Bey Heiric’s barefoot trimmer Richard Zewe wrote (some pictures below):
These are observations on changes in an Arabian Stallion, Bey Heiric, from a primarily stalled environment to an open paddock/pasture environment.
My first impression of Heiric in his stalled situation at Callegari Equestrian was one of bound up energy and restlessness. He rarely stayed still while being trimmed. The addition of mares walking by him also kept it interesting.
His feet were another matter. Like most Arabs he had nice feet. The condition of being stalled so much though kept his feet constantly in a very hard state. Not having much of a chance to experience soft moist soil they remained hard and unyielding. This made it difficult to obtain the consistent removal of overgrown sole. The hardness of his sole kept me from keeping it adequately exfoliated. This in turn gave him a overall longer foot in height not necessarily in toe length as I kept that in reasonable check. On occasion he would get outside and his feet would receive some additional moisture. At that time I’d relish in attacking the sole build-up that had taken place as it now would be easier to remove. His heels in general stayed too long in the stalled environment. His right front was a little more upright than his left and clubby in nature. Keeping the right front from over growing at the heel was a battle with the extra hard feet.
After his move to a better environment.
He was moved to a new place where he had a fairly large paddock and could be out the majority of the time.
First thing I noticed was his attitude improved immensely. He seemed calmer and quieter. And the longer he was there the better he seemed to be. After a couple of trims in the new environment I noticed he stood almost motionless as I trimmed him. No more fidgeting! He also had an old habit of pulling his right rear leg from me. After a couple of trims in the new place that had virtually disappeared.
His feet improved dramatically. Gone were the constantly overly-hard feet. They had moisture in them now! Gone was the excessive amount of retained sole that wouldn’t exfoliate. Now it started to exfoliate on its own before I even trimmed him.
Horses need movement!!
His foot began to take on a much more natural shape. His clubbier foot especially improved. No longer excessively high heels, it started to lose its clubby look. I think the movement he was now getting was a huge help.
I remember excitedly commenting to Michael on a few occasions how blown away I was at the positive changes. [Yes, I remember that, and loved to hear it. Once, Richard stopped trimming for maybe 5-10 minutes, and started talking about how much better things were and about the differences. I was overjoyed. It’s what anyone who loves horses wants to see, hear, and live. — Michael]
It just all reinforced the need for horses to be allowed to be horses. They aren’t meant to be stalled. He passed away there. But I’d rather have seen him go there then in a 12X12 stall any day.
Amen. Thank you, Richard, for all you did to give Heiric a good life on earth. Heiric appreciates it and is forever grateful.
“Horses need movement!!” “It just all reinforced the need for horses to be allowed to be horses. They aren’t meant to be stalled.”
Amen. I am passionate about that. It’s science, and it’s love.
Feel free to save, post, share. The more stories and science like this, the better. People need to understand and practice these ideas and principles. The horse deserves it. Richard, and other good horsemen like him, like some he’s trained with: Eddie Drabek and Pete Ramey — deserve accolades for the good they do, the science they obey, and the love they have.
R.I.P. Bey Heiric. You are missed, and you are loved. Forever I will watch you run, relax, follow, be free, be wise, be welcome, love life.
You can see, in the pictures below, the two homes Richard is talking about. The pictures of the hooves are from the stalled environment. I wish I would have taken some in the free environment, but we don’t always take pictures and document everything, since we are busy living. Life is a practice, not an observation.