Luca Moneta - Neptune

No horseshoes, threat or opportunity for the farrier ? The Luca Moneta’s view

Luca Moneta
Source :

Luca Moneta ride in 5* level and participated to the biggest competitions in jumping. Called “UFO” by Grand Prix’s magazine, he is considered as an atypical horse-rider, by his ethological approach and his horses without shoes.

We wanted to contact the famous rider to learn more about his choices and the management of his horse’s hooves at the highest level.

Ekico : Mr. Moneta, are all your horses barefoot? Or only some of them?

Luca : Very few of my horses are 100% barefoot. For the vast majority of them I use bands (like Perfect Hoof Wear), and I also use hoof boot. From my experience, having barefooted horses without any protection can be very complicated.
The quality of the feet, the history, the age … are important points in the possibility of being barefoot or not and in some cases, it is too extreme and painful to have horses without protections at all.

Ekico : Okay. And what led you to explore this approach? An approach that can be called "natural"?

Luca : No, it’s not a matter of natural or unnatural approach, it does not have to do with that.
It is that in my experience, I had some horses and the management of their feet was very difficult, we did not find solutions despite the possibilities offered by horseshoes.
This led me to look for other alternatives with my team.
In certain conditions I use horseshoes (on grassy fields for example), but overall I seek the compromise between protection and performance without horseshoes.

Ekico : And how are these changes managed by your team? Especially for your farrier and your veterinarian?

Luca : It happened several times that we did not agree with the veterinarian and / or the farrier. It is not always easy to try to do anything other than what is usual, and some professionals have preferred not to accompany me in these changes.
Once we agree between us (farrier/trimmer, veterinarian and rider) we all work together, we are a real team. It is essential to work as a team.

Ekico : According to you, why do you think these alternatives without horseshoes are not more explored and adopted by the riders?

Luca : What I believe is that it is difficult to do anything other than what we have always done and always known.
It can be difficult to take the plunge to test new things, to dare to try solutions that do not yield results or worse results, grope to get the desired improvement.

Ekico : But, you are the proof that it can work.

Luca : Yes, but I too have done a lot of bullshit! It happened to me to make mistakes in this research work. But we also sometimes achieve great results, for example with my horse Neptune Brecourt, with whom I made the world championships, the European championships. He needs a very specific orthopedic follow-up and I thought it was not possible to leave him without shoes at that time.
He had a rest period a few years ago, where he was only at the paddock. I decided at that moment to remove his shoes and bandage his feet while I was not riding him.
During this rehabilitation, I found that Neptune really moved better and better …
So I wanted to ride him a little like that to see, without horseshoes and with hoof bandage.
I found that he was really good, and since that day he is in great shape, we are ranked in competitions, for me he is well, I think he moves beautifully!

Ekico : I have one last question. In France there are tensions between the farrier and people positioning themselves as podiatrist. This status is not recognized in France today, it is even forbidden for people who do not have training in farriery or veterinary medicine. This is also the case in Italy ?

Luca : I think it’s pretty similar for Italy. I think the farrier may be a little worried about losing their job, whereas I think that, on the contrary, it opens up new perspectives and gives them even more importance in managing the feet of our horses.

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