The horse’s foot finds it natural shape and balance in the wild. No shoes, no artificial angles. Natural hoof care is modeled after wild horses and their ability to keep their hooves healthy and strong while moving across their terrain foraging for food. A natural-shaped hoof helps promotes a healthy leg, better overall balance, and a more fluid gait.
The natural hoof care trim differs from a traditional trim for shoes in that the sole is left largely intact and the heels are lower. A “mustang roll” may be applied as well. The natural trim allows the horse’s hoof wall to flex while absorbing shock. With a correctly applied natural trim the horse can do just about anything* and go anywhere a shod horse can. And unlike a shod horse, you don’t have to worry about lost shoes!
Going from shoes to bare feet is a process that requires some patience. It doesn’t happen with the first trim. It may also require some attention to your horse’s nutritional health and how you plan to use your horse during the transition. Your horse’s feet may be tender for a few months, in which case hoof boots are a big help in easing any difficulty. All horses are different, and so are their feet. It may take as long as a year to fully transition your horse to going bare, but once there, you won’t go back to shoes!
Katy is available to speak to your riding club or other organization on the topic of hoof health and the natural hoof.
Contact her at 503-701-7044
Katy Banks earned her farrier certification from Oregon State University in 2000. She has been practicing natural hoof care since 2005. She lives in The Dalles on the Oregon side of the scenic Columbia Gorge.
Katy Says: “As a former farrier, I converted to natural hoof care in 2005 and haven’t looked back. I am self-studied in the practice of natural hoof care and am grateful for my farrier training. I am constantly learning about horse hoof health to better serve both horse and owner.”
Trimming can be a dangerous business for the trimmer. Please make sure your horse/donkey is trained to stand quietly while having its feet worked on. As an owner or handler, you are responsible for the safety of the trimmer and the safety and training of your animal. Katy may ask you to correct your horse’s misbehavior and may refuse service if your horse is unmanageable. If you need help in training your horse to stand, or it needs training during the trimming session, Katy reserves the right to charge an additional fee.
Katy Banks and Bare Feet by Katy make no claims as to the curative or restorative aspects of natural hoof trims. Natural trims are not appropriate for some horses and activities. In some cases, horses may require shoes for health reasons. Some activities are regulated and require horses to wear shoes. If you are in doubt about whether to transition your horse, contact Katy for an evaluation of your horse’s feet, or consult your veterinarian.