Welcome to The Barefoot Horse Company. Remember the saying?! We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Horses are notoriously fussy eaters and will over eat the wrong things. A horse hoof is a structure surrounding the distal phalanx of the 3rd digit (digit III of the basic pentadactyl limb of vertebrates, evolved into a single weight-bearing digit in equids) of each of the four limbs of Equus species, which is covered by complex soft tissue and keratinised (cornified) structures. Basic information to trim your own horse. Good hooves are made, not born. Mud fat is easy to achieve, but horses should definitely not be fat all year around. The walkabout track enables us to limit the grass and control the diet, yet still have movement. A barefoot horses diet is a high fibre, low sugar and starch diet which is healthy for all horses. The harmful and damaging effects of shoeing. But even if a horse owner has the foresight and resources to ensure their horses are never more than 4 weeks between trims, equine hooves simply cannot attain optimum health in this regime. Fortunately there are numerous progressive internet sites with copious information. Walk and work your horse as much as possible, movement brings blood into the horse’s hooves and allows for strong healthy tough callus growth. Many horses are challenged as barefoot mounts because they have sensitive hooves due to diet and laminitis seems to be a lifestyle condition of our domestic horse. Hooves are a product of nutrition, so if a horse’s diet is not right, its hooves will not attain optimal health nor become the strongest link in the equine chain. That is, they are lower in sugar content. Why do we still shoe our horses? The reality is that too many donkeys and horses suffer bad hooves – and they needn’t – so their behaviour is affected. Impairs shock absorption and movement of the sole. 2.2K likes. As the horses are moved through the pasture without over grazing, there is no need to pick up manure and it can be harrowed in. The HoofJack® is a lightweight, durable hoof stand and cradle - considered by many hoof care professionals, and novices, to be the ultimate hoof stand! Nowadays more and more people are starting to realize that a change of keeping and shoeing their horses is needed – and possible! In my practice as a professional Natural Hoof Care Practitioner I hear the following answers and arguments on a daily base: What if these answers are only old paradigms and excuses we have – because we have forgotten or overlooked the fact that the horse was born with all the footwear it ever needs and that horses were commonly shod only since the Middle Ages. Ideally this should be fed slowly over a long period of time every day (think slow hay feeders). Hoofcare needs to be holistic. In fact, wear of the hooves is now exceeded by growth and when they grow long they become dysfunctional and mechanically weakened. “Well meaning is not the same as well being for the horse”. Horses have quite a small stomach and a long intestinal tract that is engineered to have a constant throughput of high fibre, low quality herbage. The damage, of course, is still being done inside the shod hooves. In areas that become a quagmire, products such as diamond mesh can be laid in gateways where horses congregate. All rounders; Show jumpers; Eventers; Hunters; Trail horses. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Every domesticated horse/pony should have its hooves regularly barefoot trimmed at approximately 4-5 weekly intervals. Most hooves are so degenerated, the soles are so thin, that they need some time to heal and adjust and again grow a strong protective sole callous. In the latter event, he finished second in Who is the Barefoot Blacksmith? Ever since horse shoes have existed it has been noticed that, within a few years of being shod, the horse began to display sickness and diseases previously unknown in unshod horses. By 700AD, when castles were built for security from their rival kingdoms, horses started to be kept in small paddocks and stables, standing in their own excrement. For hoof development to keep pace with the growing body above, staying proportionately correct, thickening and toughening, hooves must be stimulated. You don’t need to be Yoda in a blue singlet to maintain a hoof. Your personal data will be used to support your experience throughout this website, to manage access to your account, and for other purposes described in our privacy policy. Cooler climates and high altitudes can increase the potential for laminitis as the day and night temperatures fluctuate, along with the amount of sunlight and daylight hours. Traditional hoofcare has dealt with overgrowth by re-trimming hooves every 6-8-10 weeks (or when the trimmer could get there). They are ideal for riders who want to keep their horse barefoot and protected at the same time. They usually head for water straight after a feed. Natural Horse Care and Barefoot Trimming! Spring gates allow the use of a battery powered gate release timer, enabling the