Navicular disease is still so widely miunderstood, Dr. Bowker's work is truly helping bring some scientific evidence to shatter a few myths and reveal the ingredients of keeping a horse healthy and sound.
Quoting the author of The Naturally Healthy Horse blog:
Although much of Dr. Bowker’s research continues to be ignored by those in traditional veterinary and farriery circles, he pushes on, continually bringing to light the misinformation that is often printed in student and veterinary texts. The evidence he has collected on the natural function of the foot is overwhelming and is cited time and again by natural barefoot trimmers and holistically-focused veterinarians.Quoting Dr. Bowker, DVM:
From my studies, I’ve been led to believe that it’s our husbandry practices–the way we care for our horses–that have created navicular disease. Essentially, navicular disease comes down to vibrations; vibrations destroy tissue in the foot.
When the back part of the foot and frog are not on the ground, the impact energy (from movement) is not dissipated but is instead transmitted to the bones and other connective tissues of the foot. These tissues do not dissipate the impact energy well, and the long-term result is chronic foot problems and lameness.
If the frog is on the ground, the bars will contribute in supporting weight and much of the load will be supported by the sole.
Many people think that barefoot is just about pulling the shoes off. It’s not. Proper and frequent trimming and keeping the toe short will result in a good hoof. In my opinion the foot during the active growth season should be trimmed by a trimmer or farrier every 3-5 weeks. In some cases even shorter time intervals. Rarely longer though.
Horse owners have a responsibility to become educated—and they need to start by paying attention to the foot. I consider proper foot care and nutrition to be the two most important aspects of horse care.
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