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A Question of Knowledge
Like so many in the barefoot world, my path began with a shod horse that foundered, a horse I had taken back from a couple I sold to in my neighborhood. It was a combination of things in the way they had kept her which resulted in laminitis and it's partner, founder. My Farrier at the time insisted that I should re-sell her because a foundered horse would never be the same again.

I suppose you could say he was just not up to the challenge as the farrier world is well equipped with special metallic appliances for treating this disorder but perhaps instead it was his wisdom which recognized that recovering a foundered horse in the traditional manner was a longshot at best.

And so began my quest for the true meaning of the term "founder" and the prognosis for recovery. To my surprise there was a considerable amount of information on the Web and in books but more surprising was the fact that those who had a positive outlook for full recovery were advocating doing so without the use of shoes.

I discussed the idea of pulling shoes on the mare with my farrier and he insisted this would not work and he wanted no part of taking her barefoot. In our area farriers are hard to come by so if shoes were coming off permanently it would only happen by my own doing. And so with the guidance of various barefoot related webs sites and the books available at the time, the mare in question fully recovered from her laminitic episode and could be ridden on rocky ground without the use of shoes in under a year. Needless to say by this time my complete herd of a dozen horses was now fully shoeless for the healing power of the natural hoof could not be denied.

In the early days of the barefoot movement there were very few barefoot clinics one could attend and so my path of learning was based on my best interpretation of the available literature and applying these concepts to horses I was actually riding barefoot in the rocky deserts of western Arizona. In time I learned through trial and error what worked and what did not. And though this was a hard way to learn about trimming and caring for barefoot horses, I'm glad for having done so. I must say that it was never my intention to start a new career but the overwhelming demand for my skills as a barefoot trimer and the thrill of genuinely helping horses quite literally launched me into the business of natural hoof care.

Through this process of trial by fire I have developed what is best described as "my methodology" and though I'm considered by some to be a renegade I find I am closely aligned with the cumulative knowledge base of the membership of the American Association of Natural Hoof Care Practitioners of which I am a member.

In addition, I recognize and value the Wild Horse research of Jaime Jackson and his written works 'The Natural Horse' and 'Horse Owners Guide to Natural Hoof Care'. I also recognize the wild horse hoof as the natural state or status quo of the horse but have learned from experience that for the average domestic horse, mimicking the wild hoof form with knife and rasp does not result in the same level of performance and therefore I am open to variation in hoof form to achieve higher levels of performance.

Kirt Lander
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