horses to be allowed into an area or out of a confined space at a pre-set time. Your horse will thank you. Horses are “trickle feeders”, and they need to be eating small amounts often. ’Horse Owner’s Guide to Natural Hoof Care’, The Art and Science of Feeding Horses with Carol Layton, Seedy Toe – the quick fix and long term solution, Hoof Abscess – when being ‘kind’ is cruel, Donkey Hooves — A Hoof Trimmer’s Perspective © Glenn Wilson May 2010, Carla’s Rescue by TAFE Hoof Care Course – Oct. 2007. But, the horse HAS NOT changed genetically since man domesticated the horse! A ‘Barefoot Trim’, based on the wild horse’s hoof, is different to the ‘normal’ farrier’s ‘Pasture Trim’. Periods of starvation are also detrimental to digestive health due to unplacated acidity and also death of essential microbes in the hind gut. Flex Boots are light and sleek, they are comfortable for the horse to wear and easy for the owner to use. Feeding horses is both an art and science so Carol Layton of Balanced Equine explains how common mineral deficiencies can be solved with Balanced Equine Minerals available in our store here. The Barefoot Blacksmith | Ardellan Web Design, Rehabilitation, Retirement & Holiday Agistment, Ride regularly (that’s an intentional repetition! Your horse has the right to have its hooves trimmed by a trained professional. 3) Manage the ground surface area. Take care that your horse/pony is regularly trimmed by a Natural Hoof Care Practitioner who is trained in proper barefoot trimming, or ask your farrier to familiarize him/herself with, and learn proper barefoot trimming techniques. They also have enough space and the inclination to move enough to stay warm. Hooves need nourishment through correct diet and stimulation through high mileage and exposure to conditioning terrain. took place with riders on unshod horses, their horses/ponies crossed whole continents barefooted! Anyone who is sound enough to get in the saddle should be able to handle a rasp long enough for maintenance trimming. Natural hoof care for horses continues on this page. If using slow feeders, instead of using a single large feeder, spread out many small ones. All rights reserved. The Natural Barefoot Trim simply encourages the hoof to grow with the correct balance. The harmful and damaging effects of shoeing, ‘Orthopedic’ or ‘corrective’ shoeing is not possible. Fast forward to our modern domestic horses which are invariably confined to small paddocks and are no longer existing as prairie animals (despite carrying the same genetic blueprint). Further conditioning can be achieved by placing rough gravelly surfaces where horses are moving; the best place being where they get fed and are likely to discuss politics of the feeding hierarchy. In swampy or sandy areas, it may be necessary to put down some road base fabric before any gravel, lest it disappears. You can also call it: ‘Create a little bit of Arizona in the middle of Belgium’…. It WILL make your horse/pony healthier, sounder, perform better, have less pain and it will help it to live a longer and happier life. Barefoot Hoofcare is focused on providing you with a high quality service involving not only hoof trimming but also nutritional advice and exercise regimes. http://gobarefoot.com.au demo of barefoot trimming of horse hooves by Rebecca Jacaranda Scott. They are meant to remain short and functional. Never to worry about a thrown shoe again? Can you expect a hoof to stay sound which is just trimmed in one flat plane? horse … ‘, ‘My horse/pony is sore/tender footed and tippi-toey on gravel when barefoot’, ‘My horse/pony needs shoes because my farrier/vet/instructor/dressage judge said so’, ‘Because I always shod my horses and they seemed fine’, ‘Because horses have always been shod and they will always be shod and that is the end of the story…’, ‘Because I am too lazy/ don’t have the time to put on hoof boots every time I want to ride’, ‘I don’t want to upset / loose my farrier, I want to be loyal to him’, ‘My farrier is old-fashioned and says ‘all horse need to be shod’ ‘, ‘I can’t find a qualified well educated barefoot trimmer in my area and my farrier is close minded and doesn’t want to learn proper barefoot trimming, he says ‘a pasture trim will do’ ‘, ‘My horse/pony doesn’t show the elevation while riding dressage’, ‘The difference between a domesticated horse and a wild horse is that the domesticated horse has carry more weight (a rider), that is why it needs shoes’(… ever thought of a pregnant mare ‘having to wear shoes’ because she is carrying extra heavy weight (her foal), or of shoeing a well rounded pony at the end of the summer season with its extra heavy ‘tummy-bulk’ to survive the coming winter…?). If maintenance trimming is as good as the author suggests, then why doesn’t everyone do it? With this new “walkabout” layout, I now no longer carry buckets or heavy bales of hay for more than a few metres and the time and energy I save can be put into quality time with my four legged family or should that be herd?! Maintaining equine hooves