Barefoot TWH

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Barefoot TWH

This is a discussion on Barefoot TWH within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    03-10-2014, 10:32 PM
Barefoot TWH

A lot of Walkers seem to be trimmed to have much longer toes than other breeds. I've seen some with hardly any heel at all. Nearly all are in some kind of shoe.

Since I keep mine barefoot, would there be any harm in working the shape of his hoof back to "normal" or does he need to have a longer toe because of his breed's anatomy?

The main reason I'm wanting to change the shape of his hooves is that, because of how long the toe is, they splay out and crack badly faster than I can keep him trimmed.

Assuming it's ok to trim him back to a normal shape, what's the right way to explain what I want to the farrier to make sure I'm saying what I mean?
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    03-10-2014, 10:36 PM
Im not sure if this is entirely true, but they do the same kind of trimming with dancing horses in india they make the feet sore by having The toes long. As a result the horse lifts their feet higher to produce a stepping action or in the case of the dancing horses in india it makes them dance their legs higher.
    03-11-2014, 01:47 AM
Well, I guess in basic terms I would ask that the "end result" of the trim be that which gives the individual horse the best hoof balance, not trimmed to a predetermined "look" or shape. The "best" toe length isn't a function of breed, it is only dependent on the needs of an individual horse's feet.
    03-11-2014, 01:27 PM
No, There is no problem. I've had my TWH for 9 years, and she's always had a more balanced trim with toes and heels brought back, but not overdone. And a nice roll to the edges.

Missy May is sooo right. I had to read what she said 3 times, it's such an important thing to remember.

I have gone back and forth with the theory of toes on my horse for a long time. What works best and healthiest for her and maintains a good gait. The long TWH toes are not needed. But they do need some toe. I generally take enough toe wall to match the thickness of the hoof wall on the rest of the hoof. I'll take a bit more if she's gone past her due date. Hoof angles are #1 on my list not to sacrifice. Leaving a bit of toe is not as detrimental to a TWH because where trotting horses breakover on 2 hooves at the same time, a TWH breaksover one hoof with the other 3 on the ground. Hope this helps
    03-11-2014, 05:01 PM
Sure you can. I timmed and shoed Walker used for trail riding and ranch work down in Arizon just the same as any other horse, they did fine.
    03-14-2014, 09:59 PM
No, there is no different 'breed anatomy'. The difference is due to humans wanting to exaggerate their gait & they've found that to allow the hooves to deform in that manner gives them more blue ribbons.

A hoof is a hoof(generally speaking of course) & it is damaging for them to have too long toes, high or crushed heels, etc, etc. Your farrier shouldn't have to be told to do - or how to do - a physiologically correct trim & if he doesn't understand this, I would strongly suspect his level of knowledge. Your horse's hooves are splitting & flaring because of inadequate trimming - they're trying to lose the excess.

Unfortunately, there are many very average farriers & trimmers around. Check out the ELPO site( for more info on hoof balance. For this as well as other reasons, I think it's vital for horse owners to do their own homework, learn the principles for themselves, so they can at very least, have a better idea of the 'experts' they employ.
    03-14-2014, 10:19 PM
My TWH has beaten other shod and heavy shod TWHs in the show ring with short toed, bare, perfect and natural feet ;) Many a stink eye we earned that day lol. Don't let those who use shortcuts and try to unnaturally accentuate gait influence what you can see is wrong and unhealthy.
loosie, Clava, verona1016 and 6 others like this.
    03-14-2014, 10:42 PM
Stink eye... hehehe!
    03-25-2014, 06:56 PM
I have a twh that I keep unshod. The reason I pulled his shoes was because the farrier left his toes long and his heels low. I have been keeping a mustange type roll on his toes and I keep his heels about 1/8". I am still a novice at trims so I let a professional trim him. For the first time he has beautiful hoof walls and walks in a heel first manner. Also, working with his feet seems to make him trust me more.
    03-26-2014, 05:35 PM
The reason they trim walkers like that (I worked as an apprentice farrier all through middle and high school) is to modify the horse's gait. It just changes the stride a little bit; it does not hurt them or cause them pain to leave the toe a LITTLE longer. There is such a thing as too much, I'm talking adjusting within an inch maybe two. When done in moderation, it is not harmful. It's a way to make their gait smoother since every one is different. Some are fine with no toe and some need just a little to keep them from having that rough/choppy gait, or pace - it just depends on how they move naturally :) It's very similar to how you modify they way you trim a horse with a club foot; you adjust to what best fits that particular horse to match his or her stride.

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