rasping the hoof wall? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 10-10-2019, 06:47 AM Thread Starter
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rasping the hoof wall?

I have a new trimmer doing Kodak's hooves with great results so far. She is much less reactive, and has stopped her sudden foot plants. So I asked her to go at Harley as well. He has some pretty significant flares. My previous trimmer used to say that the flares were nothing to worry about, but Harley had really long toes and was walking on his heel bulbs. The new trimmer (applied equine podiatrist) took off a lot of toe. To do so, she rasped his hoof wall. I did some reading, and found that some feel that's ok, but others avoid doing that so the protective coating wall can shield the hoof. What do the HF gurus say? Harley seems fine, though his hooves do look pretty different. They used to be quite wide, but are now a little more "dainty" as my daughter says. She rode him last night on a quiet trail ride and he seemed lighter on his feet. When his feet get too long (which used to be at the four week mark with the previous trimming style), he used to trip, but this was different, like he wasn't used to having short hooves. He wasn't sore or anything though. New trimmer claims he is now balanced, though of course she said it will take some time to get his hooves to where they should be. I have a feeling my old trimmer would be mortified if she saw this though. She feels a wider hoof is better.
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post #2 of 26 Old 10-10-2019, 07:22 AM
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A wider hoof is good, if it means the horse had a contracted hoof that has now spread out, making it larger. If a horse has naturally smaller hooves, making them wider by allowing long and flared growth will make them less healthy. So wider is only good if it is accompanied by a tight white line, no stretching, a widened frog and no flares.

I am guessing your new hoof trimmer is doing a better job. A horse should not have enough excess hoof wall after 4 weeks to be tripping.

My opinion is that rasping the outer wall is just fine if it is only done to the very lower part of the hoof wall, which is the part that affects breakover anyway. Anything higher up will not help the horse, since you have to wait for higher flares to grow down anyway before they affect the hoof, and you can address them then. But thinning the wall higher up can make the hoof wall less strong and supportive, and weaken the hoof.

For the lower part of the wall that is flared, in my opinion you can either: rasp it from the outside, rasp it from underneath (which also removes it, but some people seem to feel this is a better way), or trim it off with nippers. Regardless, if the flared part of the hoof is affecting the breakover of the hoof (either forward breakover at the toe, or sideways when the horse moves laterally), it will help the horse's movement if it comes off. Horses learn to compensate for flares and delayed breakover, so will definitely move differently when things are improved. Sometimes this can even make them a little sore - not hoof sore but some muscle soreness from moving differently.

Some hooves have wide flare that goes too high up to just remove it all or else the horse would be walking on the sole. In that case, it is better to just keep it trimmed at ground level until it grows down tighter.

I have seen horses with significant flare left on after laminitis that were left that way while the diet was changed and more exercise given, and the hoof did grow in tighter even without having the flare removed. Still, I think because it affects the horse's movement and can cause other musculoskeletal issues from compensating, plus the flares can be painful when the laminae are forced apart as the horse moves, it is much more ideal to trim it off.
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post #3 of 26 Old 10-10-2019, 07:26 AM
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1. Wider feet aren't better if the farrier/trimmer is the one making them wider by leaving flares:). Wider is only better when the horse is born that way and flaring is not involved.

2. Now that the entire hoof story has been told, the previous trimmer can just go ahead and have six kinds of hissy fits because she was wrong:)

Long toes are a huge no-no, regardless who the horse is, or what it's job is. Once those stretched toes get back to where they should be, you will also see the frog "shrink" back from the toe and thrush should disappear, if Harley is fighting thrush.

The frog should only extend 2/3 of the way from the heel bulbs toward the toes. If it's lurking closer to the toe than that, there is trouble lurking, somewhere in the hoof.

3. IMO, Rasping the hoof wall is perfectly fine, when needed, provided the hoof has plenty of thickness, provided the farrier absolutely knows what they are doing. Which your new equine podiatrist knows.

If she is rasping the toes back, she is either trying to change his break over, file out toe cracks, or both:)

Yes to a gradual return to a normal hoof. The hoof did not stretch over night, it cannot be brought back to normal in one fell swoop either:)

3.1. Rusty never gets his walls filed down in the sense I think you are referring to.

Joker, my foundered horse, does. Joker has always had enough wall thickness to provide for two horses. He gets his walls filed more severe than some people would agree with but it works for him. jokers toes get pulled back more severely than a healthy hoof would. He also lives with a permanent hoof scarring from being run thru a barbed wire fence as a five year old. He's now 24, the scar is a vertical ridge running the full length of one hoof.

I keep Keretex on hand and I will dress his hooves with Keretex as a protectant. Durasole is also good to use.

Keretex cannot get on the fleshy parts of the hooves, I don't know about Durasole.

