Welcome to my new blog, The Barefoot Hoof.
What can you expect to find in the posts that follow? I will share with you my adventures as a barefoot trimmer, my thoughts on hooves, their form and function, and how to help your horse maintain four healthy feet. You can also expect a lot of cute pictures of horses, donkeys and ponies.
Who am I? I am a small-town girl with a love of horses that only grew as I grew. I was raised in a tiny hamlet in Saskatchewan, where I dreamed about owning horses but had no opportunities. When I graduated high school, I took a very practical route - I went to university and obtained my mechanical engineering degree. I followed that with sixteen years, working as an engineer in the Power Industry.
In 2006, I finally realized my dream and became a horse owner. From the moment I bought Joker, I was fascinated by his feet. I wanted to learn everything I could about hooves. In 2007, my sister, Laura, and I bought our ranch, and from there our horse count expanded. As of 2018, we have eleven horses, four donkeys, one miniature horse, four goats and numerous other animals. I kept learning about hooves and started trimming my own horses in 2014, after my farrier moved away.
In the spring of 2017, I had one of those moments - you know, the kind you look back on and point to, saying, "That was when everything started to change." I signed up for a weekend clinic with the Hoof Geeks, Christine Tomlin and Francine Labossiere. At the clinic, I devoured the knowledge they presented, pushed myself to learn and understand, trimmed cadaver hooves and finally applied everything to my horse, Breezy. To say I was hooked was an understatement. I was standing on the edge of the cliff, ready to leap into the future and become a hoof geek.
I went home from the clinic and immediately started applying what I had learned. I took pictures of all my horses' and donkeys' feet and set to trimming them correctly. I flooded my new mentors with questions and pictures. And a dream was born. I wanted to become a full-time hoof trimmer "some day."
But how does one transition from a professional engineering position to a full-time barefoot trimmer? I had been an engineer in the same company for sixteen years, working my way up from a lowly engineer-in-training to a senior engineer. But I had become disillusioned with it. I loved the engineering work, but didn't love the politics and stress that were a day-to-day part of life. My health had taken a downhill turn because of stress, and I was near my breaking point. In late June of 2017, I hit it. Realizing I needed a change, and fast, I gave my notice at my "safe and secure" job and started down the road that would lead me to my calling instead.
By August 1, 2017, I was a full-time barefoot trimmer.
It was terrifying. It was exciting. It was the craziest thing I had done in my relatively safe life. But it was also a change that dramatically dropped my stress levels, improved my health and gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Since quitting my safe job, I have continued my education, taking more clinics, dissecting hooves, trimming cadavers, trimming live horses and reading countless articles and scientific studies related to hoof care. I have been under hundreds of horses with problems ranging from severe laminitis and founder to club hoof and badly underrun heels.
My learning is ongoing, and I am excited to share that with you through this blog. Welcome to The Barefoot Hoof.