Whole Horse Hoof Care

DEP Equine Podiatry

About Me

Hi, my name is Linda Wilmer and I am a horse (and animals in general) fanatic. I love all things fluffy, furry and hairy and currently have two ponies (more on them in a moment), a cat called Shadow, two rabbits called Jet and Edward, two guinea pigs called Cottonbud and Smudge and a three leopard danio fish (no names but I'm always open to suggestions).

I have owned horses since I was 9yrs old, ranging from miniature ponies to ex racers, including my beautiful first pony Amber, who was always shod, in the time when it was the only option thought to be available to a young, impressionable girl, trying to fit in on a large yard where everyone was right on 'trend' and then Jazz, a spunky little TB who sadly was PTS after numerous investigations into her behaviour led to the belief that she had a brain tumour.

After Amber and Jazz came the handsome Cruise, who was barefoot initially. Unfortunately at that early stage in the barefoot and Equine Podiatry revolution, the understanding into the diet and trimming methods were far from where we are now, and after a time Cruise started to  struggle badly without shoes. Sadly the trimmer I had located back then made matters worse and the decision was made (after vets consultation) to go down, not just the shoeing route but the whole remedial shoeing package.

And now my current two, Sally and Teddy. 

Sally is my 18 year old 14.1 Haflinger Mare, she has been with me since 2011 and was originally barefoot. I had her on loan in the early days and for the first 3 years remained totally barefoot, hacking out in hoof boots if and when needed. As with Cruise, a point came about following an awfully wet winter where I found she was struggling to even walk down to the field over the stones. In my mind back then, I had gone 3 years without shoes but a fairly constant struggle to keep her comfortable (with no chance of riding without boots) and with the drastic turn in her comfort across the hard surface, I couldn't see any option but to discuss shoes with the farrier. Of course, what I now realise is that her diet was far from where it needed to be to support her and her management, with turnout into a large grassy field daily was only ever going to prevent her from fully transitioning to barefoot.

Fast forward to 3 years ago and Sally was diagnosed with arthritis in her hocks and shoulder. Following vet consultations I made the decision to retire her from competition (she had developed from a 'barely happy to hack out' nervous little pony into a Dressage Diva, competing at Elementary and training at Medium level at home - she had nothing to prove to me - she had done that time and again over the years and I owed her the respect to allow her to continue to enjoy her slightly older years still hacking out and enjoying the countryside). With this I took the decision - myself this time, to remove her shoes and really learn what was needed to support her. I knew of plenty of stories of horses with all sorts of ailments - navicular, ringbone, arthritis etc, which were happier and proving healthier barefoot and for me, this was all I needed to know - if they could do it, so could I with Sally!  

My farrier, who had been with me since Cruise completely supported my decision and was happy to remove her shoes and so our journey began. She still struggled a bit, like she did previously, but this time I was on a yard with no hard tracks to the fields or out onto the roads and I think this really helped me and her get over the initial 'can we, can't we'. 6 months later I moved yard and looked once more into contacting an EP. This was when I met Debs Crosoer and I started to really understand how far barefoot trimming had come to develop into Equine Podiatry.

It's an ongoing journey and Debs eventually introduced me to Cheyenne Korbutt Brown, who is still Sally and Teddy's trimmer today. Sally is now happy and comfy barefoot, she is sound where she was previously lame on the left rein and to all intents and purpose, you would never know she had arthritis or had ever been lame. The biggest change - the understanding into diet and management!

And then there's Teddy, my delightful 20yr old 10.2 British Spotted Miniature, who has been with me since 2010. He too was barefoot when he first came to live with me and had suffered badly with laminitis and was on the verge of being PTS, having been rescued and recovered from an awful situation. 

He and another pony were mainly unhandled when found, full of lice, laminitic with hooves actually turning back on themselves and Teddy absolutely petrified of men. It is believed that he was tied and beaten which fits with one of his ‘vices’ if you can call it that (a vet once called it his coping reaction) in that if he is a bit anxious, excitable or even had a bit too much grass (anything to raise his blood pressure) he will grab his lead rope between his teeth and grind his jaw, shaking and vibrating his head. When he first came to me he was also petrified of men and anyone coming up behind him, particularly on his right side. If he was tied up and a man approached or even just walked past close behind he would literally have a meltdown.

Luckily he and his buddy at the time were found and removed from the situation they were in just in time as there were threats to shoot them both!

The lady who took Teddy on turned him around and after a while got him started under saddle (for little tots) and in time found him a home with a family.

Unfortunately though, things did not quite turn out as hoped as Teddy was still fairly freshly backed and even now he has a very lively character and one hell of a buck (he literally does full up handstands) and so he didn’t get quite the attention that everyone hoped for.

His story is a bit grey here but at some stage somebody felt they needed to turn him out but did so straight onto frosty lush grass and he came down with laminitis, he then spent some weeks shut up in a stable, due to be pts.

Now luckily, in the week or so before this, I was looking for a companion pony for an ex racer I had at the time. I received a reply to a forum post about a little pony, shut in a stable who the person messaging me felt as though could have a chance at life in a different set up. Turns out my set up was perfect and a few weeks later Teddy joined our family.

That was around 9 years ago now and the cheeky chap has only once had a brush with a touch of lami, he went from strength to strength, eventually teaching a friends daughter to ride, learning to drive, in hand showing, horse agility and even a feature in Your Horse magazine!

Teddy was also shod for a very small period of time when he was being driven. Back then the tiny hoof boots were nigh on impossible to find and he was struggling (as with Sally,now I recognise that the diet and management were far from ideal). Unlike with Sally though, my farrier was less than impressed with having to shoe such tiny feet, especially as Teddy would violently pull away and cut his hands with the nails. The farrier was fabulous to be fair though and was nothing but patient and kind with Teddy, but he was oh so pleased when I found a bespoke company up in Scotland, which could make made to measure leather hoof boots.

This fun loving, cheeky and diva'ish pair have changed my thoughts on the barefoot/shoeing debate and ultimately led me here, to the beginning of what promises to be the most eye opening, mind blowing, fabulous adventure!