…….It’s been a while. Our last newsletter was way back in Summer 2019.

That is far enough back in time for us to have a whole lot of folks new to our database getting this newsletter for the first time. And it’s probably been so long that all of our old subscribers have forgotten what it’s all about anyway.

So, for the benefit of new and new-again readers, our aim at the Barefoot Blacksmith is to learn, develop, apply and then most importantly, pass on knowledge that may ultimately benefit equines.

This newsletter is our conduit and it aims to bring information to help horse owners get the most out of barehoofcare – overcoming the paradox of modern hoofcare, by achieving both equine performance and longevity. Sustainable hoofcare.

But our newsletter goes beyond hardcore hoof trimming. It is about the whole horse and about holistic hoof management. Subjects covered include (but aren’t strictly limited to):

  • Creating a hoof healthy lifestyle for horses
  • Overcoming hoof management difficulties
  • Product and equipment news
  • The latest in sustainable hoof protection
  • Horse handling ideas
  • Handy hints to make a hard job easier
  • Musculoskeletal therapy related to hooves
  • Hoofcare careers

There has never been a shortage of material for the newsletter.

In the past our newsletters have been widely read and well received by our huge network of horse owners who manage their own hoofcare, as well as hoofcare professionals and equine therapists of numerous modalities.

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So where have we been since the start of 2019??

We haven’t been idle, we just got a bit side tracked over the last couple of years by letting the day job get right out of hand.

In recent years I have returned more to the performance horse world where once I hung my shingle when I worked a ‘traditional’ farrier.

And no, I didn’t go back there because there weren’t enough horses to fill up my days on easy street just trimming. I really didn’t need the extra work and I definitely didn’t need the extra physical stress of working with ‘expressive’ horses nor the mental stress of keeping competitive jockeys happy, which in the performance world equates to the colour of ribbons won.

(Don’t get me wrong. Competitive riders are great folks to work for. They bring out the best in farriers because they require and demand exacting work and being forthright is actually effective communication with farriers).

And no, I haven’t gone back to metal shoeing.

I blame my return to the performance world on the development of fully flexible poly shoes that are a sustainable, practical and reliable alternative to steel, especially for horses with lameness or performance issues arising from their hooves.

Here at the Barefoot Blacksmith we are definitely not barefoot or bust.

We recognise that horses and their hooves are compromised as soon as we put our weight on their back and when it comes to hoofcare, we realise that compromises are sometimes needed.

Hoof boots are always going to be our first choice for hoof protection, but in situations beyond the reach of boots, if we need to nail on polyshoes, so be it; as long as the compromise is sustainable.

For any dyed in the wool barefoot purists (if you are still reading), it’s a good thing we have an unsubscribe button.

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I dare say there will be much said about polyshoes (and tips and shims and all sorts of things) as our blog gathers pace.

Back to the main story….polyshoes have been such a revelation, that in no time at all I was putting them on over 200 horses; in addition to the other (500’ish) horses that were already filling my days.

Kiss goodbye to newsletter writing time.

So, to cut a long story short – which is something you’ve probably noticed that I’m not really good at – our intention has always been to rekindle the newsletter. There just haven’t been enough weeks in a day.

But why the comeback now? At the tail end of a very tedious and increasingly strange 2020?

Let’s just say that the farrier has been ‘gifted’ a bit of overdue long service leave by a couple of horses who weren’t being very good citizens back in the early days of spring.

Sayonara 2020!



Andrew Bowe

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