Modifying Scoots Joan V Leslie JVL Natural Balance Rehabilitation Farrier

Joan fell into the rehabilitation side of farrier work 30 years ago with a little 2 year old newly broken mare that came up lame. Farriers all recommended various shoe and bar options which Joan did not see as fixing the issue. Joan had heard about the great work Dave Ridge had been doing with Jonathan Fields' horses and asked him to take a look at the mare’s hooves. Dave observed that her whole hoof capsule was twisted. Dave pulled off all her shoes, trimmed, and worked on her.

If you break your leg you do not just put a cast

on and walk on it, the injury needs to be

rehabilitated, it needs time to heal. This is how I

saw the shoe options. The hoof was clearly out

of balance and the shoes were being fitted to

that imbalance and only exaggerating it. - Joan

With Dave’s work, the little mare was rehabilitated and Joan then rode and barrel raced her for 13 years. Joan’s passion for learning about hoof care and function drove her self-education journey toward proper hoof balancing techniques. Emboldened by the successful rehabilitation of her mare, Joan followed Dave and watched him rehabilitate countless horses. Soon she was the one picking up the tools and doing the work under Dave’s guidance. It wasn’t long before Joan’s name was spreading across the horse community in BC. She became sought after by horse owners desperate for help with rehabilitating lame horses. Twenty seven years later Joan’s business, JVL Natural Balance Rehab Farrier, is going strong. She has given away shoeing work completely and is concentrating on barefoot rehabilitation work. Joan’s passion shows in her work and helping people with their horses doesn’t feel like a job to her.

Before undergoing any rehabilitation work, Joan makes sure her customer knows the full extent of the process to be undertaken.

I write up a rehabilitation plan, and detail that their horse will get worse before it gets better! It is important the customer knows and understands the process. I have them sign off on it before I start any work. In the past people have stressed their horse is worse and want to stop immediately and go straight back to shoes. Any horse is going to be sensitive when the shoes are removed, that is natural. Perseverance is essential, and signing an agreement is a must! - Joan

Joan’s expertise in hoof care has married well with providing Scoot Boots to customers wanting to remain barefoot. The harsh Canadian winters drive her customers to purchase Scoots from her to break them in over those colder months. When spring comes the Scoots are ready to go for long trail and endurance rides. A heat gun is a key tool in Joan’s kit. With years of fitting Scoot Boots she has mastered many techniques of modifying Scoots to the individual horse’s needs. ‘Especially the back

hooves’ which Joan explains ‘are more complex with fitting as they often come down low on the top heel strap’. To prevent any rubs occurring from the middle vertical heel strap, Joan applies the heat gun to slightly loosen this strap if needed. Working on the Scoots when on the hoof gives Joan the ability to tailor the Scoot specifically to the individual horse. Along with a heat gun, the Scoot Pads are essential items in Joan’s kit. Cutting the Pads and layering them in the Scoots to lift the heels is a technique Joan swears by for helping underrun hooves, especially back hooves.

I consider myself as an artistic person, I enjoy cutting the pads up nicely and making something from them tailored to the horses hoof. -Joan

A lot of people are requesting Scoots from Joan even though she has not worked with their horses. This has all come through word of mouth from Joan’s excellent work.

Joan recognises the importance of assessing overall hoof conformation before she sizes for Scoots. A twisted hoof capsule or unbalanced hoof will not be fixed with a hoof boot alone, and it is important the owner is aware of this. These issues could lead to further problems with a hoof boot rubbing and creating sores. Compassionately explaining the evaluation of the hoof to the customer is how Joan works. No quick fix promises are made. Rather, she provides in-depth analysis and information on how corrective trimming can assist any balance issues.

What is Joan’s swear by tip for making a Scoot Boot sale?

I keep all the most common sizes in stock, Reg 2s, 3s. Being able to put a Scoot straight onto a horse in front of the owner almost always guarantees the sale.

Joan’s success is due to her friendly, affable nature and the hard-earned trusting relationship with farriers who consistently send referrals her way.

It has been a real pleasure to talk to Joan, and hear of the passion she has for rehabbing horses. Every day at Scoot HQ we are seeing the marvelous work stockists are carrying out across the globe in their various equine specialities. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time to share your success stories or pain points. We are always happy to hear from you!


Joan runs Natural Balance trimming clinics. To find out when her next clinic is on or to connect with Joan you can find her on BC Scoot Boots Facebook page.

Join the conversation on our Facebook community page, it’s a great way to share tips, tricks and ideas with fellow equine specialists.

October 2021