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Hoof Care


Regular readers of our articles would know we often base our stories around real life case studies; horses that have navigated the labyrinth of hoof issues about which we write. Case studies breathe life into what can often be a grinding subject. 


As orange as her own hair and with the same bright personality, the striking and elegant Monsoon stormed into Aukje van Vark’s life to prove that with horses - as in life - it never rains, it pours.   Originally from the Netherlands, Aukje moved to Australia with her husband and three daughters in search of opportunities to reconnect with nature; in the way others born in this astounding continent take for granted. Space, lifestyle and better weather to enjoy them were top of their list.  


It is just past two o’clock when I speak to Maja Stocker from her Queensland home. It is an average day for the barefoot trimmer, who has already trimmed nine “and a half” horses, and is now relaxing in the shade on her leafy veranda. “It was pretty good, a good effort,” she tells me.


Sarah Kuyken is a busy hoofcare professional, specialising in the latest horseshoe alternatives to metal.  Sarah’s niche involves the use of glue-on shoes and shoes made of polyurethane and, in this article she shares the hoofcare lessons she learned from having her own nails ‘done’ by a technician - for the very first time.   A good friend of mine was visiting some weeks ago, she’s mad in to acrylic nails and I decided it would be a fun, ‘girly’ thing to do for us to get an acrylic set of nails done together.  Oh boy! How wrong I was...


Nutritional support for a horse who suffers laminitis is vital. For the horse that is prone to laminitis, clivers is a useful daily supplement to improve the integrity of the hoof as it is one of the most nutritional herbs available and especially high in Silica. With the older horse, whose circulation may be sluggish, hawthorn berry is a further support and full of bioflavonoids that improve the elasticity of the supportive connective tissue that can become strained when the feet are sore, while improving the health of the blood vessels that supply the feet.


The development and adoption of removable rubber boots for protecting the hooves of barefoot horses when they are working has been the driving force behind the expansion of barehoofcare - from the eccentric fringe to mainstream. 


It happens every year on the day after Boxing Day. I can just about set my clock to it. Like most other ‘normal’ people, I will be ensconced in the pleasant afterglow of Christmas; mentally and physically luxuriating after the annual rush and madness to get everything finished before ‘Santa o’clock’. 


Everyone who shares a connection to Mayfield Barehoof Care Centre will be saddened to hear of the recent death of Jenny Wren, the pony who graced the cover - and indeed inspired - our book about repairing laminitis-affected horses, titled ‘The Pony That Did Not Die’. Her passing was unrelated to her past laminitis episodes and was unexpected. Death, unfortunately, is not fettered to any calendar. Anyone new or recent to reading Horses and People may be wondering what’s so newsworthy about Jenny Wren’s story? 


Laminitis is a serious affliction that can strike your horse and leave them unable to perform at their best, through to potentially being virtually crippled.  Despite the fact there has been much research into laminitis, there is still much that is unknown about it. One of the things that we do know though is prevention is better than trying to cure it.


In recent years, many horse owners have been learning for themselves how to maintain their horses’ hooves with regular trimming - which is great. With such constant trimming, their horses’ hooves have never been better. There is more to workplace safety than just the clear and present danger of working beneath a large reactionary animal that can break a human body by simple expression of its flight or fight instincts. It’s also about the insidious wear and tear arising from the shear physicality of the task that can lead to chronic musculoskeletal disorders. 


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