Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: SF Bay Area, California
• Horses: 0
In my experience, barefoot horses have much more traction than shod horses. I have heard that special boots are used to reduce traction for barefoot horses that are competing with sliding stops.
Looking at the photos of your mares feet, you can see that about 1/2" down from the coronet, the angle of the wall changes. When the horse is completely transitioned, you will not see this change in angle. During transitioning, the angle will appear to move down the hoof wall. It looks very odd when this angle change gets close to the bottom of the hoof, almost like the hoof is wearing a visor. Don't worry, the wall will be straight in another trim or two.
Another thing that you can see on these hooves is the ripples . . . but my comment is more on way the ripples are lined up, rather than the nutritional implications. You can clearly see on the right hind how the ripples make a very strong curve, following the underrun heels. As your horse is transitioned, these will straighten out.
Keep in mind that the sole of the foot is skin. Just as your hands become calloused from handling tools, the sole gets thick callouses from being in contact with the ground. If your hoof care person keeps removing this callous, it is going to keep the feet sensitive.
The correctly trimmed barefoot horse will have a slight arch at the quarters. Notice how many horses' hooves are breaking at the quarters? The hoof is trying to accomplish this arch on its own. The edge of the hoof should be rolled so that the rim contacts near the white line--not flat from white line to outer wall. The roll keeps the hoof from chipping. If the hoof is rolled and it still chips, it is probably too long. Chipping usually means that the hoof is trying to get shorter because it *needs* to be shorter.
Many barefoot practitioners recommend putting pea gravel around the watering trough and other areas where the horses walk frequently, to inspire callousing. But don't do what one gal tried and put gravel in your horse's boots! That is just torture!!
Another thing to keep in mind is that even if you have a perfect trimmer, your horse's feet are likely to reach a level of conditioning that allow it to be comfortable on the surface it is on all the time. If your horse lives in a stall on shavings or on soft pasture, it may not ever develop barefoot soundness on all surfaces. If your horse lives on rocky ground, you may not EVER need trims, and your horse may 'condition itself' to 100% barefoot soundness.
Your mare appears to be an excellent candidate for complete barefoot soundness. Keep studying, talk with other people in your discipline whose horse's feet look great and who run their horses barefoot.