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Pete Ramey Articles

With the kind permission of Pete Ramey I have reproduced all of the Pete Ramey articles from his site in a printer friendly pdf format - thanks Pete for such a great resource! I highly recommed you print each one off and read over and over and over again - I promise you, you will learn more each time you read. Click on the links to view each article.

  • Hoof Rehabilitation Protocol (5-21-09) This is the basic protocol written for the 'Methods and Materials' of Dr. Taylor's navicular and laminitis studies. It is too condensed to be much of a teaching tool, but is an effective, brief overview of what we do and might be a good handout for veterinary hospitals © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Auburn Case Work (3-14-09) Debra R. Taylor DVM, MS, DACVIM (Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine) is recording and studying the results of natural hoof care on chronic laminitis cases. Ivy and Pete Ramey are currently traveling to Auburn every 3 weeks to expand the preliminary study- hopefully to include 50 horses. The study has consistently shown rotation reversal, increased sole thickness and profound improvement in levels of soundness. Several case horses have also demonstrated reversal of distal descent of P3.
  • Hoof Casts (5-12-08) .....We have desperately needed something that combines the healing mechanics of barefoot/boots with the convenience of horseshoeing. I (and many other practitioners) believe we have found it: Hoof casting. This is a tool so wonderful, it should be immediately added to every farrier and trimmer's "bag of tricks".... © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Hoof Care for Angular Deformities (8/17/07) Little has been written about hoof trimming for angular deformities. Most writers have avoided the subject and with good reason. Every situation is different, and nothing could be written that would work every time. The professional in the field must be willing to pay close attention to detail, adapt and switch tactics; following a rigid protocol of any kind will be detrimental to some cases. That said, I'll lay out my basic protocols and the way I approach the hooves on crooked limbs. Somebody has to do it. © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Wall Cracks (8-17-07) The "magic bullets" for growing out most wall cracks are simply a well shaped 'Mustang Roll' (bevel or chamfer around the perimeter of the outer wall) and enough time to grow them out. So to discuss wall cracks, we really just need to focus on the exceptions to this; the things that can throw a big wrench into this simple process.
  • Laminitis Update (5-20-05) - Important new research added 8-7-07 Laminitis research is a fast-moving field, with new discoveries being reported almost every day. I am not a scientist; just a farrier who specializes in founder rehabilitation. I spend my days working on foundered horses and my nights reading veterinary research papers, so I'm writing this only as an interpreter; providing reference to some of the latest understandings of laminitis to help farriers keep themselves current. Also of great importance are references I will make to human medicine. © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Feeding The Hoof (7-30-08) If you are having horse problems of ANY kind, this may well be the answer...... © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Newly Discovered Hoof Shock Absorber (7-24-07) Important note: These are just preliminary observations. They are my interpretation after several conversations about it with Dr. Bowker. The completed research project is coming eventually, but people who went to his last clinic are buzzing about it, so I thought I'd try to clear it up. © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Frog Management (5-22-07) It may seem dull to read an entire article on frog trimming. Please suffer through it, though. Since I started being more conservative and particular about frog trimming, the performance increased in my horses across the board and rehabs seem to fall into place much sooner. As simple as it may seem; this may be the most important article I've written. © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Reversing Distal Descent of the Coffin Bone (1-12-06) Can't be done? ..... © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Toe and Heel Length (11-25-06) If you've read my work before, you know how much I stay away from "always and never"; the horses taught me that. In this article you'll read those words repeatedly. Please know I do not use them lightly. ........The problem with trimming theories that enforce specific hoof lengths based on measurements from the coronet to the ground is that they don't take into account the fact the coronet is highly dynamic and easily moveable. It is the last place we should measure from! I'm going to try to 'spin your brain' into seeing past the coronet and the hoof wall; everyone who cares for horses' hooves needs to see the internal structures first..........
  • The Bars (10-25-06) .......What is "the right" bar length? As discussed at length in the previous article "One Foot For All Seasons?" it varies dramatically with terrain. The bars need enough relief (or slope from the heels) that the hoof can expand, but more importantly, they need to be in place to "bottom out" to provide vertical support at peak impact loads. On hard, flat terrain, a 1/4 inch taper from the heel buttress might be perfect. On rocky terrain, much more taper or concavity may be necessary. On soft arena footing the same goals and support ratio may require a bar to be longer than the hoof walls. Severely foundered horses; particularly "sinkers" often love to have all or most of their weight carried by the bars..... I wish it were easier, but honestly listening to the hoof will take you to the right place. ...... © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Barefoot Option Draft Horse (1-10-06) It is so difficult to keep well connected hoof walls on draft horses, many owners and trainers have incorrectly decided draft horses are supposed to have flared, split hoof walls. The weight of a heavy draft is often more than the walls can take and the very finest shoers can really struggle to keep everything held together. On top of this, the expense of draft shoeing often causes owners to 'stretch out' the shoeing schedule to save money. This makes the farrier's job of keeping the hooves healthy almost impossible. © Pete Ramey Articles
