Barefoot Horse - Testimonials

This is a long testimonial, but I encourage you to read it to the end. Chances are, you are a lot like me, and your horses are a lot like mine. I want you to know there is hope.

I have always tried to do the best for my horses. I noticed that popular methods often involved force, didn't always work, or offered only short term solutions. I spent a lot of money on various experts, and became very cautious about trying anything new.

But I am one of the lucky ones. I met Lucy after only 2 years of struggling with behavioural problems and foot issues. Now, thanks to Lucy, all my horses are sound and better behaved, and we are competing at dressage, showjumping and soon my dream of ODE.

I consider myself lucky because I know people who have been battling with lameness conditions, behavioural problems and keeping weight on or off their horses for over 20 years. I made very common mistakes and been taken in by very widespread false beliefs about horsecare & management. As an educated person I am still acutely embarrassed and sad about that. The only thing that makes me feel better is that my horses are happy and pain free now and I have the future to look forward to.

It was by chance that I met Lucy. I originally just wanted to turn the horses out without shoes while I went on a 3 month trip. Alarm bells started ringing when the farrier warned me my pony might "get laminitis" if I did that... Common sense told me that horseshoes don't cause laminitis... so what was going on? Also, several yard owners told me very emphatically that "Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds can't go barefoot". Well that just didn't make sense either...

When Lucy pulled off the pony's shoes we could clearly see the nails had gone through the sole. The farrier had been forced to do this because the hoof wall was so thin. It was so thin because I was turning her out in the afternoon when the grass sugar content is very high, and she was having mini lami attacks. My pony was in a very sparse "starvation" paddock at the time... it was big news to me that so little grass can have such a big effect.

Lucy kindly explained that shoeing numbs the hoof, and can cover up many problems until a lot of damage has been done. Thankfully, most things can be corrected, and even at 20 yrs old my pony has bounced back very quickly and everyone thinks she looks younger and brighter than ever.

I was in tears when the "Natural Balance" shoes came off my 7yr old Warmblood. Without shoes, he was completely crippled. No really, he couldn't walk. Though he had been sound while shod he had been tripping and breaking at the knee. Temperament-wise he was kind but could be nappy and sharp and scary. I had no idea that these problems were related.

It wasn't the farrier's fault, he was just providing a shoeing solution. The real problem was my horse's diet, which was making his hooves grow at the wrong angle. His diet was similar to all the other horses on the yard, it never occurred to me that feed might be the root of all my problems. Feeding was my responsibility, and I let my horses down by just doing what everyone else did.

My Thoroughbred's hooves were longer than they were wider, and so had to be "bullnosed" dramatically for shoeing. I am embarrassed to say that I didn't know what "good feet" were supposed to look like. 'Knowledgeable' people had told me he had "reasonable feet for a thoroughbred" so I didn't think any more of it. Against the odds my Thoroughbred made the quickest progress of them all. It was funny to see the flared bit at the bottom of the hoof while it was growing out.

I had no idea that all my horses were suffering from low grade laminitis, but the proof was glaringly obvious in their hoof condition. Lucy recommended testing the horses for Insulin Resistance and Cushings, and took samples of their forage for sugar & mineral testing. It was refreshing that someone was talking 'science' to me in a way I could understand. Lucy had some supplies so I could try the new diet and see the results for myself. In a few days they were all a lot more comfortable and sound on soft surfaces.

I came up against a lot of resistance from the well-meaning yard owners because my horses were obviously uncomfortable for a short period. Once upon a time I would have bute'd them up, but this can affect their digestive system and might have set back their healing process. There have been some very hard choices to make, and I have lost some 'friends' along the way, but I wouldn't go back now.

My vets are impressed that my horses are now "super sound" and have near perfect weight. All the excess fat is gone and we are building authentic top line & muscle at the moment. It is going to take time. I sometimes wish for a shortcut but there isn't one.

It is hard for us all to take on new ideas - even when they are just going back to basics. The horse world is like a beautiful Victorian house that has gathered modern clutter and fashionable wallpaper over the years. Stripping back to bare wood is always the best way forward.

Lucy has helped me become a responsible horse owner, and realise that it is my duty to understand how horses work and not just rely on the current accepted way of doing things. She has helped me resolve my issues and guard against problems of the future.

E Pepper South East

I’ve learnt more about feet in a day thank I think I’ve learnt in sixteen years...

