|Natural Hoof Care Of Colorado.
|Call me, Keith Jacobson, 970-391-1838
Need More Information?
It is usually best to simply call me for information regarding appointments etc. My cell phone is always on and I try to answer
immediately whenever possible. I have a zillion anytime minutes so I'd prefer to talk between appointments if possible. Call from 8 AM
to 6 PM. If for some reason I cannot answer, I'll return your call at the very next opportunity. My phone number is; 970-391-1838
These are pretty common questions from people interested in going barefoot.
- Does the ground my horse lives on make a difference in his ability to go barefoot? YES it certainly does. If you
don't clean his pen and he lives on bacteria rich feces and urine his feet are going to be crappy! A clean well drained
pen with a sandy, pea gravel mix called "Class 1 Structural Fill" is ideal. This product is much cheaper than squeeqee or
pea gravel. My experience has been that bout 1 of three horses will not be happy with pea gravel. But I've never had a
horse that doesn't like the Class 1 Structural fill. If you live between Denver and Loveland you can get Class 1
Structural Fill through Varra Company, a gravel supplier just east of Longmont.
- Does what I feed really make a difference? Yes, it certainly does!!! Avoid feeds with molasses. The hay you feed is
the most important component of the diet. IF you can possible do so, have the hay tested before purchasing. It is
impossible to look at hay and know how nutritious it is, or how well balanced the sugars, starched and carbohydrates are.
- I board my horse, will Natural Hoof Care work for me? In the past I wouldn't have been as positive about the
potential of stalled and boarded horses as I am today. I have found that people who board their horses ride more
frequently than most customers who keep their horses at home. I have several horses in my trimming string that have
great, healthy feet and they actually live in stalls!!! The key is the owners ride them frequently! They ride in the facility
arenas a lot, and when they go on the trail they boot their horse. These horses look and act great! So if you don't ride
your horse very often, shame on you, but, if that is the case they might as well be barefoot anyway.
- How long will I have to boot my horses? I'm asked that question a lot and it is almost impossible to answer because it
is asking about time and a specific sensitive animal and unknown conditions and rider and tack weight etc. But re-
phrasing the question makes it a lot easier. How long will I WANT to boot my horse? You will probably want to boot
any time you plan to ride a long distance in one day, or ride several days in a row that add up to a lot of miles, or any
time you are going to ride on a trail you have never ridden before because you don't know what the conditions are going
to be like. I've not seen a pair of worn out boots yet, so don't worry about that, they have a lot of miles in them. Just
use them! Your horse will like you for it.
- Do I boot the front feet or all four feet? Most customers start out with only booting in front. I find more
customers all the time booting all the way around. My personal experience was as follows. I noticed my horse would be
heavier on the forehand on long rides when I was booting him only on the front feet. I didn't really pay a lot of
attention to it until one pretty long ride and I couldn't get him to collect for me, which was really unusual. It was one of
those "duh" moments. Of course he didn't want to collect, he didn't want to weight his rear end any more than
necessary! His front feet were really comfortable even though they carried a heavy load. Next time out I booted his
back feet as well and I've never looked back from it. He has significantly more energy than ever before.
- Does the rider & tack weight affect barefoot riding? (I'm asking this question for your horses benefit.) I've never
seen this discussed before but I'm certain there is an implication. I have experienced it first hand in our own horses.
Rider and tack weight can have an impact on the comfort of the horse over the course of the ride. I weigh 200 lbs and
ride with 50 lbs of tack. Laura is half that weight and rides in a 25 lb saddle. She rarely boots her horse when riding
tough terrain. But when I take her horse out for long rides I can tell his comfort declines over the rough ground. Now I
boot him all the way around on longer rides and he is more comfortable and has much more energy. And what is more, he
actually has a LOT more protection than if he was steel shod. Again with boots, once you own a pair there is really no
good reason not to use them. Don't get into the "macho" frame of mind wanting to prove your horse can handle anything.
When in doubt, boot!
- I am of the opinion that these are the BIG FOUR for successful hoof care, in order of importance:
- Footing on a regularly cleaned, well drained, slightly abrasive material such as sand and pea gravel mixed.
- Exercise, as much as is possible both under saddle and at liberty.
- Proper trimming.
- Keep proper weight and feed the right food, as described above.