Wild Kaimanawa horse photos courtesy of Heike Erhlenbach

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Hoofcare Organisation Of  New Zealand Inc.
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HOOFNZ FAQ Page Number 7

13 My horse’s shoes keep falling off. He has weak, thin, shelly walls and his shoes usually only stay on for a week. I can’t possibly take his shoes off because he doesn’t have any hoof wall. He’s not a good candidate for natural hoof care is he!?

Actually, this horse is the perfect candidate for natural hoof care! Another down side of the reduction in blood flow in the shod hoof (see questions 1 & 23) is that all the various types of hoof horn are deprived of their maximum amount of nutrients delivered via the blood stream. Hooves like this often respond the fastest to a NHC trimming programme.

14 What is conditioning? I hear people talk about conditioning their horse’s feet and I’m curious to know what this entails.

The term conditioning refers to encouraging the hoof horn to harden and condense so that the horse is more comfortable when ridden long distances on hard ground. Conditioning is generally done when the horse is not being ridden i.e. in the paddock. In NZ this is accomplished by removing the horse from the typical Kiwi grazing situation and placing the horse on a track that incorporates a selection of materials, sand, river rocks or similar, hard packed dirt etc. This variety of terrain and the extra movement that goes with it, encourages the horse to develop immensely strong, durable hoof horn. To get the best possible hooves owners using this system feed their horses very little grass, substituting hay for green feed, as this builds hard hooves, tight white lines, thick soles and healthy frogs.

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