“A former farrier, Jaime went into the U.S. Great Basin in the mid 1980s to learn more about the wild, free-roaming horses living naturally in this adaptative environment and he has been educating horse owners and equine professionals on applying those 'lessons from the wild' ever since.”
Jaime Jackson was a farrier in 1977 when he discovered the book, Horseshoeing Theory and Hoof Care (Emery, Miller, Van Hoosen), that pointed out the lack of understanding of the horse's "wild state." The idea resonated with him so that he reached out to one of the authors, Leslie Emery, Ph.D., and began a lifelong friendship and ongoing conversation about the species. About five years following their first conversation, Jackson had a direct experience with a "mustang" that was adopted by one of his clients that was only a few weeks out of the wild. The hooves on the mustang were so different from anything he had seen in his professional practice on domestic horses that he decided to enter wild horse country (in 1982) as a student of nature.
For the next four years, he traveled off/on with wild horse bands to learn their ways. By staring directly into the face of nature, Jackson said he learned to put aside any preconceptions, prejudices, and 'learned ignorance' about the horse as a species. He ultimately emerged a different person and went on to conduct formal studies on their hooves during this period at the government's processing corrals near Litchfield, California.
In 1988, he and Emery presented his findings before 5,000 farriers at the annual conference of the American Farriers Association in Lexington, KY (USA). The same year, he began writing his first book about equine life in the wild, his hoof studies, and how both could be helpful to domesticated horses. Recognizing the inhumanity of nailing a piece of metal to the bottom of the horse's foot, he also ended his 'shoeing practice' and transitioned into the first genuine "Natural Hoof Care Practioner," forsaking the metal shoe to devote his practice only to understanding how to create unshod, healthy, naturally shaped hooves. In 1992, the The Natural Horse: Lessons from the Wild was published by Northland Publishing. Slowly, the word about the "natural horse" really began to spread then. Speaking engagements followed, and, in 2000, he was joined by others in creating the AANHCP, the first organization dedicated to the principles and practices of NHC based on the "wild horse model." The modern day "barefoot movement" that was genuinely based upon nature was born!
Over the years since The Natural Horse was first published, Jackson wrote other groundbreaking books and magazine articles (including many for the American Farriers Journal in the 1990s) on species-appropriate care, diets, lifestyle and environments in order to help achieve greater health, happiness and soundness for domestic horses. With a growing membership of NHC Practitioners around the world, the organization strives to be a resource for all involved in equestrian ownership and activities to better understand genuine natural horse care principles and practices and recognize the need for changing the trajectory for domestic horses worldwide based upon the wild horse research as well as those studies at the AANHCP field headquarters near Lompoc, California.
Thanks to Jaime and the AANHCP, the art and science of NHC is growing and continues to be an international phenomenon with the horse’s well-being as the primary focus. Nearly 16 years later, the AANHCP continues to champion new paradigms for more humane horse care based on nature’s model.
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