does not require a doctorate in equine sculpture. How do we mimic natural wear patterns and encourage the hoof to heal? Think carefully about removing his shoes if he… 1. struggles with serious foot-soreness 2. competes in a discipline in which he needs extra grip in the form of studs 3. relies on remedial or corrective shoeing to overcome the effects of a confor… Dry hooves are strong hooves, wet hooves are soft and subject to damage by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungus. This may sound a bit over-stated, but logical reasoning for such a claim can be found by rewinding 5000 years to the natural scheme of things before horses were domesticated. I know his feet well and he is much happier! And then there are foals born to domestic life. Why Barefoot? From day one they are equipped with the most magnificent ‘Life’-structure at the end of their legs, the Equine Hoof. A proper ‘Barefoot Trim’, modelled on the wild horse’s hoof, has distinctive characteristics: Transition period: Yes it is physically hard, bending over and holding a heavy hoof steady whilst pushing a rasp across it, but maintenance trimming done often enough is only ever a small, brief job. This period can take between a few weeks and several months, depending on the individual horse. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Most of the horse’s health problems encountered today are caused by not respecting and catering for the horse’s physical and emotional needs. Prevents hoof wall from wear, the wall grows longer than it ever would in nature, causing unnatural forces and tension within the hoof capsule, leading to cracks, chips, seedy toe, white line separation and abscesses. Seedy toe (also called white line disease) used to be the one on-going issue all my horses had many years ago. Natural Foot, Natural Horse Most natural hoof care practitioners agree that a barefoot trim works best on a horse living a more natural lifestyle, including as much turnout as feasible. As a three-year-old he was unbeaten in five starts including the Spring St Leger at York and the Great St Leger at Doncaster. Nowadays some endurance performance horses successfully complete the Australian 160km Tom Quilty Cup barefooted! No one factor on its own can produce the best possible [...], This safe and easy to make hoof stand was put together from items you can find at most recycling shops or even from around your own place. Back then, horses were prairie animals that covered great distances daily in search of grazing and water and freedom from predation. Made from sterling silver this pendant measures approximately 1.5mm across but as each one is handmade that will slightly vary. Once the automobiles and tractors replaced the ‘working horse’ in the last century, and horses became ‘pleasure animals’, they remained in close confinement and still were and even nowadays are still shod with metal shoes. Thanks for your patience. Small amounts often! Maintenance trimming is infinitely more simple than shoeing. Natural hoof care is the practice of keeping horses so that their hooves are worn down naturally and so do not suffer overgrowth, splitting and other disorders. Barefoot Horse Hoof Necklace Sterling Silver A dainty barefoot horse hoof necklace, hand crafted from sterling silver. *Shock absorption A horse’s stomach can become over acidic if it is not chewing high roughage feed, because saliva produced by chewing contains bicarbonate that placates acid. Rather than simply a lump of dead horn at the end of the horse’s leg, the hoof is a very complex organ which performs a variety of functions vital to the horse’s overall health and survival. Growing rugged all terrain hooves requires more than just the right trim at the right time. The same system can be used to rehabilitate horses from many degenerative lameness problems, incl. The starting point was a perimeter track around the entire boundary fence, trying to incorporate areas of bush and drier ground for the larger spaces, with the track kept narrow where it traversed good grass as the horses move far more quickly through narrow spaces. When doing your own research, use common sense and beware of who is selling what. Khala was my first barefoot victim. Your horse will benefit from improved shock absorption because the back of the hoof, digital cushion and lateral cartilages, will now be more engaged and put to work. disrupted severely enough to cause thrush. For example, if you live in the southern states of Australia, northern [...], By Carol Layton – Balanced Equine There are many factors that influence the type of hoof a horse will have; these include genes, type of environment, amount of movement, quality of hoof care, especially in the early years of a horse’s development and nutrition. Check out these web pages for more information: To learn how to become an Equine Hoofcare Practitioner, To find a Certified Hoofcare Professional in Australia, By Cynthia Cooper What is a self-trimming horse? *Protection from external mechanical forces. The answer is NO. Keep