Johan’s Barefoot Story
As a child on the farm I watched my Grandfather trim and shoe his “White Horse”, aptly named “Whiskey” and thought this is what needs to be done when I want to ride him.
Many years later, Pepper came into my life and I called the farrier. Pepper was NOT farrier friendly, so I started working with him, getting him to lift his feet for me without me touching them. Soon, he held them up and I could tap on them, then rasp them a little and eventually I could hold them.
By then, I wasn’t going to call the farrier again, I was going to trim him myself…after all, if my Grandfather could do it….
I had a lot to learn.
Many pictures were emailed to Marjorie Smith in the US, who helped me so much to understand what I was looking at and how it became like that and how to go about correcting it.
Then I adopted Dane, a stunning 17hh Thoroughbred off the track and since used for jumping… with bulging dropped soles and feet that couldn’t carry him through the rigors of training, let alone competition.
I realized this was a completely different case than Pepper and also that I was in way over my head.
I met Dan Guerrera, US Master Farrier turned Barefooter, on the internet and we started talking about him coming to SA to teach us. Of course, there was the money problem, but true to my nature, I ran a country wide campaign and signed up enough students to make his trip happen.
What a great time that was with so much knowledge shared!
Here, my love for the Anatomy of the Hoof was born and I’ve been a student since!
A few months later, neighbours were aghast to see me riding Dane barefoot on the gravel farm roads. Soon they asked me to come help with their horses. As my time was limited while farming, I offered to teach them and held my first Barefoot clinic and discovered the joy and power of teaching.
I’ve been a dog trainer for more years than I remember but teaching people about horses’ hooves just took my breath away!
I love teaching and trimming but most of all I love being able to give horses with no hope, a life again. A life in which they can live without pain and discomfort or the eventual euthanasia because of their feet.
I continue to do this online and where ever the opportunity exist.
This is my life’s mission and why I am on this earth.