Barefoot Trimming

I strive to achieve comfort, balance, and proper biomechanics through my trimming. Starting from where each horse is at each trim, I encourage heel first landings. This strengthens the integrity of the hoof, builds soft tissue, and aids in better mobility throughout the entire body.

Maintaining a 3-6 week trim cycle is optimal for hoof health. When we wait until the hoof looks long to trim, it is difficult to make progress towards correcting distortion. The excess length, especially in the toe, puts tremendous strain on both the tendons as well as the entire body as it compensates for the increased leverage. With trimming more often, I am able to remove leverage, correct distortion, provide comfort, encourage quality movement, and help the horse to build a stronger, healthier hoof.

The Healthy Foot

In my opinion, the perfect hoof is the one that’s the most functional and comfortable for the horse, and function should always be prioritized over esthetics.

Ideally, I like to see a strong, well developed digital cushion, a wide frog with just a divot at the central sulcus, a concave sole with adequate live sole depth, and a tight white line connection.

That said, you could have all those things and still not have the horse striding out and landing heel first.

I believe heel first landings should be prioritized, and are the foundation for building a strong foot, so though my eye likes the look of a ‘perfect foot’, a weaker looking foot that’s performing well will end up being the better foot in the long run.

Client

Case Studies

Carl

3 week trim cycle for eleven months

Carl is a very large horse, whose very large feet started out with quite a bit of flare. A three week trim cycle has allowed us to get on top of the flare, helping him to have a tighter, better connected hoof wall. Carl has also gained some sole concavity, and his frogs are larger and more robust.

Carl’s owner is learning to trim and has taken on touching up his hooves between my trims. This joint effort ensures that this big guy stays happy and healthy and comfortable in his feet.

Uncle Buck

6 week trim cycle for eleven months

Uncle Buck came to his new owners with very overgrown and distorted hooves due to lack of proper hoof care.

Along with regular trimming to rehabilitate his hooves, his owners implemented careful dietary management as well. Uncle Buck is on a longer trim cycle than many rehab cases due to his location, but he has made tremendous improvements and maintained well on a six week trim cycle. He’s moving much more comfortably, and enjoys his time with his young owner (even when it involves sparkly hoof polish!).

Flare

3 week trim cycle for nine weeks

When I met Flare, her heels were at quite low angles and as such, weren’t in a position to properly support her hooves.
She made amazing improvements to her heel angle over a very short period of time with trimming to encourage heel comfort and engagement.  This is a great example of the importance of the heels as a foundational structure for the hoof, and how quickly they can shift when circumstances allow.

Reba

3 week trim cycle for six months

Reba began with a weak caudal hoof, and struggled with soundness issues.

With maintaining a three week trim cycle to encourage her to engage her heels, as well as Scoot Boots for comfort, and dietary changes, Reba has quite a bit of soft tissue development, and is moving much more comfortably.

Lena

3 week trim cycle for eight months

Lena is quite crooked in her limbs, as confirmed by radiographs, and she was diagnosed with navicular issues shortly after she was purchased.

Though she will always be crooked in the legs, through frequent trims to encourage heel first landings she has built tremendous amounts of soft tissue, and she’s moving comfortably.

Teddy

3 week trim cycle for twelve months

Teddy was purchased by his owner a year ago, with very upright feet. He is a great example of the difference between artificial heel height in horn material in the before photos versus true heel height in soft tissue in the after photos.

Through regular frequent trims, he is sound and much more comfortable than when we began.

Magic

3 week trim cycle for thirteen months

Magic was also diagnosed with navicular syndrome, and has struggled with soundness issues over the last few years.

On a three week trim cycle, and with dietary changes, we’ve improved her pastern angle, built soft tissue, and gained more concavity to her feet.

Buddy

6 week trim cycle for thirteen months

When I began trimming Buddy, he was unsound, and was also diagnosed with navicular issues. At his first trim, he had a negative palmar angle, which puts a lot of strain on the deep digital flexor tendon, further perpetuating pain and soundness issues.

On a six week cycle we’ve managed to correct the bull nosed dorsal wall and negative palmar angle, and though he is stiff in his body from years of compensation, his feet are much better than when we started.

Bob

2-4 week trim cycle for eighteen months

When I started trimming Bob, he was badly foundered, and his owner was told that because he had foundered, his feet would always look that way and nothing could be done. He was very sore, and had trouble walking and standing for trims.

When his rehab began, we were still dealing with chronic laminitis, and had to trim every two weeks to keep on top of the accelerated growth. As we got the laminitis under control and his diet adjusted, we bumped the trims back to every three weeks, and currently, he’s maintaining well on a four week cycle.

While his diet will always have to be closely monitored, Bob is much more comfortable, and is once again able to run around with his friends.