Natural Horse World

Feet First: Barefoot Performance and Hoof Rehabilitation

by Nic Barker and Sarah Braithwaite

This is a well written and easy to understand book that is perfect for all those learning about barefoot hoof care, especially in relation to performance.
Written by the founders of the UK Natural Hoof Care Practitioners who compete in eventing, hunting, endurance, and show jumping, it is based on their years of experience as trimmers and riders. The hundreds of horses they have rehabilitated have provided the personal accounts of issues most likely experienced by many readers too.

I like this book because of the holistic approach taken. Diet is addressed first, then environment/work to stimulate the hoof and finally the trim.
“Hoof problems: holistic, not simplistic.
The common theme here is that hoof problems are not normally caused by a single disease or failure. Hoof function is grounded on a good diet which allows a hoof to grow and maintain its integrity, and an environment that stimulates and strengthens the whole hoof. Healthy hooves and correct biomechanical function are intrinsically linked to each other and are interdependent.”

The authors suggest that the concept of an iceberg explains how it all relates with the top 10% being the trim that we see, to the middle 25% is the exercise and environment, with the bottom 65% being the diet – the part we don’t see when we just look at the hoof.

Therefore this is not a ‘how to trim’ book but a how-to feed, exercise, and understand the hoof to achieve maximum function for performance.
It has lots of clear color photos and diagrams and defines what a healthy hoof looks like and what it can achieve.
The Chapter on ‘How hooves work’ is helpful, but the most important piece of advice is the chapter on ‘diet and feeding for the healthiest hooves’.

I would highly recommend this book to all horse owners who care for their own horse’s hooves, and as a reference book for those studying Equine Hoof Care as a profession.

‘Feet First: Barefoot Performance and Rehabilitation’ is published by JA Allen and available from or from Amazon

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