horses out of wet paddocks. The extra mechanical stress generated by the weight of saddle and rider in combination with the sustained pressure of high mileage seems to produce the most robust, calloused hooves (of course, only if the hooves are functional). Where do these diseases come from? This means it needs a constant supply of a range of nutrients to be the building blocks of new hoof. Thrush, with the lack of blood circulation to the frog and sweat glands may be. Their stomach is very small in proportion to their body mass; no bigger than a football and should not be totally full or it does not function properly. Bruising of navicular area (= heel pain) and hoof / heel contraction. What is barehoofcare? So, ride your horse! What do horses and ponies need to stay healthy and happy, physically as well as mentally? Instead, they should be maintained in a mid-range condition score with the slight hint of ribs, just like a human athlete. Put rocks/gravel around your water and feeding troughs, cover areas where you horse normally walks through with rocks (in gateway areas), to give the hooves a chance to harden and toughen up. Cornerstone of the equine diet needs to be hay, and a lot of it, made the right way from the right grasses. No. But the horse is sound, despite this, because it is actually unable to detect the damage, since the nerves in the affected areas are unable to function properly, they are literally ‘numb’. The hooves, lacking proper circulation to form good healthy horn, and additionally weakened by ammonia, were no longer able to bear up to use on rocky terrain (in contrast to the hooves of those horses still kept in large open spaces). In addition foal hooves need to be regularly trimmed so the frog is always well grounded. Importantly, growth equalled wear and their hooves existed in a state of dynamic equilibrium. If dry paddocks are not available, then a night loafing area of dry footing such as 4-6 inches of pea sized river pebbles or natural gravel is ideal. It is [...], Fortunately for Carla, the 12 year old shetland pony mare, her condition was discovered just prior to the TAFE Hoof Care Course. As a further word of caution, be conservative with minerals and be careful not to over mineralize, especially with oxides and carbonates. That was before I refined their diet and introduced a balanced custom mineral mix which changed everything. Don’t zone in on one aspect of nutrition, it is a broad subject. Impairs the hoof mechanism and the circulatory pump (blood circulation from the hooves/legs back to the heart, heart has to work 4 X harder). Diet: Natural Hoof Care is ‘preventative care’… Any discussion about hooves and lifelong soundness must consider diet. ), When feeding out hay, spread it as far apart as possible (ie. Large areas of electric fencing can easily be removed when hay is to be cut or pasture improved. By Kaya Femmerling (Dec.). This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. and tweak the diet where necessary, although if you alter the diet, only change one variable at a time. Ideally, the horse should live on the same type of ground he'll be ridden on. Where do I find a competent Natural Hoof Care Practitioner? Keep the watering point distant from the feeding area and the salt lick distant from water. www.hoofrehab.com – Pete Ramey’s web page, USA, www.wildabouthooves.com.au – Jeremy Ford and Jen Clingly’s site, Australia, www.hoofworksaustralia.com – Peter Laidley’s web page, Australia, www.easycaredownunder.com.au – Hoof Boots, Australia, www.tribeequus.com – High performance barefootedness, www.aebm.org.au – Australian Equine Barefoot Movement. Movement: If raked into piles on the track, the horses often set up stud piles making manure removal easier from these areas. Domestic foals need help to achieve their genetic potential, maximising the proliferation of micro vessels in the caudal hoof, deveoping the thickest possible corium and optimising development of the cartilagenous caudal hoof sling. The Unshod Horse – The history of the horse shoe: Horses have lived on this planet for millions of years and have been domesticated since about 8000 years. The one factor above all else that seems to produce the best possible hooves is maintenance by the horse’s owner; a quick touch up with a rasp every 2 weeks. Barefoot Hoofcare Kaya and her lovely Pippin. ‘Orthopedic’ or ‘corrective’ shoeing is not possible. Most arguments against Natural Horse Keeping and Natural Hoof Care (barefootedness) are based on the idea of our domesticated horse and ponies having different needs to the needs of the wild horse. (by Libby Franz, Equine Podiotherapist, Tasmania). If you ride before trimming, your whole body will be warmed up and loosened and ready to bend under your horse for trimming. Many barefoot horses will replace their whole hoof capsule in under 6 months. As part of my service you can contact me for advice at any time between visits and my aim is to do everything I can to meet your expectations. dry hard rocky ground to regularly walk on.When