The Fundamentals of Foundation –Part 3 – Getting To Know The Feet

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 10, 2012 06:01

Robin Davis is a lifelong horse lover who founded of the Holistic Horse Care Cooperative ( and, alongside of her husband, is owner/operator of a holistic horsekeeping ranch in Northern Colorado called Mustang Hollow.  Robin loves to spend time with her horses any way she can.  Her current herd of six consists of 1 Mustang, 1 Warmblood, 1 OTTB, 1 Quarter horse, 1 Arabian and 1 Welsh cross.  Robin loves to trailride, has competed in Dressage and has started and tuned up many horses using natural horsemanship methods.
When we live with horses we get used to shifting our agenda based upon the energies that present themselves at the time they do.  My agenda was to continue the conversation about the feet in this next blog, Mother Nature’s agenda was to present a HUGE wildfire to the west of us and, therefore, get me exploring and taking action with ways to support my horses through smoke inhalation.  Yup, pretty big shift.


So let’s talk about the feet some more.  Last blog about the feet addressed getting in timing with the feet.  By now your horse should be as interested in what you want to do with their feet as you are in how the feet fall.  I hope you are having fun as your relationship deepens and your training is getting easier.
I mentioned that the hoof is an indication of wellness.  I’m sure you’ve already begun to think about what sorts of indicators I might be talking about.  Of course, the obvious ones such as thrush, hoof wall cracking and white line disease jump to mind readily.  For a less obvious indicator, pay attention to how your horse lands with its feet.  Do they land heel – toe, or do they land flat, or do they stab the toe? 
When they step forward where are they breaking over the toe.  Does it seem to take forever and then the horse kind of flips the toe out to begin again, or do they appear to have a choppy breakover, or is it an easy breakover with what appears to be an efficient use of the entire leg, shoulder and hip?

Photo credits Robin Davis, Holistic Horse Care Cooperative

Sit and watch your horse move when you are not a part of the equation.  One of the best places to do this is in the pasture while they graze or when they are turned loose in an arena without any gear attached to them and you are not moving them around.  Compare two or three horses and their movement.  In fact even better, watch several.  Time sitting and watching how different horses move is time well spent if you really want to get to know the feet and what efficient biomechanics look like.
So much can be told from the hoof we could go on for days and days.  But for now enjoy your time watching how a few horses stride. Happy trails. 

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Holistic Horsekeeping