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Building Healthier Horses from the Ground Up


With all the rich grass and feed, the horses put on weight.  I started seeing swelling in their ankles and their necks became extremely thick and hard. 

I noticed how tenderly they walked over small rocks and gravel. One horse began developing large flares on her back hooves and all anybody knew to do was rasp it off.  She would be sore for weeks after each trimming, and the flares would always return.  All the horses eventually became obese, with fat pads in places they shouldn’t be and cresty, rock hard necks.  For one brief time, I witnessed what I now know was a full laminitic attack in one of the horses, complete with rocking back on all 4 heels.  I’m embarrassed to say now, that at the time I was unaware of what I was observing.


My horses taught me another lesson after arriving in Pennsylvania.  Because of the cold, I had a very expensive state of the art barn built with individual stalls so I could bring my horses in out of the cold…. they hated it!!

My horses were born and bred in Texas and had always lived on open pasture  along with plenty of their own kind. 

Living in a solitary cell did not appeal to them at all. 

I used the barn one winter… the next winter I stored hay in it.


This was about the time Track Systems showed up on my radar. 

I have been following Track Systems and learning from them ever since.


These were some of new thoughts and questions that came to me as I was having my eyes opened to a whole new way of life for me and my horses:


Who looks at horse’s feet and what should they look like? 

Who really knows what they are talking about when it comes to what to feed?

Why are my horses sore after every trim?

Why can’t I find a feed that makes my horse look like I want them to? 

Why doesn’t my horse want to move out like I know she should be able to?

Why are the horses always hungry?


I was discovering there was a whole lot to learn and a need for change.



About Leslie:


I think I was ready to jump on the Track System train the minute I fully comprehended how a Track System would address the root causes of the problems I was seeing in my horses.  My conversion began in 2019, after I discovered Gawsworth Track Livery online, quite by accident.  After following Gawsworth and other track liveries for several years, I decided I wanted to build a track of my own.  The track at Good for the Sole was established in 2022, and I am grateful for the changes I observed in my horses since changing to a track system.  


Growing up in the dry mountains of southern California, I got my first horse and started riding when I was 10.  I trained my first horse when I was twelve and several more by my late teens.  At age 20, I was hired to train horses at an Arabian breeding farm near me.   After 4 years there, I began training independently for private owners.  That continued until I moved to the hot, humid, flatlands of Texas at age 31.  There I opened a boarding and training facility, managing up to 23 horses.  In 2017, I moved myself and 4 horses to 20 acres of lush rolling green meadows in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Shortly after arriving in Pennsylvania, I built a deluxe barn complete with individual stalls and a work area.  My horses were all out on lush green grass, with free access to fertilized hay, and the best hard grain feed I could buy.  

Everything was PERFECT… or so I thought.

Then the problems started…

I now live in the mountains of beautiful West Virginia with my horses. The weather here is temperate – we have 4 full seasons, each equally represented.  The topography is mountainous and steep and the soil in our area is rocky with a large amount of shale unless you are in a bottomland.  Shale is porous and doesn’t hold water well, so rainwater drains through the surface quickly, becoming dry in a very short time, even after a good soaking.  While this type of soil may not be the best for growing vegetables and other crops, I have found that it grows great hooves.  


Since moving to West Virginia, I have capitalized on the favorable characteristics of the local shale, by building a state-of-the-art Track System and surfacing it with locally quarried shale.  There has been non-stop improvement in their hooves ever since.  In addition to the changes in the health of their hooves, there have been other unexpected and significant improvements that have occurred.  

The horses have all lost weight of course.  No more lumpy fat pads or cresty necks!  They appear fit and athletic to the eye and they move just as well as they look.  Athleticism and exuberance are observed daily.  

What I couldn’t have anticipated are the changes in my horses behavior since they have been living on the track.  The horses relate more to each other and move more tightly together as a herd.  There is less bickering and fighting over food and other things.  They seem very lighthearted and serene.  Their interactions with me are more welcoming and accepting than ever before.  When I walked into a pasture with them at one of our prior locations, they would usually give me the “what are YOU doing here?” look.  However, since they have been on the track, their behavior toward me has changed to one of acceptance and curiosity.  The change has made the relationship between me and my horses more intimate. Now I find more enjoyment than ever when I spend time with them on the track or riding.

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