  • One Foot For All Seasons? (9-8-06) ......The problem is; many farriers and trimmers were incorrectly taught to evaluate and think about hooves while the horse is standing square on concrete, with less thought given to the hoof and limb mechanics in motion or the terrain the horse lives and works on...... © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Club Foot (2-28-05 - revised 1-8-06) A 'club footed' horse is defined by most people as a horse with one hoof that grows more upright than the one on the other side. Normally we're talking about the front pair of hooves. Most farriers have treated it as a hoof problem and worked to make the pair of hooves match each other, but it is my opinion that this is a backwards way of looking at the problem.
  • Digging for the Truth About Navicular (12-1-04 - updated 12-28-05) One of the most mind boggling areas of hoof pathology for a farrier to attempt to research is navicular syndrome. Every old text contradicts the next, and mountains of new research are being done every day. The good news is that farriers studying the hooves of feral horses and trimming domestic hooves to a closer facsimile to what nature intended, have been routinely restoring total soundness to 'hopeless' navicular cases. Veterinary researchers have been studying in this new direction and are steadily unlocking all of the old mysteries about navicular problems. © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Boots and Pads (12-28-05) Founder and navicular magic!!! I've made a lot of mistakes in my career. At this point I have realized my biggest one has been under-use of hoof boots. I was in so much hurry to get to the unequaled traction, health and energy dissipation of the barefoot horse, I was overlooking the quickest way to get there! The use of different padding systems inside hoof boots can give you the best of both worlds: You can immediately make horses comfortable when nothing else will work, while also setting up perfect mechanics to fix the real problems. © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Making Natural Hoof Care Work Updates (updated 7-1-05) The toughest thing about writing a 'how to' book, is that what you write is frozen in time. Even if you do a revision, all of the old copies are still out there. In the four or so years since I wrote my book, I have been studying, trimming horses, and learning every day. For the most part, only a portion of hoof trimming (particularly rehabilitation) can be written down or taught anyway, so writing about the subject is tough business. It seems that every time I tell someone never to do something, I find myself needing to do it on the next hoof I trim. Experience is the real teacher, and when the chips are down, the intuition and experience of a professional will succeed before 'book knowledge'.
  • Deciding Heel Height (5-22-05 - updated 12-28-05) The mechanics and theory most experienced trimmers apply works well for rehabilitating the hard cases, but then fails to carry the horse the rest of the way to the "high performance bare hoof" we know every horse should grow. Many otherwise successful trimmers fall short at taking hooves to the highest levels of soundness and performance. Fortunately, that is usually a very easy problem to fix, and if this is sounding familiar; I can probably help you here. © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Understanding the Horse's Sole (8-16-05) Since the sole is the first line of defense between the horse and the ground, its proper management is crucial to soundness. I would love to see a rasp designed to deliver a strong electric shock to its handler if it gets closer than 5/8 of an inch away from the bottom of any collateral groove for any reason. A hoof knife that shocks its handler if it gets closer than 5/8 inch away from a coffin bone or lateral cartilage would be nice as well. I would spend my very last dime; buying them and distributing them all over the world. There is no excuse for such a blatant misunderstanding of the foot.
  • End of White Line Disease (updated 5-5-05) First of all 'white line disease' is a misnomer. It is not a disease at all, it is an epidemic, and teaching farriers to deal with it has become my top concern. The telltale signs are stretched white lines and deep grooves filled with rotting material, where healthy hoof walls and white lines should be; flares that won't grow out, hooves that won't hold a shoe, soles that remain flat in spite of the most diligent care, and recurring abscesses. This list goes on. The bottom line is that the hoof wall becomes detached from the lamina and it seems impossible to most professionals to do anything about it.
  • Wild Horses (3-27-05) So, I walked into wild horse country thinking that I was on a tourist trip; confirming what I already knew. I could not have been more blind. I could not have been more wrong. They were much, much more than I had ever imagined. What I write here, will probably sound very similar to what my predecessors have written. I don't know if anyone's words can get the point across to the world, but I have to try. I thought I was ready, but what I saw literally blew me away. I have worked on thousands of horses, all over the world. I spent six years of my life in the saddle from daylight till dark. I've had the privilege of working on some of the finest horses, for the finest horsemen in the world. Understand that after two minutes with the wild ones, I knew that I had never seen a true horse. I literally had no idea of their potential.
  • Breakover (2-15-05) Please don't read this article out of context and try to apply it to your horse. I am assuming that you have read my book, all of the other articles on this site, and have been succeeding with the methods in the field. Then and only then, should you start to bring this more advanced technique into your trimming. It's like driving a car. You shouldn't worry about tweaking up the engine, until you know you have mastered the use of the brakes! © Pete Ramey Articles
  • Politics of Hoof Care (updated 10-22-04) Okay, let's do politics. The problem with political discussions is they usually turn into heated debate. The nice thing about writing about politics is that you can fully present your view while the reader quietly reads. That is much easier. So this article is just that; no more and no less than my opinions about the politics of hoof care.
  • Balance and Live Sole Plane (updated 10-22-04) Let's take it all a step further. In my book (Making Natural Hoof Care Work For You) I taught the typical hoof balancing methods practiced by most farriers with a footnote added that said I felt that this 'cosmetic' balancing was wrong, but wasn't quite ready to talk about it. After four years of constant experimentation since writing that, I am ready now. I now am convinced that the 'little bit of sole' I would have had you to remove to achieve balance, is a direct violation of everything the horse is trying to do to protect himself and optimize performance. © Pete Ramey Articles

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