Me and my pony's story is not one of repeated laminitis or leg pains, but after a colic surgery in 2007 I decided to try out this barefoot concept as I couldn't ride for four months anyway.

We're both from Norway and my only worry was ice and that he would slip and break something as soon as the winter came. This did not happen and as it turns out, he's pretty well balanced even on the slippiest surfaces. However, he was always foot sore. So much so I couldn't dream of hacking him out without boots if I wanted any flow whatsoever on gravel, and at one point he was so bad the vet decided to give him painkillers just so he could walk freely in his field.

Someone mentioned at one point that sugar could have something to do with it but no one told me how, why or what I could do about it so I just kept using the boots and avoiding gravel tracks - which is almost impossible in Norway as we are very much short of any flat, grassy bits.

At one point I even shod his front feet again, but took them off when the snow came.

When we moved to England together everything was new to me and I ended up just using the farrier for his trim. My pony gradually got more foot sore until I started doing some research and found Lucy Priory. She picked up one foot and said: "this pony's getting too much sugar. You can do this" and gave me a long list of solutions.

Now, after a few months of her trimming and lifestyle advice his feet look amazing even four weeks after last trim - and he can now trot in places he could not even walk freely before! The other day we even outwalked a shod pony - on gravel.

There is still some time until we can do 20k endurance without boots, but we're definitely getting there. I can't believe the change and can't wait to next summer when we'll be going back to Norway by riding through England - completely barefoot! If my Juniblest can function without shoes ANY equine can.

A year ago, probably almost to the day I posted that everything had gone wrong on uknhcp forum - Cinny was lame and my hoof trimmer had been awol for 4 months.

Well from my pleas for help Lucy turned up, reprimanded me for diet (though the bag had said molasses free, that wasn't the whole story!) and put Cinny's hooves, nutrition and my knowledge on the road to recovery. I have been given so much information over the last year about diet, conditioning and environment, luckily fed to me in bite size bits to build my confidence after the problems we had hit. Also as we were on a livery yard, Lucy always gave me advice that realistic for the changes I could make and hence set Cinny and me up for success.....

Well another Spring later - we did 45k at the Jubilee Trail in mid-March and last Sunday did Lulworth Castle 64k - all completely bare - grade 2's for both


I have seen such a improvement in Deago (welsh a) and Lisa is more confident with Leo and leo is responding well, I can't believe one session with Deago made such a difference he respects me now! I can move him around with my hands and he responds, he wants to please me now.

I'm amazed how what little time you spent made a difference.

Thank you, we are looking forward to seeing you again.

Paul and Lisa

I am so grateful to have met Lucy, she is so dedicated to her work and so knowledgeable and I have learnt a great deal from her.

Lucy has transformed my very unwell horse who would not have made it had it not been for Lucy who was always there to support me.

Her patience when trimming is second to none and her total understanding of the horse.

I will never return to having a shod horse again.

I could recommend Lucy to anyone with complete confidence for their horses foot care and nutritional needs.

Linda, Margate

I first met Lucy in May 2010 after finding that between 12 unshod hooves I didn't have one that didn't have a crack, missing chunks or puss in the foot.

I'd fallen out with my farrier when I questioned this, together with their shape, and got told that my then not quite 3 year old needed shoes to hold her feet together, and that I couldn't think about starting work with her before having her shod.

Lucy confirmed a lot of things I already knew and taught me things I either hadn't known or didn't realise.

Ten months on my old mare (who has one of those lameness's that is a mystery to veterinary science despite thousands of pounds worth of investigation) is now only unsound when she gets a spot of thrush. The old lameness that involved throwing her legs out at strange angles is long gone and she's back in work enjoying light hacking.

My now rising 4 year old has been lunged and longlined and her hooves are looking amazing, not one more single case of puss in the foot. My baby now has hooves that are growing with him, he now has rising 2 year old hooves rather then the very foaly hooves he had 10 months ago.

I've seen such an improvement in all three horses, they are all much more comfortable. Going properly barefoot takes a bit of work on behalf of the owner, but it's well worth it to see their hooves so much improved. For me Lucy visiting is something I look forward to, I can raise questions or concerns and get honest and open advice and feedback without having to deal with ego's, attitudes and dread.

Cost wasn't really something I factored into the equation, I just wanted things to improve for my horses, however the cost of paying Lucy to trim has worked out an awful lot less than I was paying the farrier to trim especially when I include the extra costs that I was regularly picking up treating lame horses.

Beth, Billingshurst

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8 October 2022
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