What is the difference between a barefoot trim & a farrier trim? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 06-19-2010, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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What is the difference between a barefoot trim & a farrier trim?

I've been told 2 different things.
I've heard that there really is no difference & 2 farriers have told me that the trim they do isn't a barefoot trim.
Other than the mustang roll, what is the difference between a barefoot trim and a trim a farrier would do for a horse not wearing shoes.

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Last edited by flytobecat; 06-19-2010 at 04:47 AM.
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post #2 of 21 Old 06-19-2010, 05:04 AM
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IMO there should be nothing different between a barefoot trim and a regular trim. I think a horses hoof should look the same regardless if it is shod or not. I don't believe in all the "barefoot" stuff that they tout now, but I also don't believe in shoeing horses unless absolutely necessary.

Cripes when we were kids our horses were barefoot because no one had the money to have horses shod. They always were just trimmed and given a pasture roll (now its a mustang roll) to increase breakover and keep the edge of the hoof neat.

I don't necessarily agree with shortening the hoof to the degree that some barefoot people do in the quest to make it look like a mustangs hoof. A mustang travels a LOT more than our pampered pets does, just to find food and water. Its not that their foot is tougher because it is short, its just tougher because they walk on shale, rocks, gravel and has to be hard and tough or the horse is dead. They are shorter because they do get worn down on this terrain. Not many people have this terrain in their backyard!

Spent a whole hour today laying in a pasture, waiting for a sparkling vampire to show up. Alas, I woke up and looked over, only to find a mound of horse crap. Sigh.
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post #3 of 21 Old 06-19-2010, 01:11 PM
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I don't know everything about a farrier trim but here's a few that I do know. Erm, maybe I should say, what I think I know. My knowledge is barefoot.

It seems to me that a farrier trim doesn't take into account heel height to stimulate the frog. They also don't take into account for any toe flaring and address the breakover point or a thick lamellar wedge to bring the hoof back to a normal hoof. Instead it seems that if there's a lamellar wedge/long toe then it's common practice to, "stand the horse up". There's no knowledge of the collateral grooves and what that knowledge will do for you when trimming. The farrier trim removes sole area to force a concave sole even though it's thinning the sole material.

To me it seems that a farrier trim doesn't consider the position of the coffin bone and trim accordingly. Nor does it try to generate heel first landings and develop a nice thick frog. Also it seems that a farrier trim removes large chunks of the frog, and try to keep the frog from contacting the ground.

The farrier trims I've seen, seem to try and grow out long heels to address a long toe which continues to push the frog from the ground. "standing the horse up"

Hopefully someone that does a regular farrier trim can comment cus I don't know much about em. Just what I've seen done seems that there's not much about a farrier trim that tries to create normal hoof function. It also seems to lack knowledge to generate that proper hoof function.

I visited a website of a farrier with like 30 years experience and was reading around through all the articles and stuff. In one article he was explaining how the bones should form a straight line with the front of the hoof wall. But all that was doing was growing out long heels and forcing the coffin bone into a rotated position. And in another he was saying that the frog is passive and shouldn't be contacting the ground.

But again I don't know the farrier trim that well. Just from what I've seen done in person and the little I've read from the internet.

In a nutshell a barefoot trim creates a hoof with proper function. It addresses rotated coffin bones, contracted heels, generating heel first landings with proper frog contact to the ground. It teaches to read the sole plane to understand the sole thickness under the coffin bone and what position the coffin bone is in. It addresses long toes with thick lamellar wedges by bringing breakover to where it should be. It teaches how to grow in well connected hoof walls. How to grow out wall cracks. How to get nice long strides with heel first landings. How to grow a nice concave sole instead of forcing it with a knife. Following Pete Ramey's methods teaches to allow the hoof the time it needs to grow in a proper hoof with a well connected wall and not to force it.

Basically it seems that farrier trim is knowledge on how to trim a hoof to accept shoes. And a barefoot trim is knowledge on how to generate proper hoof function by being barefoot like a wild horse.

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Last edited by totalfreedom; 06-19-2010 at 01:15 PM.
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post #4 of 21 Old 06-19-2010, 06:12 PM
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In my opinnion the trims should be considered the same.
The steel should be to protect the hoof against harsh and rugged enviroment
not to form long toes or any flares all flares should be removed before nailing
any shoes on.
My practice is to shoe with a short heel and short toe.
Let the frog be your guide where to start your trim as the frog is the foundation of the foot.
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post #5 of 21 Old 06-19-2010, 06:31 PM
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I think that any bad things about a "farrier" trim that people tout are just ignorant people pretending to be farriers.

