Making Natural Hoof Care Work for You

By Pete Ramey

Copyright 2003, Pete Ramey
ISBN 0-9658007-7-6
Star Ridge Publishing
PO Box 2181
Harrison , AR 72601
Paperback 8.5" x 11", 168 pages
Approx. $27 US

If you have any interest in your horse's hooves at all, which every self-respecting horseperson does because the hooves are the horse's foundation, then "Making Natural Hoof Care Work for You" is the book for you.

This essential book is a well-written, hands-on manual on hoof care and trimming intended for the horse caretaker, veterinarian, and farrier. Its author, Pete Ramey, is a working natural hoof care practitioner and the Principal Instructor in the Certification Program of the American Association of Natural Hoof Care Practitioners.

Pete presents a simple, straightforward approach to hoof trimming that leads to sound, tough, natural hooves, without the tenderfootedness that often occurs during the transition back to natural. Pete explains in detail why this tenderfootedness happens and how it can be avoided, and how to achieve sound hooves.

"Getting On the Same Page" is the title of the Introduction, and thankfully it attempts to do just that - get all those in favor of helping the horse to work together, and be on the same page, on hoof care - and more. This is a very important part of the text and reflects the 'FOR the horse' attitude of the book.

The chapters of the book are: Our Model, The Natural Hoof; The Domestic Hoof; The Basic Natural Trim; Maintenance Trimming; Rehabilitation Trimming; Natural Horsekeeping; Transition; Trimming For A Living; and an epilogue, The Future of Natural Hoof Care. A very helpful and important section on gentle horse-handling techniques is included in one of the chapters as well. There are helpful resources and a handy index. Pete answers a lot of questions that have so far gone unanswered in other texts. There is little if anything to be improved upon with this book, yet Pete points out that there is always something more to learn from hooves, and experience is the real teacher.

Pete provides a wealth of excellent diagrams and photos to explain the whys, hows and wherefores of hoof care and trimming. It contains no-nonsense, comprehensive trimming guidelines with explanations both pictorially and in text, leaving little room for error in interpretation. Still, the guidelines are such that they apply to each individual hoof. Pete admits the difficulty in accomplishing this explanation clearly, yet he does so beautifully.

Reading and understanding this book and practicing its teachings promise success in restoring and maintaining a healthy hoof. Pete has done an excellent job of sorting through the misinformation and confusion often surrounding natural hoof care and trimming to find tried and true answers.

"Making Natural Hoof Care Work for You" applies to all breeds of horses, all equestrian disciplines, and all horse caretakers, veterinarians, and farriers who care about the horse. It is an easy-to-read straightforward text, written in simple terms, intended for people with a working knowledge of horses and their hooves. It is an essential for the good health and well-being of the horse.

Natural Equine Orthodontics:
What's the Point?

By Spencer LaFlure

Copyright 2003, The Tooth Fairy, Inc.
60 minutes
Approx. $25.00 US

Finally! There is now a video on horse dentistry - the first of its kind. Proper dental care for the horse is extremely important for his health and well-being, but this is an area that has gone unaddressed and unexplored for way too long. What we can't readily see, we don't understand or we tend to forget about. Out of sight, out of mind.

Why horse owners and veterinarians alike have been in the dark about this subject is mainly because veterinary education rarely includes it. But Spencer may just change all that, because in "Natural Equine Orthodontics", he clearly presents a wealth of information from which everyone can learn. It makes sense, naturally, and follows the example of the wild horse. Spencer also makes it clear that dentistry is still just one part of the health equation, and that the dentist is just one member of the horse care team.

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry dealing with the prevention and correction of irregularities of the teeth. There is a lot more to equine dental care than floating, or filing off points. Restoring the natural biomechanics of the horse's mouth is the objective, and is the means to bringing about overall balance. In this 60-minute professionally produced video, Spencer explains why and how.

"Natural Equine Orthodontics" first presents life as the wild horse knows it, and how it relates to dental health and overall health. It then presents life as the domestic horse knows it, and why it involves management of the teeth where wild horses don't need it. The idea of addressing the incisors first when doing dentistry is presented and is well-supported; it achieves natural balance according to each individual's mouth. Lack of wear on the incisors, and its effects on the rest of the mouth and the horse as a whole, are presented and discussed. Other dental imbalances and how they can be related to common health problems such as heaves, colic, bleeding from the nostrils, structural imbalances, lameness, and more are explained and discussed, as is how restrictions in the mouth affect the whole body.

The viewer will see and learn about the make-up of the teeth, the kinds and numbers of teeth, parts of the skull, what common dental problems horses encounter and why, how balance (or lack of it) in the horse's mouth and TMJ affect and are affected by the rest of the body, proprioception and neurology, and much, much more. The viewer will see how dental problems can be misinterpreted as behavior problems and/or resistance. Throughout this video, it becomes clear that the body can have freedom of motion only when the mouth has freedom of motion.

This video makes good use of animation in many instances to give the viewer a clear picture of what goes on inside the mouth. Diagrams, pictures, and live horses are used as well. A huge collection of horse skulls is used to demonstrate individual differences and to explain and demonstrate oral biomechanics and both healthy and abnormal conditions of many kinds. A horse skeleton is also used for demonstrating the whole body connection.

Spencer, with his down-to-earth style, does an excellent job of making some pretty tough concepts about the horse's mouth easy to understand. He demonstrates safe and simple ways to determine from the outside what is going on inside the mouth.

The video also features Heather Mack, VMD, the late Ronnie Willis, Professional Horse Trainer, and Dino Fretterd, Equine Bodywork Specialist. Each of these experts provides additional insight and information. Addressing the whole horse makes for whole health and whole performance.

In "Natural Equine Orthodontics", it becomes clear that, although there may be other reasons for horses having problems, dental issues are often the culprit. Common dental practices can easily miss the mark or fail to resolve these problems, or worse, create problems. It is the purpose of this video to share information about beneficial and natural ways to practice dentistry - FOR the horse.