Presented at 6th World Holistic Hoof and Horse Care Conference, Germany, September 27–28, 2014
(continued from Part I >>)
Case 2. De-contraction and overall hoof/body shape and behavior improvements in an arab gelding living in natural conditions. >>
Purebred Polish arab gelding, 14 years old, now living in the same herd. Trained for racing and raced as a 2 and 3 y.o., during which time he was shoed. Was de-shoed at the age of 4 and he then lived in a pasture by day and was stabled by night. He has a history of a severe back injury, coming from many years of wearing a badly fit western saddle. At the age of 10, he was converted to a fully natural lifestyle with 24 hours outside. He started receiving the correct hoof care at the age of 11.
We know arab horses’ hooves aren’t really built for soft wet grass pastures, yet this is the type of pasture where the gelding has been living since converted to the fully natural life style. What is remarkable about this case, is that over the next two years after the correct trimming was started, his hooves de-contracted and re-shaped quite considerably. Now they resemble rather the hooves of a warmblood horse not a purebred arab how they are traditionally believed to be:
With more regular trimming from me in the first several months after starting the rehab, I later trimmed the gelding an average of once every 6-9 weeks with the owner making maintenance trimming in between when needed. In the beginning it was not rare that the hooves bled during trimming: in the heels by the bars and in the front part of the frog. Yet the horse was never lame or sensitive during the described period.
Over the described period of two years the horse never received any additional exercising from humans, only his natural life with the herd. He was receiving all the movement necessary for rehab in the pasture. His condition was steadily improving at a pace that was comfortable for him.
The owner observed that the horse became much more playful and started galloping a lot with the progression of rehab.
I believe the species appropriate living conditions which gave the gelding a chance to live his full social life and to exhibit all his natural behaviors, is what became the major factor in the improvement of his hoof/health conditions; along with the physiologically correct trimming.
These living conditions allowed him to receive enough movement of different types, while at the same time keeping him free from unnatural stresses and securing his psychological balance — everything needed for a successful rehab.
Photos Berenika Bratny, Natalija Aleksandrova
English Edit Courtesy Jamie Joling, 2014
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