Submitted by Cyndee Pryor and United Steele:
If one is very lucky, a great horse comes your way once in a lifetime. We all define a great horse according to our own criteria - a horse that can tolerate our inexperience, be patient with children, go fast, go slow, do trail work, arena work, dressage, hunter jumper, or work cows. Regardless of the definition, all great horses share the uncanny ability of figuring out what we want them to do and then do it well.
I have been so blessed with such a horse. He came to me with lots of energy and a great spirit of competition. He was capable of listening to me, and I listened to him. We started with NATRC, went into endurance and competitive trail riding, IAHA Sweepstake Competitions, and even tried our hand and hoof at dressage. He took me to many regional and national competitions with ribbons, plaques, titles, placings in the money, and memories. But one issue plagued us regardless of the sport we entered - he had terrible hooves.
We would come home from a competition, and my farrier would shake his head back and forth. However athletically gifted my horse was, his hooves couldn't hold up in spite of our best efforts. We tried competing in boots, we tried flat pads, wedge pads, we tried taking off as much of the front toes as we dared. We tried most everything during the ten years of hoof problems, all to no avail. That horse refused nothing I asked except to grow a heel on those front hooves. He naturally wanted to have almost no heel growth, contracted heels, and flat soles. His quarters were always broken away on all four hooves which put too much pressure on the heels. I had to miss important competitions, not because he was tired, needed a break, or wasn’t ready, but because his hooves wouldn’t hold up.
Then I found HOOF-it II Pads. I was at a 100-mile endurance ride with another horse and as always, had my eye on anything new that might help US’s hooves. The riders parked next to us showed me how HOOF-it II Pads had worked for them and gave me a catalog. I couldn’t get home fast enough to make that phone call.
HOOF-it II Pads have worked wonders for United Steele. After an early retirement, he is back in competition. His hooves look great - even with training and 50 mile rides. After the farrier finishes putting on new shoes, we apply HOOF-it II Pads to all four hooves. The pads fill in where quarters are weak and prevent them from breaking out. I fill in the nail holes to keep his hooves moist, and also use the Hoof-it to fill in around the heels on the outside of the hoof to give more support to the heels on the shoes. We fill in all around the inside of the shoe and the sole area. If it's winter and the horse isn’t being used, I can take the pads off myself without worry of thrush due to the wet weather. When I want to ride, I can easily put the Hoof-it on, regardless of my shoeing schedule.
My farrier is amazed with how well US’s hooves look now. He is no longer flat soled, his heels grow and are no longer contracted, and his quarters hold up to the workload. US hated his early retirement, and thanks to HOOF-it II Pads, US and I are quite happy and back in competition.
Frankie was suffering from the abuse of neglect when he was rescued by Homeward Bound. Look at him now! He's making his debut as a movie horse on Desperate Housewives, Sunday, April 3, 2005 at 9pm PT. Frankie is one of nine rescued horses living dignified, healthy lives at Homeward Bound Horse Drawn Carriages in Julian, California.
He wears HOOF-it alternative horseshoes and has recovered completely from the effects of neglect because he now gets quality care.
My dressage horse has two different front feet. Needless to say, he's tricky to shoe. He has to be shod regularly at 5 weeks to prevent his knee height from becoming uneven. The challenge is to prevent his heels from contracting in the more upright hoof.
I decided to have my farrier try HOOF-it Natural Flex alternative horseshoes on his front feet. He's been in them now for two shoeings. Since the composite material of the alternative horse shoes is not as hard as steel or aluminum and the shoe has a frog plate, his hoof growth is more even on each foot.
What a great invention! There are lots of horses out there that don't do well standing and working on steel or aluminum shoes. I hope to compete him again this year at 4th Level and PSG.
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" A superb tool that ought to be in every barn. I had looked at a similar style (hint: it's more expensive and you have to switch heads rather than just position the hoof differently) but am really glad I went with this one". -Mac Macalary