If My Horse Could Talk, She Would Say . . .

Barefoot Is Best!

By Katharine Priegues

Katharine and her 4-H project at the fair


Horseshoes are simply a bad idea and it is time for the world to move past them. The damage caused by horseshoes is no secret and in my opinion doing damage to an animal to make it better suit our needs is inherently wrong.

— Pete Ramey, Author, Making Natural Hoof Care Work For You

Hi, my name is Lady Gwenevere. I am a Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred. I am 23 years old now. For many years my humans kept uncomfortable steel shoes nailed to my feet. It caused so much damage to my hooves, but they didn't know better.

Like most horses noone trimmed my feet right. Shoes cause underrun heels and contracted frogs and heels. That's because most normal farriers leave our heels too long - high heels.

Like every horse I have five hearts, one in my chest and one in each of my hooves, but when they put shoes on my feet I could not pump the blood through my legs. That made my hooves weaker and weaker - and made my humans think I needed shoes. Founder and laminitis (serious hoof diseases) don't exist in wild horse populations (because they don't have shoes!)

But now my humans have given me a natural barefoot trim so my hooves look more like my wild horse friends. Now my feet are stronger and healthier! I can run and jump with no problem! They feel great!

Shoes all started in the Middle Ages. Horses lived in stone castles, in very close quarters. This weakened their hooves, and so horse shoeing began. Luckily more humans are discovering how good bare foot is for horses!

Natural hoof form, drawn by Katharine


If you want to learn more about barefoot horses, log onto www.barefoothoof.com or www.tribeequus.com or www.barefoothorse.com.

Stalls Are Jails!!! DON'T Fence Me In!!!

Please don't keep me in a stall all day. A stall is like a jail to me. It is important to let me out into my pasture as much as you possibly can! I love running around in my pasture! It is so fun, but when you keep me cooped up in a stall all day I am bored. I am also standing in my own manure, which means I might get bacterial or fungal infections in my hooves. Even worse, I could even COLIC or FOUNDER!

I'm so lucky that my humans let me out all day! Even in the cold! I just need room to run around. So, please don't keep me locked up in a stall.

Hay Is For Horses

I love hay. Hay and grass are my favorite foods. If you look at the diet of my wild horse friends, you can obviously see that they don't eat rich grass and feed like Alfalfa or sweet feed. My wild horse friends eat up to 20 hours a day grazing on a variety of dry grass and plants. By eating dry grasses and plants I am lowering my risk of colic and founder. My humans give me one cup of Buckeye feed (It has protein and very low carb) in the morning and at night. That's it! The rest of the day I graze on grass in my pasture and nibble on hay piles spread out on the ground that my humans give me.

Pat Parelli, with some of the members of our 4H club, the Savvy Saddle Club, answering a question about playing the Seven Games with your horse. November 2003, Ocala, Success with Horses Tour. (Katharine, second from right)


Copyright Katharine Priegues

Reserve Champion, 4-H Project Animal Sciences, Jr.

Special Merit Award

South Florida Fair, West Palm Beach, Florida


Katharine received several awards for this project:

- A blue ribbon for the project as a Junior 4-H Project

- Overall Reserve Champion, for the fair, in the Animal Sciences Division, Junior, 8 to 12 years old (this division included all animals, not just horses, but poultry, pigs, goats, cows, etc.)

- Special Merit Award, which also required an oral presentation that was part of the grade

Katharine's 4-H club, the Savvy Saddle Club, has 14 members whose focus is natural horsemanship. Katharine is Vice President of the club. All members are studying Parelli Natural Horsemanship with their horses. Katharine graduated Level One when she was 8 years old (she was 9 at the time of the fair). There are now 6 Level One graduates in the club. They get together for playdays regularly and also for clinics with Kirsten Nelsen (3-Star PNH Instructor).

The 4-H members and Kirsten Nelsen (Katharine, mounted, center; younger sister Ellie far left, mounted)