Mistico is a 2004 Peruvian Paso and his name is Mistico Reflejo. He is living proof of what can happen when the feet are allowed to grow “naturally.”
When I met him he was a bit underweight and his muscles had atrophied due to the lack of exercise. He wasn’t being ridden because of a variety of little problems starting with the feet. He was also shoeless. At the time I thought that is the way he should go.
I decided to lease him and help the owner with his recovery. The first thing that happened was the farrier was called to put shoes on him because he was now going to be ridden. He had wedge pads and bar shoes and the whole nine yards because he was diagnosed with a bruised coffin bone. We thought we were doing the right thing by putting shoes on because that is what we have all bought into for years.
Well, Mistico had all but given up. He courageously carried me around Campbell Valley Park without a whimper but his eyes said different things. His “way of going” was very cautious and contracted because he was protecting himself from pain! I was giving him massage twice a week along with stretch exercises but nothing was changing his personality. He just went along with what I was asking of him but wasn’t a willing participant.
This “shoe thing” all came to a crashing halt 2 months later when the farrier decided to use another type of material between the pads and Mistico’s hoof. Mistico couldn’t and wouldn’t walk forward. He went into a “robot” mode and managed to walk forward very carefully. But of course, this was the “getting used to” period. Of course, he would be fine in a day or two. Wrong!
I watched him for an hour after the farrier left and he was walking backward to get away from the pain. We called the farrier and had her come back right away to take the shoes off. This is when we both decided we were going to persevere with the “wild horse trim”.
We found a hoof care practitioner (Christina Cline) on the tribe Equus website. Christina is certified by Jaime Jackson, Director/Instructor for the American Association of Natural Hoof Care Practitioners, and we adjusted also the feed quality. “The rest is history” as they say.
Within a week we saw a change in Mistico’s personality and his “way of going.” I took him for hand walks (and still do) with Old Mac boots and I continued my massage therapy with him. His body and mind started changing. His muscles became elongated and were relaxed instead of being bunched up. He no longer stood with his four feet UNDER his belly. He was finally standing “squared up” and his eyes had an interesting look. The difference in the physical, mental and emotional changes in Mistico were outstanding. He moved with freedom of pain!