Over time I had investigated alternative methods of hoof care, both traditional and barefoot, in my quest to gain further knowledge and understanding, but I just didn't feel at ease with the theories promoted.
Having experienced a feeling of overwhelming helplessness due to a lack of knowledge when trying to deal traditionally with these problems it gave me the motivation to study both here and in the US and I became a qualified Applied Equine Podiatrist in October 2006.
This resulted in a rapid career change and a drive to investigate and implement other methods to return overall health. My interest in Zoopharmacognosy arose when I witnessed how well it worked with Applied Equine Podiatry, following many of it's principles for returning health. It has become an integral part of my work in creating an environment conducive to healing utilizing the domesticated setting in a pro-active way.
I now have a wide and established practice often working alongside vets and other equine professionals. Teaching and private tutoring as well as talks and workshops have been a natural progression.
In early childhood and from personal experience, I developed an interest in handling horses using various gentling, non-confrontational techniques and in 2001/02 completed the Monty Roberts Foundation Certificate in Horsemanship, Horse Psychology, Feeding and Nutrition and The Horse as an Athlete, Handling the Young Foal Clinic and Stud Practice and Handling the Untouched Horse - Intermediate. I've found these and other non-aggressive training techniques invaluable over time particularly when handling nervous or challenging horses. Examples can be seen under 'Sound Foundations'.
As a consequence of owning two horses, one of which suffered repeated abscessing, weak structures, navicular issues and associated back pain, addressed traditionally and unsuccessfully using a range of pads, wedges and shoes, and whose condition improved once shoes were removed and a change of environment was implemented. The other that we lost due to pathologies associated with the shod hoof, being high and low ringbone, side bone and arthritis, the 5 horses I now own are shoeless, the longest being without shoes since 2000.
It has been an invaluable learning curve and has taught me the vital role environmental conditions, exercise and structural balance has in this process. However, I still didn't understand how the hoof functioned or realised how this impacted on the rest of the horse's well being and never felt confident on how to trim.