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"no hoof, no horse"

Scientific method by Balance-F


Barefoot trim in Portugal

Every horse is individual. It is important to focus on an approach that works with the structures of the hoof and the needs of each individual horse.

I am a farrier since 1995 and barefoot trimmer since 2006 throughout Portugal and parts of Spain. 

Next to many years of experience in the field and having written guidelines for trimming for eg Escola National de Equitação Natural,

I also found it very helpful to get a Professional Certificate as Hoofcare Practionar by Balance-F, a scientific method created by Daniel Anz.

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Why Barefoot could be beneficial for both horse and owner

 As a barefoot practitioner I specialize on recognizing and serving the individual needs of a horse. By observing both, traditional and holistic principles of care and healing, I have succeeded plenty of times to get discarded horses rehabilitated  and to become full performing barefoot athletes.


To understand this approach, let’s take a look at why people started to shoe horses in the first place. Well, naturally, horses have needs, which have evolved over millions of years. When these basic needs relating to nutrition, movement and herd life are not met, the animals are weakened. This in turn requires owners to protect their horse with all kinds of means, such as shoeing. However, these practices (which became popular in the Middle Ages), will weaken a horse even further. How come?


If you put an iron on a highly sensitive, ever adapting organ like a hoof, you imprison it, rob it of its functioning and thus inhibit its natural mechanics. Medical research has measured 70 percent less chock absorption, less blood flow, less restraining of the downwards moving skeleton in the hoof capsule after landing on it and less propulsion after lifting the foot again. Moreover, the proprioception, a fancy term for the process in which the nerve endings stimulate muscles and joints while the horse moves, is negatively affected. This means, the animal is less able to locate its body’s position, which again results in less controllable motion and waste of precious energy.


To conclude: shoeing does NOT improve healthy hoof function, it just disguises the horse's inability to walk and perform on his own feet. As a result, the animal often pushes his limits too far and soon becomes victim of self-destruction. The symptoms of which unfortunately many owners are familiar with: injured tissues cannot regenerate because the metabolism slows down due to reduced blood flow. This decreases chances for successful rehabilitation significantly.


However, horses are remarkable in their ability to adapt to their living conditions, even those who were thought to be lost cases. Once you get the formula "nutrition, movement, environment and trimming techniques" right, your horse will gratefully show you his ability to heal and be rehabilitated!


I have successfully treated many horses with bad hoof health by identifying its individual needs, e.g. nutrition, and by helping owners to kick start by establishing a functional hoof care routine. 


Love your horse and go barefoot! Iet me try to help you.


Yours sincerely,


Tom de Graeve



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Tom De Graeve

+351 964 105 069 (also on whatsapp)

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