Today was hoof trimming day. Each of our 16 horses has hoof attention every month. This is in addition to their regular daily hoof pick out.
Our Cabalgatas Canoa horses are all barefoot. We truly believe that this is the best way for our horses to be. Barefoot means that the horses do not wear metal shoes. Horse shoes have been used in some form or other on horses’ hooves since Roman times. In recent times people have begun considering the advantages of leaving our horses feet as nature intended. The idea of metal horse shoes is to protect the hooves from excessive wear. However, wild horses such as the Mustangs in the USA and Brumbies in Australia travel long distances every day, up to 40 km, looking for food and water. Their hooves are tough and resilient and do not suffer from the lack of metal shoes. In fact, our horses would need to be travelling similar distances to need shoes, or doing a lot of walking and trotting on concrete or tarmac roads, which we avoid as much as we can!
Without shoes, our horses’ hooves have the ability to flex and absorb shock and also the correct part of the horses feet are in contact with the ground. With shoes, the entire weight of the horse is being carried on the wall of the hoof, when nature designed the hoof to carry weight on the sole and the fleshy back part of the hoof which is called the frog.
So what happens every month? Our horses’ hooves wear down naturally and then every four weeks, we trim any growth, make sure that the hoof is level and then smooth everything off with a file. Our bare foot trim also ensures the horses have a good “mustang roll” which makes the front of the hoof nicely bevelled in the style of the wild mustang horses. With practice, a trim takes around 20 minutes to complete for each horse. Good hoof care means that we can enjoy galloping down the beach on our happy and healthy horses.