With flowing tail, and flying mane,
Wide nostrils never stretched by pain,
Mouths bloodless to the bit or rein,
And feet that iron never shod,
And flanks unscarred by spur or rod,
A thousand horse, the wild, the free,
Like waves that follow o'er the sea.
George Gordon (Lord) Byron
From the peom, Mazeppa (1619)
So what is NHC?
Its a topic that is talked of more and more, and with a growing body of scientific and annecdotal evidence to support its claims, its something any serious horse owner should consider to make a part of their life. The heart of NHC stands for the humane treatment of horses, wherever they are in the world. With inspiration drawn from the horse in its natural state, dietary and lifestyle recommendations are made and applied in a way that best mimics the lessons learned in the wild. While remaining practical for horses in a domestic environment.
A point that is often overlooked is that not all horses in the wild are prime examples. In fact, some feral horses are far from what one would call a specimen of health. Instead NHC draws its inspiration from those superior horses in areas such as the Great Basin, and other locations with robust hooves and healthy bodies. Seeking to discover what makes their feet so robust and functional, what fuels their bodies, and what gives them their strength.
The once held belief that hooves were too sensitive and weak to go unsupported has been disproved by horses and their owners around the globe. Calling into question everything that has remained uncontested about horse care until now.
A wealth of information now shows that is is in the best interest of the horse to provide even reasonably natural hoof care. Shoes stop correct function of the hoof, inflict pain from poor nailing, allow pathogens to enter through the nail holes, conduct heat and cold through the nails into the sensitive inner tissue of the hoof, block healthy circulation, create imbalance, and prevent the horse from feeling the ground. However, if one simply intends to allow their horse to be shoe free and 'self trim' this is an act of inhumane treatment. Unless one is prepared to have the hooves regularly trimmed by a hoofcare practitioner, it would be better for them to remain in their currently shod state. At least this way their feet are addressed in some manner.
Yes, the natural trim is an important part of this lifestyle. But NHC is the holistic approach to horse care, including diet, horsemanship, boarding, hoofcare, and a variety of other influences that impact the whole horse.
Who better to teach us what is best for the horse, than the horse itself? This is what NHC is all about.