Horse Owners Guide To Natural Hoof Care – Creating the Perfect Hoof

By Jaime Jackson, Hoof Care Specialist

Copyright 1999, Star Ridge Publishing

ISBN 0-9658007-1-7

Large paperback, spiral bound, 192 pages; Approx. $27


Creating the Perfect Hoof

Companion video, also by Jaime Jackson

Copyright 1999, Star Ridge Publishing

2 hours; Approx. $40

Jaime Jackson is back. Since the publication of The Natural Horse: Lessons From the Wild for Domestic Horse Care (Edition 1, 1992), which later became titled, The Natural Horse: Foundations for Natural Horsemanship (1997), Jaime has been consistently experiencing the benefits of the natural, unshod hoof. Also during this time, the ill effects of shoeing - even when the hoof is properly trimmed and balanced prior to applying the shoe - have been repeatedly confirmed. Jaime has put down his hammer, nails, and horseshoes for good. Knowing how much harm shoeing does has led him to educate all horsemen - veterinarians, farriers and owners alike - on the virtues of barefootedness. One way he is doing this is by introducing the natural horse trim in his new book, Horse Owners Guide to Natural Hoof Care – Creating the Perfect Hoof, and its companion video, Creating the Perfect Hoof.

The book is a comprehensive guide, and in it Jaime explains that we shoe because we wrongly assume a couple things: that horses' hooves are too weak and too sensitive to go unshod, and that high performance horsemanship is not possible unless the hooves are given 'support' from horseshoes. The hoof care specialists challenge these assumptions and are demonstrating that through natural hoof care, barefoot horses can outperform the shod horses. 

Jaime's extensive personal observations of numerous wild horses in the Great Basin of the US led him to conduct a thorough and systematic study of their hooves from 1982 to 1986. Horse Owners Guide to Natural Hoof Care implements this information and presents the proper care of the hoof, as well as natural living conditions for the horse, as are dictated by the wild horse.

This hoof clinic in a book takes the reader through an interesting range of pertinent topics from the history of horseshoes to the problems our horses are faced with today. On the way the reader discovers just how important the proper function of the hoof is, and why shoes greatly inhibit and destroy that function, and therefore the hoof and the horse. The guide clearly demonstrates how horseshoes prevent the hoof from functioning the way Nature intended. It explains that hoof care and maintenance are very misunderstood, and that all too often improper hoof care is overlooked as a reason for health and performance problems.

The chapters include: What is a natural hoof, What is high performance barefootedness, Power trimming for high performance barefootedness, Lameness prevention and power trim cures (which includes laminitis, navicular, contraction, abscesses, white line disease, wall cracks, ringbone, thrush and more), and Working with troubled horses. At the end of the guide are a Q&A section, Resources, and other pertinent information.

Jaime's intention is to educate horse owners and to help them bridge the gap between conventional horseshoeing practices and high-performance barefootedness. Horse Owners Guide to Natural Hoof Care reveals how conventional horseshoeing, along with unnatural boarding practices, is responsible for most lamenesses suffered by horses. Interlaced throughout the Guide are references to Dr. Hiltrud Strasser and her findings. (Dr. Strasser, her colleagues and students have studied for many years the effects of barefootedness and natural lifestyle conditions on domestic horses suffering from a range of lamenesses; she has had tremendous success in curing lamenesses through a program of barefootedness and natural trimming.)

The actual process of trimming a horse's hooves is very technical, and Jaime says that to be done right, it shouldn't be undertaken by anyone without training or close supervision. Natural hooves are trimmed quite differently, and to trim a hoof based on modern blacksmithing principles and horseshoeing standards invites disaster. Thus is the reason for this guide and the companion video. They explain how and why things are done differently, why there is a transition phase and how to get through it, and how to 'enable' the hoof through power trimming. The 2-hour video also includes information on tools, techniques, horsemanship, and even some exercises for the trimmer to get or stay in shape for hoof trimming.

Barefootedness and proper hoof care mean superior hooves and a much healthier, happier horse. Horse Owners Guide to Natural Hoof Care and Creating the Perfect Hoof present hoof care for all breeds and disciplines and answer the questions that surround hoof care and trimming. This duo is a must for every horseman, veterinarian, and especially every farrier, so they can all work together to provide the best possible care for the horse's hooves.