Learn about what forms and deforms hooves and how the methodology of Preventive Hoof Care can prevent hoof problems and keep your horse healthy. Applied hoof physics as long term solution instead of repair measures for the moment.
What is Preventive Hoof Care?
The Preventive Hoof Care Authority addresses the correction and prevention of hoof deformities and hoof diseases.
One main advantage compared to other trimming methods: No abrupt changes for the limbs!
The main difference between Preventive Hoof Care and conventional hoof trimming is the departure of radical one-sided hoof wall cutting in order to balance the hooves. A crooked hoof wall will still be crooked if you merely cut it. It is then shorter but still not straight. Instead, the hoof specialist applies a unique filing technique, (Thatched Roof Technique), that can control the abrasion of hoof horn. Negative physical forces which deform the hoof can be reversed. Parts of the hoof that were not used before and caused instability are then included in the overall load and usage. The horse can use its limb differently and will walk its way into a naturally corrected shape.
To achieve the best possible condition for the respective hoof, the overall situation of the horse (genetic and disease-related predispositions) must be taken into account.
The principal goal is the healing of unphysiological hoof conditions rather than simply treating the symptoms.
A long term solution for hoof problems.
Founder of Preventive Hoof Care, serving clients in the U.S.
Instructor at the Center for Hoof Physics in Pennsylvania
Certified Hoof Orthopedist* of the German Institute for Hoof Orthopedics since 2001, serving clients throughout Central Europe
Instructor at the German Institute for Hoof Orthopedics since 2003
Instructor at the Center for Hoof Orthopedics in Berlin since 2017
Licensed Trainer Westernriding/Horsemanship
*In Germany, the profession belongs to the group of professionals who manipulate the hoof for the purpose of protection, health maintenance, correction, or treatment, without applying an iron shoe. The Center for Hoof Orthopedics in Germany is an institution that trains professionals for this purpose. According to the decision of the Bundesverfassunsgerichtes**, the practice of this profession has been approved since 2007 on the basis of Article 12, Paragraph 1 of the German Constitution.
**The Federal Constitutional Court, which is the equivalent of the United States Supreme Court.
What we offer
Treatment of unphysiological hoof conditions
There is no healthy horse without healthy hooves. Unphysiological hoof conditions - hooves that are not in balance - have a negative impact on the overall health of the horse.
Preventive Hoof Care is the key component for treatment options of pre-existing or degenerative defective conditions which cause severe problems in the horse’s biomechanical system and affect the ability to move properly.
Through treatment, the horn can develop in a positive way and its physical state will improve.
Visible results and improvements of the hoof condition can usually be achieved within a short time frame.
Change from shod hoof to barefoot
Treating hoof diseases is only possible by regular trimming in short intervals on the unshod hoof. To change undesirable conditions the horn needs to be exposed to abrasion to make revision effective.
Shoes will not repair those conditions. They actually become unnecessary once the hooves are trimmed properly and the horse is given time for recovery.
A shod hoof suffers from a lack of stimulation from being fixated on the stiff metal shoe. As a result the hoof produces horn of inferior quality. In addition, the hoof wall is perforated by the nail holes and often is marked by cracks and fissures. This can lead to the breaking off of larger parts of the horn. As a result, the horse may instinctively walk on the sole exclusively for a while but the sole is not suited to carry the weight of the horse by itself, therefore, there must be a transitional period where the hoof can improve and better quality material can grow back.
There is no such thing as a horse "being too old" to go barefoot since the natural production of hoof horn material does not alter with age.
Effective and regular hoof care should be a priority, one that enables the horse to have the best quality of life. The objective is to achieve the best possible condition for each individual hoof of each unique horse, taking into account its genetic predispositions and any diseases during this process.
Common conditions include:
Navicular disease, joint or cartilage disease, laminitis, lines, cracks, bruises, and abscesses.
These are common diagnoses to a hoof specialist and can be prevented through correct treatment. For the most part, these conditions are caused by deformations of the hoof. Therefore it is helpful to look for a correct assessment of the hoof before the horse shows signs of lameness or other symptoms.
