The Harmful Effects of Shoeing

(The following information was provided by Dr. Hiltrud Strasser and Ms. Sabine Kells -- used by permission.)

  1. Walls cannot wear & maintain normal shape/length
    - unnatural stresses on hoof as walls get too long
    - incorrect trim cannot be worn away

  2. Vibration (800 Hz)
    - destroys hoof wall and tissue
    - causes structural abnormalities in laminar corium, leading to compromised coffin bone suspension
    - causes irritation of ligament & tendon attachments to periosteum of bones & joint cartilage

  3. Hoof mechanism is impaired
    - reduced shock absorption with fixation of the wall
    - impact travels up leg & stresses joints, etc.
    - ossifications
    - coffin bone impacts sole which cannot draw flat
    - circulation in the hoof is reduced
    - heart is overstressed (without support from hooves)
    - poor cell nutrition & reduced temperature
    - reduced cell metabolism
    - reduced horn quality and quantity
    - excessive waste metabolic protein unused in hoof production remains in bloodstream
    - overstressing of kidneys, liver, skin

  4. Physical trauma (bruising, etc.) to hoof tissues

  5. Weight causes unnatural strains on joints & ligaments through centrifugal effects

  6. Traction compromised: too little on smooth, slick terrain, too much on softer ground

  7. Deformation & contraction of the hoof
    - heel pain or “navicular syndrome”
    - thrush
    - skeletal & muscular stresses, conformational changes

  8. Negative effects of nails
    - physical damage to wall (holes)
    - dehydration of white line horn
    - vibrations affecting horn & corium
    - insulation breached (metal conducts cold into foot, decreasing corium temperature and cell metabolism)

  9. Danger & severity of injury increased
    - to the horse itself (caught in wire, interference, etc.)
    - to people
    - to other horses

  10. Damage to properties, trails, etc. increased dramatically

  11. Prevents proper development of young horse’s foot & coffin bone (especially palmar processes)

  12. Orthopedic possibilities do not exist (circulation is reduced, while healing requires increased circulation)

  13. “Incorrect” shoeing increases rate & severity of damage

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.  ~ Winston Churchill