Media Critique: The Barefoot Horse

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The Barefoot Horse. An Introduction to Barefoot Hoof Care and Hoof Boots. Trafalgar Square Books. Softcover. $29.95. Available at?www.horsebooksetc.com, 800-952-5813.

Barefoot

This relatively thin book is a worthwhile, enjoyable read. The author explains her views about barefoot horses thoroughly and offers excellent advice on how you can make a healthy transition from shoes to barefoot.

In fact, she's so thorough we found answers to barefoot questions we hadn't thought about yet. She addresses problems you may encounter, like traction, varying riding surfaces and initial soreness. She talks about the importance of proper management and nutrition, which is vital to hoof health - barefoot or shod - but you may still need some extra help in those areas. Still, her sections on hoof boots make up for it. Research references and case histories are included.

Our only real complaint is that she doesn't address specific problems, such as what to do if your horse has a quarter crack (usually requires shoes to stabilize the hoof) or if you participate in a discipline where shoes are necessary to be competitive, like racing.

Bottom Line: This is a great guide for going barefoot and then keeping your barefoot horse sound and healthy.

Best Suited For: Those already convinced they want to switch to barefoot but don't know how to make the transition successfully. Also great for those who are confused about hoof boots.

you'll Be Disappointed If: 

You expect a balanced approach to the shoes vs. barefoot controversy. We couldn't find what we considered an unbiased section discussing each choice. The author is adamant that shoes are always bad and barefoot is the only correct choice.

Lee Foley, Contributing Farrier Editor