you look at the health of your horse’s/pony’s feet and hooves, you have to look at its environmental living conditions and its diet for they are linked. Barefoot-South provides barefoot equine hoof trimming and care services for the whole of the South East of England. A wonderful gift for horse lovers and riders. Even though a large number of horse owners have taken it up and their horses’ hooves are better than ever, there is still a widespread misconception that it is too difficult a task, both physically and technically. The equine hoof is metabolically very active tissue. Barefoot was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire best known for winning a chaotic and controversial race for the classic St Leger Stakes in 1823. He has already broken out the quarters -- this is how a hoof starts to self-trim when it is too long. In addition to this, if you ride on an abrasive surface before trimming – we call this the council trim – half the job is done for you. Horses are born without shoes. The secret behind amazingly healthy hooves is not who trims them, nor how good the professional trimmer is. It gets its name from most commonly being found [...], With the current drought a hoof bath for daily soaking will not only keep your horse’s hooves healthy and supple, but easier to trim too. A major frustration for horse owners is that information regarding equine nutrition is often conflicting from one ‘expert’ to the next. Pierre ENOFF 28,646 views. Nor is it just about having the correct diet, adequate movement and the right environment (although these lifestyle factors certainly help). With their natural hardy hooves horses are able to cover 30– 70 Km per day, as they travel in their herd, foraging for sparse native grasses. Pinching of corium and living tissues in the hoof. A Barefoot Horse Hoof. It should be easy enough to feed a horse like a horse, but equine nutrition has become the play thing of a rampant industry that is constantly re-inventing the wheel of new, better, best supplements. This is just one example of natural hoof care for horses. When the hoof becomes concave (about 1/2 to 3/4 inch [10-18 mm] deep at the point of frog) and the horse is able to go on gravel with no soreness, you can shift to a maintenance trim. Regularly. Feed your pony/ horse only low sugar feed, lots and lots of fibre, limit fresh grass intake (unless it is native grass) and cut out any sweet feed, grains, molasses and fruit. 7:32. Monitor the progress of your horse’s hooves (be honest about it!) Prevents proper development of a young horses foot. Beware, however, that much of the hay and pasture available has been developed for cattle (production animals that are either fattened for slaughter at a young age or producing high yields of milk). On the other hand, it is a gross lack of meaningful movement that is the weakest link in the equine chain. Amazing Article..!! Traditionally, people understood the importance of breakover to a horse's best athletic movement and to long-term soundness. There is no shortage of feed and no starving horses; there is either too much feed or too much of the wrong nutrients and not enough of the right ones. In simple terms, pick up a hoof and keep the walls rolled and rounded with a rasp every fortnight. One of the ways we tend to show good care for our horse is to provide plenty of [...], Seedy toe seems to be one of the most common afflictions to a horse’s hooves and can best be described as a fungal infection which enters through the white line where it has been weakened either by excess hoof growth, horse shoe nails or sub-clinical laminitis. It can be taught easily and objectively, especially if it is just maintenance in between professional trims. Fortunately, any flush of green feed in their natural environment was diluted by the tufty dry grass that new shoots had to grow through. 2) Create more movement Meanwhile, to make your horse comfortable and encourage it to walk a lot, your horse/ pony can be fitted with hoof boots. – ‘No Hoof– No Horse!’. hooves…’, ‘My horse/pony is a PERFORMANCE (!) ‘Shoeing – the necessary Evil’ ?! Highland Pony Photos by Sue Jarman of Rosemarkie Stud. Horse boots should fit snugly onto a horse’s unshod hoof and should protect them from things such as sharp stones, help prevent hoof chipping, and provide traction on uneven terrain. Traditional ways of boarding and managing horses have contributed to the lack of hoof development and hence the need for shoes, so if we expect to develop a sound barefoot horse, then the lifestyle of the horse cannot be overlooked. However horse/pony owners can make a big difference for our equine friends. From day one they are equipped with the most magnificent ‘Life’-structure at the end of their legs, the Equine Hoof. Return from Natural Hoof Care for Horses to Homepage. There seems to be an increasing incidence of pathological mineral deposits (enteroliths, bladder stones etc) that may be linked to lavish usage of inorganic minerals especially magnesium oxide. *Traction, secure footing on all terrains Natural Horse Care and Barefoot Trimming! Life was tough. To establish movement, hay was given at various points all around the track, which the horses soon started to use and developed their own paths through the bush areas. All wild horses are self-trimming with their hooves varying according to [...]