Owning and riding a horse is supposed to be fun, yet many horse-owners struggle to find that joy because of a constant and expensive battle to keep their horses sound. Professional advice for hoofcare and diet often dictates the horse should be confined to restict grazing, or removed from access to grass permanently. Months or even years later, the horse may still be footsore on any surface other than soft turf or sand and the unlucky owner is left to conclude that horses are not meant to be 'rock-crunchers' and not meant to eat grass.
The information presented on the pages of this site reports how an alternative approach to diet and management has resulted in some horses developing consistently strong feet that do not need any protection from shoes or boots on any terrain, regardless of weather conditions - a true 'gravelproof' hoof. Photographs and radiographs document internal and external structural changes in the hoof over several years. This novel approach to nutrition that optimises intake of certain minerals, primarily magnesium, has allowed many horses to enjoy the freedom of 24hr grazing.
The information provided here is freely available to everyone who may be interested but is for educational purposes only and does not constitute nutritional advice for any horse. The intention is to initiate thought and discussion so that the horse owner can make a personal decision about what is appropriate for any individual horse. All health problems should be referred to an appropriate veterinarian.
There are no products or services for sale, no sponsors, and the author does not receive any benefits or discounts from any suppliers mentioned. Whilst copyright to the entire contents of this website belongs to the author, you are permitted to download or copy any items of interest for personal use provided, however, that you do not otherwise reproduce the material without the author's prior consent nor make use of any segment out of context or with the intent to malign the author.
- Pauline Moore
Two Horses, Two Different Problems
solved by the Same Dietary Solution
Rory and Hopper
Structurally weak feet and hoof distortions for most of his life, laminitis and Cushings
How did this horse acquire strong,
gravelproof, bare feet at age 20 with:
No exercise programs and
No restriction to 24 hr grazing?
to read 'Rory's Story'
Beautiful feet all his life, strong horn, never shod, no hoof distortions, no laminitis
So why did this horse have a short stride and toe-strike until age 13?
How did he acquire a long stride and and heel-first landing?
to read 'Hopper's Story'
What's on this site?
Movement & Hoof
These pages outline some of the criteria that define a strong foot, and also what to look for in body posture and movement.
Rory & Hopper
Full documented 'lifestories' are detailed for these two horses who both had displayed years of poor movement with a short stride and toe-first landing. For one of these horses the problem was primarily in the feet, for the other the problem was primarily in the body, yet an identical dietary solution enabled both horses to acquire strong, functional, bare feet and good movement - when all else had failed. These two horses are representative of many other horses who have enjoyed similar positive changes from a similar approach to diet.
Diet, Feeds-QuickLook, Magnesium, Other Minerals,
These pages and their subpages provide some basic information about the feeds and minerals that have been used. Elements that have been eliminated are also discussed.
Gastric Ulcers, Oxalates & Mycotoxins
These pages discuss commonly encountered diet-related problems
There may be more factors involved than just hoof sole thickness and hardness in order for a horse to be 'gravelproof' without some form of hoof protection. The subpage Low Plantar Angle discusses the importance of a strong caudal foot, and how it is possible to grow stronger digital cushions within the foot. Also revealed is how some horses have been able to move comfortably and happily, barefoot, on sharp stones and gravel within minutes of simply adjusting the angles formed by the three bones of the hoof and pastern. For some horses, therapeutic stretching has been beneficial. The Stretching subpage shows how this can be done safely for horse and handler.
Recommended reading for those who like to know the detail