feet matter. You bet they do and I have come to believe that they matter a whole lot more than a lot of folks realize they do. Yes just about everyone who has a horse can recite that old axiom, “No foot no horse.” But why then are so many horses allowed to endure all the structural damage of poorly managed feet?

In recent months I’ve traveled more than normal working with folks and their horses on posture. For me, just about everything good, great, not so good, bad and horrible can be traced to posture, the horses, and the human’s—but mostly I focus on the horse. Since I’ve been traveling more than normal, I’ve seen more horses than I have been for a while. And I’ve seen a lot of feet causing poor posture. And I’ve begun to speak up, sorry.

For a long time now I’ve devoted a fair amount of my time to helping folks understand and learn the exercises Peggy Cummings put together to promote proper posture, body carriage and self awareness. As folks who know me know, I’m all about the horse’s posture and I’ve often written about it. And for a long time I’ve “mentioned” the feet, but went about meeting with folks, doing a few clinics and trying to help. Inside me though, I was well aware that even though by the end of the day or clinic we’d have the horse in great, healthy posture and body carriage, I knew it could not hold. Not on a poor foundation.

The purpose of the clinics is to teach the basic exercises so that the horse owner can continue to do them, but if the feet, the very foundation, is out of whack—no amount of exercises, bodywork, training or gadgets will keep the horse in healthy posture, free moving and happy.

So I’ve begun to speak up more about feet ... And please believe me it is not always easy. It’s not always easy for me to say, it’s not always easy for folks to hear. It’s certainly not always easy for folks to accept and change, I get that. However, I now always address feet right away, at the very beginning when I first analyze the horse. Instead of simply studying and discussing posture and what the horse needs and what we’ll work on, I talk about the feet. In fact I may not, in some cases, even begin until I trim feet. I’ve found that to be the biggest eye opener when folks can watch the pasterns, legs, chest and topline change right before their eyes.

Folks who know me know I’m an unwavering believer in that all horses can and should be barefoot. If I’ve lost you here, that’s okay. For those of you still interested we’ll go on a bit more.

Sadly I see way too many barefoot horses with poor posture brought on by poorly managed feet. All I’m hoping to point out today is, the feet do matter. In fact, they matter most of all. When posture begins to fail, everything goes downhill with it, health, attitude and money. And posture will always fail if the foundation is lacking.

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry 

 P.S.For a bit more about my thoughts about foot care please read "For a Beautiful Barefoot Trim-Keep it Simple" HERE

You might also be interested in my book, "It's for the Horses." Find it at www.itsforthehorses.com