If you are a horse owner in the Chattanooga, TN or Cleveland, TN area who is interested in learning about alternative options for horse hoof care, then make sure you learn about Heavenly Hooves. I recently had the opportunity to photograph Christina Mendoza-Green, owner of Heavenly Hooves. Heavenly Hooves has provided barefoot trimming for horses in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area since the spring of 2014.

One thing I noticed right away about Christina is her passion for all things hoof related. We had a very interesting discussion about hoof care, barefoot trimming, and how she even became a barefoot trimmer.

How did you become a Barefoot Trimmer for Horses?

I had managed several barns and we had some hoof problems that never seemed to be resolved by shoeing so I did a lot of research on going barefoot.

I felt [barefoot] was the best and healthiest way for my young warmblood and the other horses I was caring for to be. Also, I hoped that it would help some chronic issues and extend the lives of some of our older

Christina Mendoza-Green trims the hoof of a horse at Hidden Hills Farm & Saddle Club in Ooltewah, TN

horses. I have always been willing to be the best steward for my animals I can possibly be even if it causes detriment to my personal goals.

All of my research had led me to believe that it was and is possible for a horse to go barefoot no matter the discipline. It requires a mindset of treating the causes of poor or misshapen hooves vs treating the symptoms.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find a farrier that could or would trim for barefoot performance and health. However, I finally found a wonderful lady who was willing to help us out but she came from South Carolina.

She offered to teach me how to trim since she would not always be able to travel to this area from South Carolina.

So I became a long-distance apprentice and she helped coach me through pictures and monthly visits. Initially, I wanted to only trim my own horses and the horses at the barn. However, my mentor encouraged me, set me up with a few clients, and Heavenly Hooves has grown from there!

What is a big mistake you see a lot of horse owners making when it comes to hoof care?

I think most horse owners try to do the very best for their horses they know how. However, I think the biggest thing an owner can do is remain uneducated about the hoof and its basic functions.
There’s so much knowledge online now that I really should rarely hear the phrase, ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it’. It is the height of stupidity to continue to do things the same way expecting different results. I think people should get out of their comfort zones a little more, escape the box that is common hoof care, and try something different.

What are a couple of tips you can give to horse owners who are considering going barefoot with their horses’ hooves?

If you’re considering going barefoot for your horse(s),  then find a farrier or trimmer that will focus on helping you with an optimal diet, movement and trimming plan. These three things must be correct or going barefoot will fail.

Also, remember that it takes 9 months to 1 year for a new hoof capsule to grow from the coronet band to the ground, so understand that it may take that long for your horse to be truly comfortable barefoot.

That being said, there are so many great hoof boot options and things like Hoof Armor and such that we can keep most every horse comfortable and work through the transition period.

Barefoot Trimmer Shaping the Horse HoofWhat else do you do besides barefoot trimming?

I give lessons and do a little training. I mainly work out of Hidden Hills Farm and Saddle Club in Ooltewah, TN. My lesson and training work involve a blend of Dressage and natural horsemanship.

Horsemanship that focuses on harmony between the horse and rider, and good groundwork for better relationships in the saddle and out. Dressage to balance the horse for longevity, health, and, of course, beauty.

What area(s) does Heavenly Hooves cover?

Heavenly Hooves covers Southeast Tennessee, including Chattanooga, Cleveland, Signal Mountain, and Athens. I also go into the Northwest Georgia area including Rome, Jasper, and Marble Top. Plus, of course, all the areas in between.

Anything else you would like people to know?

I’m all about helping people and their horses live the healthiest and happiest life possible. Sometimes that is not possible with going barefoot, and I respect that, but I am always happy to answer questions, give advice, and help a horse owner try barefoot if they are interested.

The best way to contact me is to text me (423.310.4282) or contact me through Facebook messenger on my business page, Heavenly Hooves.

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