A good horse professional - farrier or trimmer or whatever they want to be called -- cares about the horse, their balance their posture their heels and their everything. If a farrier doesn't know/care enough about the horse to not know/care about their entire body and foot then they shouldn't be taking anyone's money to tend to their horse! Honestly I think that negative stereotype makes absolutely no sense. The people trying to spread the idea that farriers as a general rule who apply shoes don't know/care about a horse and how their feet function is absurd. Maybe really lousy awful ones but no, not a a rule.

Like some other people have said, there should be no difference if the person is any good.
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Last edited by Deerly; 06-19-2010 at 06:33 PM.
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post #6 of 21 Old 06-19-2010, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Deerly View Post
A good horse professional - farrier or trimmer or whatever they want to be called -- cares about the horse, their balance their posture their heels and their everything. If a farrier doesn't know/care enough about the horse to not know/care about their entire body and foot then they shouldn't be taking anyone's money to tend to their horse!
I agree completely. Our old English farrier who convinced me and taught me to trim our mares myself was shoeing horses and doing barefoot trims before I was born (and I'm not young). In this area, if your horse had a foot or leg problem, you called him before thinking of calling a vet, and he would come and look at your horse without charging anything. He was still shoeing and trimming until shortly before he passed away at the age of 74. He was a wonderful man and horse lover, and to be honest, considering the years he had to work as an apprentice and his experience, felt it was too easy these days for someone to call themselves a farrier.

Talk about experience....this man was not only a farrier, but a professional horse person and trainer whom we all trusted without question. You don't find them like this anymore. I was lucky to be able to learn from him. From his obit (with names removed)..

He was born in 1931, in County Durham, England, He served an apprenticeship for Farriery and became an expert farrier. His work was interrupted to serve two years in the Royal Army Corp. During his service, he was selected to participate in the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation. During the ceremony, he was in charge of Winston Churchillís Coach Horses. After his discharge from the service, he continued shoeing in Royston, England. While there, he trained the 1951 English Derby winner. Later, he moved back north and while there the stable became the first to train over 100 Steeplechase winners in one season.
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post #7 of 21 Old 06-19-2010, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by deerly View Post
i think that any bad things about a "farrier" trim that people tout are just ignorant people pretending to be farriers.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #8 of 21 Old 06-20-2010, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. I have seen shod horse with really high heels, so I know what Totalfreedom is talking about.
That said, I'm sure there are bad trimmers just like there are bad farriers.
The trims I've seen done by farriers I respect, look to me like barefoot trims except they don't do the mustang roll. I didn't know if maybe there was something going on that I wasn't seeing which made them different.

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post #9 of 21 Old 06-20-2010, 07:59 AM
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There shouldn't be any difference my farrier rolls my horses feet just not quiet as drastic as most barefooters do...

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post #10 of 21 Old 06-20-2010, 03:16 PM
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Lots of great replies

As has already been stated, in general, there should not be any difference but not all shoers are created equal and neither are barefoot trimmers.

Back when I was hard trail riding and a couple of my guys wore shoes, the main difference I saw between my shoer trimming "for pasture" was he would pare off way too much sole and trim way too much frog. I couldn't have ridden anyone barefoot until nearly the next trim time if I'd wanted to. No one was sore but they would have been if I'd tried to ride them on the road.

When a horse is barefoot, none of the soul or frog should come off, unless they are ready to shed and need some help to speed the shedding process along.

Rolling the toe has been around for eons, as someone else commented. It is how my granddad taught me back in the 60's.

"Pulling the toes back" is something that should only be done by a very knowledgeable trimmer and only under certain circumstances. One of my four horses wears a really agressive roll on his front toes and he does need it.

I have trimmed my horses off and on all my life and it is not something I would have ever tried, but this horse now hits a lick at liberty that is pure delight to watch.

I continue to be amazed at the many horse ownerson these forums who don't have a clue what is going on with their horses hooves. They act shocked when the farrier mentions "whiteline, bruised sole or wall separation thrush, fungal issues", and wonder what each looks like

"no hoof no horse" is certainly the truth. While horses need brushed and shined, learn about the hooves and spend less time brushing and examine the hooves part of that time instead.

Every person that owns a horse (or several) OWES IT to each of those horses to have your nose down in those hooves to understand how each hoof on each horse looks and functions. Especially when the shoer or trimmer is there. There is no excuse for not learning - teach the horse to stand without holding it so you can observe and ask INTELLIGENT questions.

Sorry, got off the subject a little, but somehow this seemed like the opportunity to speak up
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