It sure seemed like an unfortunate day when I found my wonderful mare limping around our pasture, but it turned out to be life changing.
Lucky Horse Shoe!
By Patricia Wagner
For nearly 15 years, I had been employed as a secretary for a city parks and recreation department.  My desk was in a basement office with windows that looked out upon a sloped wall of huge black rocks.  When I could get away with day-dreaming, I saw myself in an occupation above ground, working with my first love - horses.  I had grown up with horses, but challenges in my adult life meant living horseless for a number of years.       

I had grown up in Western Washington and rarely traveled far from its borders, but in my quest to learn more about my new obsession, I was soon traveling all around the country mentoring with many skilled hoof specialists and doctors of hoof anatomy.   That led to certification through several hoof care associations and specialization in hoof rehabilitation and hoof abscess research.   All the while, I had also been focusing on natural horsemanship skills, which helped me quickly (usually) gain the trust of each new horse I met.  


While, the DVD was offering horses around the world a better life, horse owners, veterinarians and farriers, were contacting me to help lame horses in their care.   But when I was asked to travel to wonderful places like Costa Rica to teach corrective barefoot hoof care to horse owners and local farriers there, I felt like I had really accomplished my goals.
All we can do is patiently wait for closed-minds to open and people to learn that sometimes less is more when it comes to the art of healing hooves.  And after this many years, I feel like I have done exactly what Pete Ramey assured me that I would do, when he signed his book for me the first day I met him.  As I stood awkwardly mute and star struck, he wrote, “Pat, I’m so proud to have met you.  I know you are making this world a better place for horses!  Pete”   I’ve worked so hard all these years to live up to his belief in me.


That same year, I was asked to travel to North Bend to work on a couple struggling horses.  I learned that the much-loved horses belonged to a wonderful couple who owned a film production company known as Epona Productions.  They believed in my work so much that they took on my dream project and made it very affordable.  A year later, their great work of filming and editing produced my DVD titled Discovering Your Horse’s Hooves – How to Trim the Barefoot Horse.  The DVD was soon receiving exemplary reviews and making its way to horse owners all over the world enabling them to correctly care for their horses’ hooves. 

Missy and me: 1996 - Our journey begins.
Then on this one particular morning, I found Missy barely able to take a step.  The lead mare of our little herd had torn a shoe from her front hoof, losing nearly half of her hoof in the painful process.  In the attempt to keep shoes from falling off her hooves clips were added, which set her up for disaster.  If the shoe won’t come off, at least part of the hoof will!
During Missy’s rehabilitation (nearly a year) I stumbled onto natural hoof care and with expert guidance, I gradually started learning hoof trimming strategies that helped horses grow healthy hooves.  Another marvelous discovery was the newer hoof boots that were becoming available for bare hoof enthusiasts.  
I didn’t recognize the life altering affect this new occupation was having on me until I gave notice at my government job to focus on my client’s horses.  I soon became a field instructor mentoring other trimmers, and later began offering clinics.  Teaching became my passion, but I wondered how I could help those who couldn’t attend the clinics.  That’s when I began thinking about how I could one day create a do-it-yourself hoof trimming DVD!
Meanwhile, our small farm in Rainier, was turning into a sanctuary and rehabilitation facility where we helped many equines heal from a painful existence, and avoid euthanasia.  We became recognized as a horse rescue and sanctuary; however the entire operation was self-funded.  So after many long hours spent learning state and federal guidelines for acquiring non-profit status, we received notification from the IRS that as of April, 2009, we were an officially certified 501c3 equine rescue!   The Rainier Equine Hoof Recovery Center.  (www.rainierhoofrehab.com)
I’ve paid my dues! had to work on belligerent mud-covered donkeys in torrential rain.  I’ve mostly avoided a few flying hooves, and more than once I’ve hopped off on one foot after a good stomping to the other.  There have even been a few kicks to the head, but that wasn’t as painful as the sting of ridicule and untrue rumors I’ve endured from the less educated.  Still that is all outweighed by many more tearful “thank you” hugs from horse owners whose best friends have been delivered back to them in better condition than they could have hoped.

Missy
Playing with a young horse.
Summer Pasture
Winter Pasture
Epony Production Crew!
However, for the past 5 years my focus has been on researching the cause, process and treatment of whiteline hoof abscesses and I believe I have solved that confounding mystery.  Now I focus on teaching others what I have learned in order to make a real difference in the hoof rehab world.   My new goal is to create a video illustrating the cause, progression and cure for whiteline abscesses that can be distributed to colleges, veterinarians, horse owners all over the globe!  This project will save the lives of many equines.
After my only child went off to college, the vacancy she left was unexpected filled by an eight year old quarter horse mare who trotted right into my life.  Missy and I shared hundreds of almost spiritual hours exploring the trails and woods.  While over time, horseshoes were slowly eroding her hooves.  It was so disheartening when I had to drop out of several long-planned rides after finding my girl ambling around the pasture with only 3 shoes.


Thank you Pete! 
Nasty abscess cost this mare her life due to ignornace.
Final Product!  So exciting !
So it looks like horse shoes really do bring good luck!  Just not for horses!