Jaime Jackson, Director of Field Training
My professional work with horses began in the 1970s. I was a farrier back then. In 1977, an important book, Horseshoeing Theory and Hoof Care (Emery, Miller, Van Hoosen), was published and immediately came to my attention. The authors drew attention to the horse's "wild state", and, as fate would have it, the idea so resonated with me that the connection with America's wild, free-roaming horses was inevitable. Emery and I became close friends and colleagues, and following many discussions over the next five years, and then a direct experience with a "mustang" that was adopted by one of my clients, I decided to enter wild horse country in 1982 as a student of nature.
For the next four years, I traveled off/on with wild horse bands to learn their ways -- they were profound "teachers". Staring directly into the face of nature, I learned to put aside my preconceptions, prejudices, and ignorance about the horse as a species. I emerged a different person. I also did several formal hoof studies during this period at the government's processing corrals near Litchfield, California.
In 1988, Emery and I presented my findings before 5,000 horseshoers at the annual conference of the American Farriers Association in Lexington, KY (USA). The same year, I began writing my first book about equine life in the wild, my hoof studies, and how both could be helpful to domesticated horses. My career as a horseshoer also ended then as I transitioned into America's first "NHC practitioner", forsaking the metal shoe for unshod, healthy, naturally shaped hooves.
In 1992, The Natural Horse: Lessons from the Wild was published by Northland Publishing. By 1995, word about the "natural horse" really began to spread among horse owners all around the world. Speaking engagements followed, and, in 2000, I 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 AANHCP then began providing training for natural hoof care practitioners. The modern day "barefoot movement" based on nature's "wild horse model" was born!
Over the years since The Natural Horse was published, I wrote other books and magazine articles (including many for the American Farriers Journal during the 1990s), and traveled far and wide to speak and give clinics about NHC.
In 2009, the ISNHCP was created to replace the AANHCP to provide training, the AANHCP defaulting to provide advocacy for our vital mission. The ISNHCP provides professional training in the artful science and practice of humane horse care based on my wild horse research (1982-1986) and studies (2010-2018) at our former field headquarters near Lompoc, California.
Today, NHC has grown into a true international phenomenon with the horse’s well-being as our primary focus. It is a fact that scarcely anyone who owns a horse hasn't heard about it. The road ahead seems certain now, and the AANHCP and ISNHCP will continue to champion the future for more humane horse care based on nature’s model.Jaime Jackson