Jessica and Anabelle, Clinton Corners , NY
"My mare has been barefoot for almost 3 years now. Thanks to Nadine and her unique methods I have Evented her on all sorts of terrain. We hunter pace in the fall and she even walks on hard frozen ground with no struggle. She is more cautious about our footing and when we canter out in a wet field and I feel safer knowing she feels the ground. I have learned being barefoot, it is more maintenance in a sense. Proper nutrients and keeping your horse on a tight schedule for trims is a must. Where I come from barefoot is not something people talk about as it is not an option for a top athlete such as an Eventer, Show Jumper, or Hunter. However, I think it is time for people to start caring more about their horses' bodies. I have never met a trimmer with Nadine's skills and there are barefoot lovers out there that have the right idea but they are still missing some of the key methods Nadine uses to keep the hoof balanced. I do not think I will ever find someone as talented as Nadine and I am looking forward to her starting a school so I can learn the proper techniques to keep my horses' hooves in the best condition possible. There is a great need to reeducate people about how the hoof should be treated and it is a skill I am eager to acquire."
"What a magician Nadine is! For the first time in 52 years, not one of my horses need to wear shoes. This is due to her special trimming method. I am so pleased!"
Juckas Stables, Bullville, NY
Blue Arrow Farm, Pine Island
"It will be 4 years I have owned my Jewel, an 11 year old quarter horse mare, and for 4 years I have been working with her feet . I did not realize Jewel had a club foot when I first got her but I quickly learned that she had major hoof issues. Until I met Nadine all I could do was keep Jewel comfortable while trying to find the answer to fix her. I have tried : Cloud boots, special shoes, different medications, and salt soaks to name a few, all costly and very time consuming. Three months ago, Nadine started working with Jewel and she has literally changed her life and mine. I used to fear when the farrier would come, cutting and shoeing would leave Jewel lame for days. When Nadine finishes working on Jewel with no cutting, no shoes my mare is comfortable and sound . Anyone looking for that answer to prayer when it comes to horses with hoof issues, Nadine with OrthoHoof is definitely the way to go!"
Sunny and his mom, Jo-Ann Floridia
"I met Nadine when my horse Sunny had been lame for almost two months. I had three veterinarians and two farriers check him. They all told me the same thing. He would require pain medication and stall rest . I was also told I would have to consider putting him down at some point. A friend told me about Nadine. She came and checked him. She told me he would get relief but she had to treat him monthly and I had to stop his bute. She explained her method was different than what we have in the US. I trusted her immediately. Sunny has not been lame for more than 18 months. He is being ridden and his hoof walls are almost normal. I cannot describe the depth of my gratitude for this Lady and her methods. I stopped crying and Sunny jumps and kicks on his way out to pasture."
What does the ideal hoof look like?
The ideal hoof is a healthy hoof which has a load that is distributed uniformly, meaning that each part of the hoof capsule bears weight equally in the moment of the limb`s main load. The inner structures within the hoof capsule determine the shape for each individual hoof.
The hoof specialist makes sure that the hoof becomes more balanced - not by radical hoof wall cutting but by applying specific precision filing techniques.
Is there a complete cure for laminitis?
Yes, there is! Taking into consideration the biomechanical processes that are occurring and knowing that it is not the coffin bone that rotates but rather the hoof capsule in which the bone is held, the consequences of laminitis and the changes to the hoof capsule are reversible by the right hoof treatment. Even chronic conditions are improvable depending on how much the lamellar dermis is already damaged - the best possible conditions are achievable.
Why the short intervals?
The horn of the hoof wall grows about 8mm (about 5/16ths inch) per month. The corresponding material at the bearing edge is exposed to ground reacting forces which continuously form and deform the hoof. In the course of the treatment, the newly produced hoof wall will grow down in a new orientation and the hoof will shape new. This is only possible if the treatments happen in short intervals in order to keep the hoof in the best possible shape. Only short maintenance intervals guarantee the further restoration of its natural physiological shape.
Can every horse go barefoot?
Metal shoes provide protection from abrasion when the abrasion rate exceeds the rate at which the hoof can grow new material. This condition was common in the past and occurred when horses were used for hard labor for many hours a day, presenting shoeing as an indispensable option. Today we have alternatives, temporary hoof protection without the negative effects that shoes will invariably cause. Metal shoes will not allow any corrective measures. Once the hooves are rehabilitated, hoof protection is very often not necessary any more.