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Trimming

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cantering horseSteps to Trimmingcanter horse

The steps to trimming are not just one cookie cutter recipe to trim every foot. Each individual horse as well as each hoof on the horse need to be addressed as the situation presents itself. No horse is the same and not every hoof will need the same style of trim. The major basic rules of applying the barefoot trim exist such as:

  • Keeping heels low
  • The sole should be left alone as much as possible. Carving concavaty into the hoof does not accomplish anything. Removing false sole or toe calous before it is ready is detrimental to achieving rock crunching hooves.
  • The toe should be brought back and rolled to give the hoof the proper break over
  • The quarters should be relieved to allow for correct hoof flexion
  • The frog should not be trimmed except the tattered edges to clean it up. Trimming the frog back at the heels is like taking away a calous on your hand and leaves the area sore and tender.

The first step to trimming is to evaluate the hoof first by picking out the loose material out of the collateral grooves beside the frog and finding heel height. Notice what the foot looks like and what it needs to have done to ensure proper hoof mechanism. I have studied both Pete Ramey's DVD series as well as Cheryl Henderson's Hoof Print Trim manual to find heel height. Pete measures the collateral groove depth at the back of the hoof as well as the depth at the apex of the frog. He says that the optimum height should be 3/4" at the heel and 3/8" at the apex...roughly. Cheryl measures the hairline at the back of the heel to where the heel will meet the ground after its trimmed. She says that this measurement should be 1 1/8". She is also achieving a 30 degree hairline that allows the bony column to allow the coffin bone to be "almost" ground parallel. There will be a 5 degree difference between the back of the coffin bone and the front relative to the ground. Either way the sole should be the primary gauge of where to place your heel. Invading live sole to achieve either of these measurements are not what either hoof care provider had in mind. Using common sense to trims hooves should be at the trimmers descresion.

 

I begin by using my nipper viewing the sole by starting in the quarter and follow my cut around through the heel and then forward to the toe. I place my cut above where I actually want my finished beveled wall to be. I then rasp at an angle to start my mustang roll leaving the width of the wall symmetrical all the way around.

The next step is to place the hoof on the hoof stand and begin by removing the flares by rasping the lower 1/4th-1/2 inch of the wall. This is mostly to beautify the roll and not really to thin the wall from the top since the roll was started from the bottom. Do not remove anything higher than the very lower part of the hoof. Weakening of the wall will happen. Trimming from the top does not rasp the entire outer hoof wall....just the lower part. And it is not just taking the toes back but finishing the roll that was started in the solar view.

Disclaimer: In the past I did what is referred to as Trimming From the Top. I no longer subscribe to this type of trim because it thins the bottom of the wall too much. In regards to how I trim foundered hooves, this style of trim is totally appropriate for removing the bulbous toe.

This hoof was previously foundered a couple years before this picture was taken. Now it is an example of a heathy hoof that has natural concavity from frequent routine maintenance.


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