My name is Lacelynn Seibel, but I usually go by Lacey. My love of horses started at a young age even though we never owned any. As I got into college I knew I wanted to work with animals after working as a vet tech for a couple years. While obtaining my Bachelor degree in Animal Science from the University of Illinois, I worked on the university horse farm. I racked up four years of experience in herd management, reproduction, foaling, halter breaking, nutrition, physiology, parasite cycles and hoof care on an average of 80 horses daily. Upon getting my own horse, I decided to take my hoof care knowledge to the next level by becoming a certified whole horse hoof practitioner. I apprenticed for one year after becoming certified and trimmed over 3,000 hooves ranging from perfect to irreversibly damaged. I specialize in navicular and founder rehab and continue to learn with each horse I work on. I also take an interest in natural, whole food diets for dogs, cats and yes, horses too!
Recently, I have taken my trimming to another level by dedicating my time to studying the inner foot of the horse. Without going into too much detail, the inner foot needs to be healthy and the outer foot (hoof) needs to fit the inner foot exactly. Just like our shoes! If we wear bowling shoes to run a race, we aren't going to do too well are we? If we wear high heels to go hiking, we are going to be pretty darn sore and probably will not make the journey. Same goes for horses, If the hoof isn't right, they are going to be too sore to do anything. This is where metal shoes come in. When a horse is sore or tender footed, it doesn't needs metal shoes.... it needs its natural shoe (hoof) to fit its inner foot. This is what I am dedicated to doing.
Rehabbing hooves, one horse at a time, whether they have been shod incorrectly or trimmed incorrectly by farriers and barefoot trimmers alike, is my passion. There are many styles, but only one true foot. I follow the foot and what the horse tells me.
No hoof... No horse. Know hoof... Know horse.
TACT (The Anatomically Correct Trim)
I have three horses that have taught me more than all the horses I have trimmed combined. My buckskin gelding has high ringbone and trimming his hooves to keep him comfortable but still have correct landings has been one of the hardest things to master. He can now canter beautifully, at will, do flying lead changes, run up and down steep hills with no hesitation and play as if he has no issues. We are working on completely healing his hooves and growing a true heel buttress- which most domestic horses do not have, by the way. This is the newest part of my journey with him and other horses in my care. It is daunting at times and I am constantly learning, but it is so worth it. After two years of basically just allowing him to be a horse, have pasture and a herd and eat naturally, we are *ALMOST* done restoring his hooves!!
My mare is the newest to the herd. She is a rocky mountain horse and beautiful and so sweet. She was one of three rockies my friend and I took on in order to rehab them. They all had metabolic tendencies but hers was the worst of the bunch. All were lame and foundered. I have kept up with bloodwork for her as well as xrays to document her progress over the last year, and it's been astounding. So much of the information out there aimed at helping EMS horses misses the ball completely and attacks the diet, when much of it can actually be caused by the hooves themselves!
My pony Fabio is so amazing and loving. He's a little spit fire too! He came to me pretty neglected having never had his hooves trimmed at 2 years old and mostly wild. He was walking around on stilts that actually became clubbed in the hinds causing his hips to rotate awkwardly. I have since fixed that and we are well on our way to beautfiul, large pony hooves!
I focus mainly on the hooves because if they are incorrect it can cause all sorts of things from random lameness and pain, to tummy issues and metabolic issues as well as behavioral problems!
I use herbs instead of commerical products and they can work as well or better than steroids, chemical dewormers and nutritional supplements! It takes a lot of work and effort to have healthy, usable barefoot horses, but we can actually correct the cause of issues instead of covering them up and then paying for it later!
I offer nutritional evaluations to anyone who wants them. I believe whole-heartedly that health comes from the inside. If bad food is going in, bad health is coming out and if good food is going in, good health is flowing out. It's a pretty simple process to eliminate "bad" foods and replace them with wholesome, fresh, natural foods. Horses for example would normally get all their nutrients from forage and dirt (clays, salt, etc). We can provide them the most natural diet possible by testing hay to make sure it is slightly higher fiber, low sugar, low starch, "moderate" protein, and hopefully low iron. Feeding this hay spread out over the lot/pasture (or ideally, a lot of unimproved pasture ground) gives them the roughage they need and a constant full stomach which reduces and helps eliminate ulcers. They can then be supplemented with natural salt, clays, kelp, seeds, fresh foods like lettuce, greens, grass, sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, pumpkins, squash, bananas, pears and apples. For a full list check out The Natural Horse: Safe Fruits and Veggies.
Along with these fresh foods we should incorporate herbs (this goes for dogs and cats too). They have amazing benefits aside from adding bio-available minerals to their diet. Some are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits, some for calming upset stomachs and healing ulcers and some even for relaxing the mind and muscles. The really awesome thing is.... the horse will tell you which herbs they need and want! I've seen it with my own eyes on my own horse as well as others. Issues were diagnosed beforehand by vets, massage therapists and owners. Then the horses were tested with herbs, and amazingly, they chose the herbs that corresponded to the issues. After a few months on the chosen herbs my horse had some absolutely amazing changes for the better. And he is continuing to improve.
When trimming hooves, my goal is not a cookie cutter trim, but to make each horse perform at it's best with the hooves it was meant to have. That means that not every horse will have picture perfect hooves. Some horses are truly club footed, or have injuries or maybe even skeletal deformities that will prevent them from having that perfect barefoot hoof or the perfect stride or even from being completely sound on rocky terrain without protection. That DOES NOT mean they can't go barefoot. In fact I've seen a lot of these cases improve with CORRECT trimming and massage, diet improvements, etc.
The thing is, we can't just choose one piece of the puzzle and expect it to fix everything. It just doesn't work that way! We need to address the WHOLE HORSE and what is going INTO it and going on AROUND it to fix the issue that may seemingly have nothing to do with the other part of the puzzle... but it's all connected.
If body work and/or chiropractic is needed or may help, I will suggest it. If the diet can be improved, I will tell you. If we need to work on the hooves, I will say it. I am all for the horse being as healthy and happy as it can be, and with your help and care, both you and your horse can be on the way to an amazing journey together.
Barefoot is not a FIX-ALL
It is only one key part of a whole horse care protocol.
Take my advice. Don't wait until something goes wrong to try natural care. Call a hoof care professional that is educated in more than one type of trimming and see what your options are! There are plenty of boots available to protect the hoof for rehab, long rides or rides on very rocky terrain until the hoof is ready for rough trails. So what have you got to lose?
If you don't like it or don't want to put forward the effort it takes to take your horse barefoot (and there are a lot of changes to make when going barefoot), there are always farriers waiting to slap shoes on. You're not out anything to explore a little bit. And I can almost guarantee you will see a different horse, both physically and emotionally.