Interested in opinions...
As per the "barefoot performance horses" thread I do very little to my horses feet, they run on 20 rocky acres. I just tidy up with a file every now and then.
Watched my friends farrier trim sole off yesterday. My friend says this is necessary to keep weight on the hoof wall not the sole. Is this usually necessary if horses are "self trimming' ?
Trimming sole for that reason doesn't depend on what the horse lives/works on really. That depends on whether you're one of those who believes that the horse should be peripherally loaded - that is, the walls should take the entire load & the bottom of the hoof shouldn't be on the ground. (Because it's 'intuitively obvious' that God/Mother Nature didn't want the bottom of the foot to be involved in protection or support...:think: <TIC>)
Generally speaking, in my(non-peripheral-loading) opinion, sole shouldn't *routinely* be trimmed at all, but if the horse doesn't have the lifestyle or environment to keep hooves in good shape, exfoliating naturally, it is sometimes necessary. Generally though, I think it's best to leave as much 'armour plating' as possible if it's not getting in the way.
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When I was in farrier school we were taught to trim the sole until it went from the hard flaky soapy texture to when you can feel it get softer when you dig your thumb nail into it. This was done to make the white line and water line visible so it could be used as a guide for the trim.
I personally don't do this but I see a lot of farriers use the above technique. I believe the sole should be cut sparingly and it is the build up of a callous (for lack of a better terms) along with proper trims ie balance that keeps a horse from getting tender. I also agree with the above poster that the walls bearing all the weight if the sole isn't touching the ground doesn't make much sense. Especially when you look at how the mechanics of a mustang hoof work.
I believe but I could be mistaken that another reason why they cut down the sole so far is to relieve sole pressure when the shoe is tacked on. So for a horse that is supposed to go barefoot the sole needs to be left alone. But relieving sole pressure in a shod hoof is important for that method to work effectively. I am now a huge barefoot advocate even though I was under the impression that horses needed shoes before during and after showing school. But I understand their are different ideas and techniques which work well for different people and horses!
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ThankYou for those replies, very interesting...
I'm just trying to do the right thing by my horses and it seems that luckily our very rocky (and hilly) twenty acres is doing a great job for me.
I didnt want to argue with my friend and the farrier but yeah, I think I'll be leaving their soles alone.
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