Barefoot and the period of transition
The Barefoot idea is to keep the horse in the absence of shoeing and is basically a school of thought that encompasses a philosophy born in the United Stateson some horses in a wild state (hence the name in English), this philosophy aims to bring the horse to a more natural lifestyle, in which the horse has the ability to move freely and to go through natural behavioral patterns, the absence of shoeing is therefore only one of the aspects that identifies the “Barefooter“, a follower of this movement.
In the last installment of this column we have presented the barefoot and its benefits, today we will talk at “transition“, which is the first step to follow for those who wish to join this innovative technical management of the horse.
The period of transition begins immediately after the shoe has been removed, is the amount of time , which can have variable duration, in which the horse will be in a new condition and during which it manifests the difficulty of settling in which is absolutely normal.
Exactly how often it occurs right after a new shoeing, the horse must get used to his new “shoes“, the horse needs to fit into his new condition that involves several factors, such as increased blood flow to the feet, increased sensitivity and tenderness in the feet, factors to which the horse gets used to after a few days of walking around tenderly.
During this period there are many changes, the first of which are changes to the internal and external structures, the consequence of which will be a change of posture and of articular.
There is no need to worry about everything being perfectly normal, maybe it would be ideal in the first few days to allow the horse to move more easily on land ( meadows and pastures or paddocks in the sand).
The transition period is related mostly to hardening of the horny part of the foot and the period preceding that of Naturalization of the foot.
The Naturalisation of the foot is a process which takes longer and is more complex, which in past years saw a real transformation of the hoof capsule, usually it takes 2-3 cycles of the hoof but may require a period that can last from 18 to 24 months.
Although it requires quite a long time the horse will be able, however, since the end of the transition period to provide appreciable performance, but for high performance difficulties, especially with regard to the land (such as travelling by horse or endurance ) you have to wait for the naturalization of the foot.
Therefore, it should be noted that the first gift of an aspiring barefooter is patience, although still the primary role is always played by the management and you have to be very careful that mismanagement is not masked with the excuse of the transition period, however, it is a transition period that ends on average, within a few months in the case of horses in good health, it may be longer for horses with diseases (eg laminitis).