9 I read that a lot of research went into developing the natural hoof care method of trimming and most of the information was obtained from wild, free-roaming horses in the USA. Aren’t those mustang horses different from our horses? How can a wild horse in America be compared to our domesticated horses in New Zealand?
Yes the bulk of information regarding NHC has been obtained from wild/feral horses in the USA, though other free-roaming horses in other parts of the world have also been studied. Horses are not native to the US, so the now ‘wild horses’ were originally from domesticated stock. The particular hoof form of horses living free in arid harsh environments is different from horses living in wetter softer climates. Finding the balance between the two extremes and applying it to domesticated horses is part of the art of natural hoof care. Years of field study and millions of trims have established a ‘basic trim’ that when applied regularly to any domestic horse in any part of the world, will help each horse grow tidy, strong, balanced hoof capsules as long as the horse’s diet and lifestyle and health status are also in balance.
10 Won’t my horse have less grip/traction without shoes and slip more easily?
Given the right set of circumstances any horse can lose traction, whether they have shoes on or not. However, riders who have always ridden shod horses find that as soon as the shoes are removed and their horse has correctly trimmed hooves, there is an immediate improvement in traction and grip. This is especially noticeable on hard surfaces like concrete and tar seal. If you actually watch a shod horse walking on these surfaces, each hoof slides slightly as it contacts the ground, giving the effect of the horse walking on ball bearings! It must be very disconcerting for the horse to have this ‘slide’ as each hoof touches the ground and no doubt contributes to muscle and joint strain in working horses. (see question 12 regarding traction when jumping)