Natural barefoot trim vs. Reg bareft trim??
I just went back to my old farrier after a year of lost contact. He trimmed Thunder up nice and everything, but then I saw a gal who boards there and her horse had a beautiful natural barefoot trim as she called it where the hoof was rolled or smoothed around the edges. Thunder has nice hard feet. However the farrier said that he found a spot where he had an abscess that had popped and healed itself. I was like huh??? How did I miss that? how did he get that?? Anyway, Is there an advantage to the barefoot trim? Should I be looking for anything when my farrier trims as far as length of toe and heal? I know nothing about this, but just started getting concerned, with no valid reason, just that I don't want any future problems. Sorry I'm a little naive when it comes to feet.
Any horse can develop an abcess for pretty much any reason. There are some horses that are prone to develop them. For others, all it takes is a small piece of gravel that gets imbedded in the white line and works it's way up into the hoof. An abcess will form around it and usually bust at the coronet band at the hairline. He could have had a stone bruise or stepped on something sharp. Some horses never show signs that they have an abcess. :) Tricksy little devils. I am far from being an expert on angles and length and all that. I do know that the front of the hoof should be at the same angle as the pastern (usually) to make a straight line from the fetlock to the ground. I am sure that Thunder will do fine with your regular farrier. Do you have him in shoes right now? So long as it is done properly, a lifetime of shoes really shouldn't affect him badly. But if you are interested in trying a barefoot trim, go ahead. It can't hurt anything. :) Plus, bare feet are much less slick going across roads. ;p
If your horse does fine with a regular trim, then there's no reason to change.
If your horse develops cracks, chips, is tender on rocks, is a bit short strided, or has any other hoof issues, then having some natural barefoot work might benefit him.
I'd just see how he does for a few trims with your old farrier. If you feel there's room for improvement, call the other gal's natural barefoot trimmer and see what they can do for your horse.
A good balanced trim is a good trim - no matter if it is barefoot or "regular". I was certified as a barefoot trimmer and you can't tell the difference between my trim and the journeyman farrier that my vet uses because we both use the same concepts and markers on the hoof wall to get balance and a comfortable horse. He even does a light roll around the hoof wall which helps prevent chipping.
The problem comes in with some farriers who try to trim the hoof just like they were going to shoe it or they make the other mistake of leaving the hoof wall too long which leads to chipping and cracking very quickly.
Cat is lucky to know a farrier that does a barefoot trim. It seems that the farriers in my area do "pasture" trims, which is essentially the shoe trim without the shoe. This trim leaves the wall too long, and trims out too much sole, which usually hinders the development of complete barefoot soundness.
I'm a little old fashioned and for all the talk and worry over various details, methods, and opinions about barefoot trims, I always remember one of the things that our original old English farrier stressed when he taught me to trim....If the feet are healthy and the horse is comfortable doing his job, you've accomplished your goal.
The two main things I have seen with ordinary farriers that are used to just slapping on shoes is that they still want to pare away sole. For some unknown reason, they think a nice shiny white sole that has had a 'cup' scooped out of it looks nice. Never mind that now half or more of the sole that WAS between the horse's sensitive inner hoof and the ground is now missing. I think of it like taking a file and thinning a person's sole by removing all the callouses and half of the skin and then sending them out to walk to town barefoot. The bottom of their feet might be soft and pretty, but they will NOT function without shoes.
Every bit of the sole that is not dead and flakes off with a wire brush SHOULD BE LEFT THERE!
Then, the second thing you see are a lot of hooves that are rounded up completely from the 'top'. If you set a horse's hoof up on a stand and rasp off the sharp edge of the hoof, you sort of 'round up' the edge but you mostly just thin the wall.
What is much more effective is if the hoof edge is rounded entirely from the bottom. If it is rounded from the white line toward the outer wall but done only from the bottom, the hoof edge is rolled just like a barefoot horse with good feet does if he lives in the rocks. It is frequently called a 'mustang roll' because that is exactly how a mustang's feet are shaped right after they are brought in off of the rocky desert.
I do natural . Better for the hoofs.
The natural trim or barefoot trim mimics how the hoof would be shaped if the horse were moving in a natural environment. In other words, it takes off what nature would, and leave what nature would. The sole is NEVER cut out except in the very rare event of a deep false sole. The mustang role is so, so, beneficial in that it prevents chipping AND stops the leverage action from flares that can weaken the laminae. I have turned around a severe navicular horse who now 10 years later does E-team, 4-H, CMO's and Extreme Cowboy races. I have 2 OTTB's who have been barefoot since their rescue and doing great. Do as much natural as possible. Mother nature knows more than we humans think we do.
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