That's a great question, many of whom don't really know beyond the fact that it's obviously trimming without shoeing. Well, there's a lot more to it than just that. There has been lots and lots of time and research spent from many different people on what is the best way to care for our horses, especially their hooves. The question "to shoe or not to shoe?" is a question many horse owners may have. To find the answer to that question and do what is best for the care of your horse, I suggest doing your own research. If you go to my "Links" page you will find some good sites that has lots of information on this subject.
But, to put it simply, barefoot trimming is sort of like a lifestyle, it's not just the trimming aspect, it's a natural lifestyle for the horse as close to being out in the wild as we can get it. This means being turned out 24/7 as much as possible, eating a low sugar diet, getting regularly trimmed with techniques that mimic that of horses out in the wild. If you think about our wild horses, these creatures were born to walk miles and miles every day, eating vegetation regularly throughout the day. Looking at what we as humans have done to domesticated horses, keeping them in stalls where they now have much limited movement, feeding them 2 or 3 huge meals of grain every day, putting heavy metal shoes on their hooves, this is all very unnatural for the horse and what his body needs physically. If you do your research you will find that shoeing started when horses started being kept in stalls, this stall keeping and other things from domestication caused their hooves to be weaker, causing the "need" for shoes, so people believed. They didn't put the facts together and so shoeing stuck. But not only regular shoeing, there's also of course corrective shoeing, which only lasts so long until the damage is so far gone internally that no amount of corrective shoeing makes the horse appear sound anymore. It's unfortunate. But this doesn't need to be the case, so let's help those horses who don't really have a voice and give them as close to a wild lifestyle as possible. And now as I said before, barefoot trimming is most definitely not just just worrying about the trimming aspect, it's worrying about what's best for the whole horse, not just his feet. This all leads to a happy horse, and a happy horse means a happy owner!
- Mimi Hollenbeck