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Wild Kaimanawa horse photos courtesy of Heike Erhlenbach

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Hoofcare Organisation Of  New Zealand Inc.
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HOOFNZ FAQ Page Number 8

15 I sometimes ride on tar seal and gravel roads. Don’t horses need horse shoes on their hooves to protect them from the stones and abrasive footing?

The equine hoof has an amazing ability to adapt to the type of environment it is exposed to. If your horse lives on soft Waikato grassy pasture, it will have hooves that reflect that terrain. If your horse lives on a hard packed dairy race its hooves will have adapted to that hard dry environment, even if it previously lived on a soft grassy paddock.
If you want to ride without shoes on a rocky or abrasive surface your horse will need to be exposed to this type of surface when he is not being ridden to encourage the hooves to harden and strengthen, otherwise hoof boots would be beneficial. See question 14.
If your horse lives in a typical NZ grazing situation then chances are it may not have hard enough hoof wall, sole and frog to be 100% comfortable on gravel. Hoof boots will give protection to soft hooves on abrasive terrain but do not affect natural hoof function, blood flow etc.
Horses with correctly conditioned hooves are able to move freely over gravel and tar seal when ridden, which also helps naturally trim their feet.

16 I have read that horse’s hooves bleed after being trimmed! I’m not comfortable about someone making my horse bleed!! Is this necessary?

Absolutely not!! Natural Hoof Care neither encourages nor accepts invasive trimming practises. Only licensed Veterinarians are legally permitted to perform surgical procedures on horses. Working with live tissue is a vet’s domain. Natural hoof care practitioners work with external hoof tissues only and do not break the blood/live tissue barrier. Anyone causing hooves to bleed when being trimmed needs to be taken to task!
 

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