it’s wild to me that im saying this considering i work primarily with barefoot and alternative hoof care methods but i’ve REALLY grown to dislike the big personalities of the barefoot horse movement overall. there’s a lot of mystical thinking and huge claims backed up by zero actual evidence, like this gem i was told today by a new customer:
“if a horse’s wall is beveled properly, they won’t ever get thrush anywhere in the foot. therefore if the horse gets thrush, the farrier isn’t doing their job correctly.”
i gently pushed back against this, because while i understand where that idea is coming from (a balanced hoof promotes tighter, healthier horn growth throughout the foot, which decreases the likelihood of bacterial or fungal invasion of the tubules), the benefits of balance can ABSOLUTELY be negated by environmental and, occasionally, internal systemic factors, both of which are completely the responsibility of the horse owner. not to mention inherent conformational issues or injuries resulting in permanent damage to the foot that disrupt and distort growth significantly enough that, even when balanced to the best of the farrier’s ability, microbes can still do damage. the claim also does not take into account horses that cannot, for comfort, have their entire wall beveled, but can live perfectly sound barefoot lives when left more wall. i would hardly call a farrier allowing comfort to play a role in form “not doing their job correctly.” most farriers are spinning a dozen plates trying to keep hooves tight, healthy, comfortable, and functional, and the path forward is not always as straight or clear as these big players in the barefoot world make it seem.
this is just one example. there are countless more, and there’s often no evidence to back up their claims. i’m not saying more traditional farriers don’t ALSO partake in this particular kind of bullshitting, because they absolutely do, and i’m also not saying every barefoot method idea is a bad one, because plenty of my daily work is borrowed or adapted from those barefoot ideas. i’m CERTAINLY NOT saying i’m the be-all end-all of hoof knowledge either. but i don’t tolerate claims from anyone stated so strongly without evidence, especially when i have evidence to the contrary. sweeping generalizations simply make it easy to excuse poor practices on the part of the horse owner and the farrier, and they don’t do the horse ANY favors ✌🏼