I have been following David Landreville for nearly 2 years on Facebook. What drew me to his page were the beautiful hoof photos he was posting. He also shared consecutive trim photos of hooves that he was rehabbing, but the number of beautiful hooves he was sharing were truly inspiring. I figured if he had access to so many beautiful hooves he must be onto something!
I shared his page with some good friends of mine that had recently taken over trimming their herd of 6 big horses. It’s my belief that if I spend a certain amount of time looking at beautifully balanced hooves then my brain will start to understand more fully exactly what I am trying to accomplish with my own ponies. My friends felt the same way! In fact they liked what they saw so much that they contacted David and flew down to Arizona to shadow him for a few days! Oh man I was so jealous! LOL! But I also knew they would bring back some great information and share it with me.
Not only did they bring back information, and we had many long talks about building beautiful hooves, but they also brought back information for putting on our own David Landreville Hoof Trimming Clinic here in Montana! I was so excited!
I chose to camp at my friends house for the duration of the clinic because I knew that often more talk goes on during lunch, then during dinner, then during that time after dinner before you go to bed. And boy did it! David was so generous with his time and his information. I tried to be a sponge and soak up everything the had to share in the short time he was with us.
He brought his wonderful wife, Stephanie as well and she was so kind and made all who spent time with her feel calm and peaceful. That is such a special gift to have!
David spends a lot of time polishing and smoothing the back of the hoof so the horse has a nice soft place to land when they are trying to land heel first.
He spends a lot of time explaining exactly how a horse’s foot works and why a heel first landing is so important. He has done extensive studying of the horse’s foot and has a deep understanding of how everything works together.
His philosophy is that the frog should not be weight bearing, nor should the outer hoof wall. Instead we need to balance the foot so the horse is weight bearing on the inner hoof wall, but over 4 main points of the hoof, the seat of the corn and the toe pillars, and the frog gives them a nice place to land and push off from. Our goal as hoof trimmers, is to develop a nice plump and thick area at the back of the foot to give our horses a soft place to land that is also working as it should, as a shock absorber.
He taught us techniques as well as his method by working on 6 different horses the first day and then watching us work on 6 horses the second day.
He taught us of the importance of using sharp tools and being very very precise with them. It’s difficult to get a precise trim with dull tools.
A few of the horses were a bit skeptical about having their feet worked on. Once David was able to work on the back of the horse’s heel, put their foot down and give them a minute to think about it, their entire demeanor would change and they would hand him their other feet. If you horses aren’t doing this when you trim them, then maybe it’s time to look at a different trimming technique! He worked on several horses that I have also worked on over the years (including Zorro!) and I really enjoyed watching him change a horse’s mind from arguing and being mad to quiet, licking and chewing and lots of positive processing.
David stressed the importance of having a nice place to live. Adding sand to your dry lot or track system can be extremely helpful, working with the horse to develop a beautiful foot. As well as keeping their living area clean and free of manure.
He talked about how much more important it is to have a balanced trim than it is to change the diet to all the new fads or miracle cures. In essence there isn’t anything we can feed that will help our horse grow a perfect, balanced and fully live foot. But there is a lot we can do, with the proper training, through barefoot trimming, to help our horse grow this.
There are so many little things that are difficult to teach online, but are easier to understand in person. If there is ever a David Landreville Hoof Trimming Clinic in your area I highly recommend you take the time to go!
P.S. I came home with lots of information for my Handsome Hubby but while I was gone my Handsome Hubby had been hard at work clearing space and preparing the ground for a new hay shed, planning where he wants to move our current shed and how he wants to move the fence of the track. I am also getting another shelter from my friends that will be a run in shelter for the ponies and will be putting sand down before we set the shed down. This will give them a nice soft place to stand as well as a footing to work quietly on the dead tissues of their feet in between trims. I’m going to have a few truck loads of sand brought in to put on the track in a few spots. Luckily my track is small so adding footing shouldn’t be too cost prohibitive! Stay tuned for some track upgrades coming soon!