Fad vs. Trend

Quite often I hear mention of Dr. Strasser - and sometimes it is said that her barefoot trim method is 'a fad'. I totally disagree with this choice of words, and so would Webster, who defines 'fad' as 'a temporary fashion or mode of conduct'. A fad would therefore be something like the wearing of bellbottom pants and flashing the peace sign, not the onset of the employment of the physiologically correct method of hoof trimming. Nor would I consider Dr. Strasser's knowledge and information as temporary. So how do we describe Dr. Strasser's 'new' way of caring for the hoof and horse? I believe 'trend' might be a better word.

A 'trend', according to Webster, is a general course or direction. Dr. Strasser's work has led hundreds of horse caretakers in a new direction, away from the fallacies and pitfalls of shoeing and common stabling practices, and toward the inherent benefits of natural hoofcare and horse care. Although there is evidence that in times past these ideas that Dr. Strasser presents had been brought forth, never had they been scrutinized and examined as carefully as they can be now with our modern-day scientific means. Dr. Strasser has brought to light many interesting pieces of information that have been tried and tested in her own clinic, and which have proven or disproven their benefits. Now being employed by many horse owners as well, the benefits are being proven over and over in all kinds of situations. Next, perhaps they will be thoroughly and properly tested by general scientific research. X-rays alone have proven the worth of these ideas; the return of a rotated coffin bone to normal ground-parallel status is no longer a mystery or impossibility.

Another trend that will change is the publication of books that do not address hoof function as a basis for overall health and soundness. 'No hoof, no horse', it is often stated. Why then, would a book on biomechanics address everything but the hoof? Isn't that missing the first and most basic step? Is it because what is taught in schools is that the hoof is merely a dead block of wood that has no function? Or is it that what is taught somehow is all wrong? Or is it that it is privileged information for vets and farriers only? Or is it that not enough research has gone into understanding hoof function and that the information is just now getting out there? Not many hours of hoof study are provided or required by veterinary schools. So perhaps it is all of the above, but the information is out there now, thanks to Dr. Strasser and her research. Now it is up to the individual to choose to investigate it or ignore it all, and to decide what is fad or trend.

Also available for the investigating is natural horsemanship. It is no longer necessary in this age of horse-keeping for the horse to be forced. Like Catherine Bird pointed out, the onset of the use of narcotics in horses in the late 1800's and early 1900's may very well have brought on the use of the severe bits and training methods. Do we want to continue that trend? We can replace mindless force and fear with knowledge and compassionate understanding. Likewise, it is no longer necessary in this age of complementary medicine for the body to be forced. We can work with the body rather than against it. The education is out there - just look.

Strasser, Cook, Parelli, and many, many others are not present-day fads. Complementary medicine is not a fad. The horse is the final judge, and his health and well-being will tell the story.

A fad becomes historical trivia; a trend becomes history.