Last year I had the fabulous experience of riding a transhumance in the south of France with Pierre Enoff. Were it not for the fact that I am going back this year, it could almost be described as the experience of a lifetime – taking a herd of 70+ horses some 150km across some pretty bleak terrain, covered in snow and ice from their summer residence to the winter feeding grounds.
But the experience was not the only one of riding and stunning sights: Pierre Enoff has been promoting natural hoof care for many years – he himself is a biomechanical engineer and knows probably as much as just about anybody about equine mechanics. All his horses run barefoot and are capable of taking any terrain in their stride: we even trotted for nearly ten kilometres downhill on snow and ice covered tarmac; not a horse lost its footing.
While staying with Pierre, he showed us a video of his visit to an major equine congress in Paris two summers earlier. There he posed the question to the expert equine veterinarians: what would happen if a horse was deshoed and the hoof trimmed back to the white line? The answer was unanimous: the horse would (very quickly) be unable to walk; it would go lame and only, only, if it were to spend the rest of its days on soft grassy even ground, could it possibly ever be ridden. In fact, one vet even went as far as to suggest that it was animal cruelty to allow a horse to walk over uneven ground, rocks, stones and the like if it was unshod. Interspersed in the film, were fragments of Italie being trimmed back to the white line and then walking 30km a day for a week… The end result was hooves that looked so perfect – and not a piece of iron in sight! The so-called “experts” walked away from the interviews; they could not accept that they were wrong nor that they had been “wrong-footed!”
Just about a fornight ago, Carol Enoff sent me a link to a short version of the film on YouTube – I cannot keep it from you. It is in French and there are no subtitles, even so, the message is clear. Please enjoy: