No friend of Imelda

Jen Clingly Zamir who have completed 5000 km endurance together and Daisy MacDuffy

No friend of Imelda

JULY 2016 | Joanne Eisemann

ZAMIR, AN eighteen year old Arab, picks his way without hesitation across a small yard covered with rocks towards his friend, Jen Clingly, co-proprietor of ‘Wild About Hooves’.

I comment, “It’s not your average horse-yard,” Jen laughs and says “I know, everyone takes rocks out of paddocks, but if you want a horse to tackle that sort of terrain when you are out riding, you’ve got to provide some of that at home.”

Riding barefoot became an interest for Jen in 2000. She purchased Zamir for endurance riding (an equestrian sport based on veterinary controlled long-distance races).

“He was travelling fine without shoes so I just kept riding and he had no issues,” shares Jen.

At the time the sport did not allow barefoot horses to compete, so Jen either had to stop competing or lobby to have the rules changed.

She chose to lobby and, as a result, she and Zamir became the first to ride endurance barefoot, the first barefoot horse to win a ride outright (80km) and the first in Australia to complete 160km course successfully without any hoof protection.

What started out as a quest to do her own thing has now become her life’s work, regularly taking her and partner Jeremy Ford all over Australia.

Jeremy trained as a traditional farrier and worked this way for 12 years, before attending a workshop with leading American barefoot practitioner, hoof rehabilitation specialist, lecturer and author, Pete Ramey who came to Deloraine in 2005.

“It was a defining moment in his career that saw him go to study in America,” says Jen and added “The biggest pathology horses face is laminitis, it’s the second biggest killer of horses. He was working in the racing industry at the time and there were a lot of horses suffering. No special shoe was going to fix the problem.”

“The inspiration for the barefoot movement is the wild horse. Their tough hooves and natural lifestyle provide a blueprint to improve quality of life in our domestic horses.

The correct trim, movement, nutrition, environment, knowledge are the keys to success.”

A world first, Jeremy and Jen wrote an accredited 12 month training course in natural hoof care for practitioners, that’s been running for 10 years.

They also run a busy trim practice, teach one-day Learn to Trim workshops, run adventure tours, make films, publish educational resources, design and develop trimming tools and in their spare time are both active endurance competitors.

“I love the fact that it has become so much more mainstream. When I first started I felt like a freak, people weren’t shy in letting me know that I was an outcast,” shares Jen.

Always eager to learn more, the two have secured another visit to Deloraine by world leader in hoof care and hoof rehabilitation, Pete Ramey.

Pete is running three, two day workshops while in Australia – Canberra and Melbourne are already sold out.

The workshop will be held on 22nd an 23rd of October 2016 and is suitable for horse owners, farriers, hoof trimmers and veterinarians. The focus is on practical demonstrations with the latest science on the distal limb. Visit www.wildabouthooves.com. au or call Jen on 0408 838 198.

Mike Moores