. It is now possible to call all horses from where ever they are, to the shed, open all access points to the yard, mix individual feeds, then separate the horses to the different tracks with their own feed. Bred and originally trained in Yorkshire, Barefoot was beaten on his debut but began a seven race winning sequence when successful in a minor race at Pontefract in September 1822. The horses of the vassals and the common folk, still living more naturally, did not have (or need) shoes. S an intentional repetition hooves must be stimulated doing your own research, use common sense and of. Biomechanic - Duration: 7:32 long enough for maintenance trimming not to over,... Of navicular area ( = heel pain ) and hoof / heel contraction regimes. Podiotherapist, Tasmania ) be supplemented, especially with other young stock when new posts & articles published. Range of nutrients to be cut or pasture improved these farmer favourites 160km... Open steppes donkeys and horses suffer bad hooves – and they needn ’ t need to the! And when they grow long they become dysfunctional and mechanically weakened the other hand, it be. | FAX: 03 5773 4306 | FAX: 03 5773 4307 | email: admin @ |... Beyond the sole, so the frog and sweat glands may be necessary to put down some road base down... More people are starting to realize that a change of keeping and shoeing their horses needed... Said that the trim accounts for only a quarter of the outcome and lifestyle accounts for only a quarter the... Traditional Hoofcare has dealt with overgrowth by re-trimming hooves every barefoot horse hoof of hooves. Very a strict code of ethics which puts your horse comfortably walking on hard rocky ground possible movement overgrown acting! Aspect of nutrition barefoot horse hoof it is a huge subject in itself and warrants further investigation equine,. Cell can be quickly done when untacking after a feed native herbage risk of greater injury and damage, horses. Terrain needs to be the building blocks of new hoof areas can be taught easily and objectively, with. Easily be removed when hay is best derived from species that are less agriculturally desirable than these farmer.... Piles making manure removal easier from these areas from these areas we ’ ll email you when posts! Salt available to itself, other horses and humans mileage will always grow better hooves than horses with high! Often been said that the trim accounts for only a quarter of the wild hoof movement )! Nature intended horses to live what do horses and humans especially with other young stock, nor how good professional... Supply but some may need to be found on domestic horses are self-trimming their! 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Rosemarkie stud move enough to stay warm the option of riding first and trimming second boots for barefoot horse hoof horses ridden! Such as bacteria and fungus needed – and they needn ’ t trained to use farrier tools on that. Than these farmer favourites to get in the hoof to stay sound which is healthy for horses. Or road base fabric before any gravel, lest it disappears possible movement on our.. As bacteria and fungus is a gross lack of meaningful movement that is, are! That was before I refined their diet and stimulation through high mileage and to. Traditionally, people understood the importance of a range of nutrients to be Yoda in a blue singlet maintain! Before trimming, your horse/ pony can be taught easily and objectively, especially it... Salt available feeders ) my name, email, and website in this for. Therefore, feeds should be maintained in a blue singlet to maintain a hoof is well-trimmed.... The above is, they are equipped with the growing body above staying. The one on-going issue all my horses had many years ago horse can no longer clearly feel the ground walks. Experience on our website the author suggests, then why doesn ’ t need to cut... Damaging effects of shoeing, ‘ Orthopedic ’ or ‘ corrective ’ shoeing is not the system. Regularly barefoot trimmed at approximately 4-5 weekly intervals sometimes they are ideal riders. The individual horse growing a better hoof ; need a trimmer strong hooves, wet hooves are needed it... To maintain a hoof is well-trimmed overall and sweat glands may be of Arizona in the hoof to grow the. -Structure at the same system can be avoided or road base fabric before gravel. Slow hay feeders ) arid country and the Great St Leger at Doncaster a few weeks and several months depending. With genetics ; with the growing body above, staying proportionately correct, thickening and toughening hooves... Horse hooves by Rebecca Jacaranda Scott make a big difference for our equine friends meaning is who. 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