I'm sure you will get more pro & con comments but my opinion is if Harley is doing so much better with the podiatrist working on him, leave well enough alone, until you see the method isn't working anymore:)

Last edited by walkinthewalk; 10-10-2019 at 07:37 AM.
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post #4 of 26 Old 10-10-2019, 10:32 AM
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Rasping the lower part is acceptable to me but if the entire hoof is being rasped then I'm not comfortable with that. I'd want to know the reason and what they feel the horse will gain and then show or point me in the direction of research that backs it.
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post #5 of 26 Old 10-10-2019, 11:51 AM
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Rasping as part of a trim, especially if it's a big change like taking the toes back significantly, is necessary and not cause for alarm. What bothers me are the trimmers who rasp off the entire surface of the hoof wall all the way around to make it 'pretty.' It used to be common among show horse farriers, and these folks put on hoof polish and sanded it off regularly anyway...
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post #6 of 26 Old 10-11-2019, 05:45 AM
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@Acadianartist I just popped over to hoof care to start a thread on exactly the same thing.

Situation with my horses is that trimmers have been leaving my horses toes way too long. About a year ago or maybe a little less, I started doing them myself. Laela's feet were getting in pretty bad shape with wall separation. Novia's feet were starting to contract at the heel. Stars feet have always had long toes and low heel.

I feel that I was starting to get their feet going in the right direction but getting tired and also not 100% confident about what I was doing.

In comes a new trimmer that the B/O hired after finally firing the one that I wouldn't let touch my horses feet with a ten foot pole after the first time. I like this new one. She's really nice, answers questions without feeling that you are questioning her. I like to ask questions and it seems that most people feel that you are questioning them personally.

She did rasp both Laela's and Novia's feet from the top about halfway up. Laela had flaring, Novia did not. It seems to me that it would be weakening the wall so I asked her the reasoning why she chose to do it that way and the answer that I got was "because that is the way that she does it" She also stated that other people may choose to do it another way, which is fine too, but never gave me an answer that would explain why she thinks that rasping the outside of the hoof wall is better. So, here I am asking that exact question.

What does rasping the outside of the hoof wall do other than thinning it? If it does do something other than that, how much can it be done before it's detrimental to the horse?
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post #7 of 26 Old 10-11-2019, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by LoriF View Post
What does rasping the outside of the hoof wall do other than thinning it? If it does do something other than that, how much can it be done before it's detrimental to the horse?
The answer from my personal experience and as I commented above, is to make corrections. Either to change the break over or to file down serious hoof cracks.

Of all my horses over a lifetime, the only one to have serious filing on his hoof wall is Joker, my foundered horse.

More than one vet and more than one farrier have commented on how much wall he has, so they don't get too upset when they aggressively pull his toes back. It has never lamed him, to the contrary, he walks better.

Also, as I alluded to above, I keep Keretex on hand to paint his hooves for a week or so, after a fresh trim. Durasole also works well.

there are times when something outside the normal box is the right thing to do and there are times when it is best to stick to the "if it works don't fix it" principle <---- although long toes should never be allowed, regardless how long the horse has lived with them:)

This is where it's up to each horse owner to research and understand the mechanics of every horse they own, since every horse is different ---- and can change with age or the onset of a disease:)
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post #8 of 26 Old 10-11-2019, 07:58 AM
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I just want some clarity with this Walkin. You are saying that the entire wall is filed not just the point where the hoof meets the ground and the toes are brought back. Correct? I've had one with a thickened wall but the rasping was from the bottom to about halfway up after the toe was shortened not the complete hoof.
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post #9 of 26 Old 10-11-2019, 08:14 AM
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I've read that it's okay (within reason, of course) to rasp the surface as long as you're not rasping off the periople (the cuticle) as it protects the new growth.

One general rule I read as 1/3, 1/3. Rasp up to a third of the way up the wall if you have to, rasp up to a third of the thickness if you have to. But I'm sure there are exceptions where it makes sense to do more.
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post #10 of 26 Old 10-11-2019, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all! Have been crazy busy with work this week, but was looking forward to reading the replies to this thread!

So I am somewhat reassured, though I hope she will not keep rasping too much of the hoof wall as she moves into more of maintenance trim. With Kodak, she didn't take a lot off, but since Harley had quite a long flare both on the toe, and laterally (only on fronts), she probably rasped about halfway up. It was a little more than I expected. However, she did show me, from the bottom, how he has a very thick hoof wall (the part between the white line and the exterior is quite thick), so hopefully that's why she felt it was acceptable. He is not sore now, if anything, he seems lighter on his feet.

Because he has white hooves, she also showed me how he had a lot of bruising on the lower part of the front of both front hooves which became more apparent as she rasped a bit off the hoof wall. Lots of pink spots. She suggested this was probably because his toes were too long, and the bruising was from the pressure of the hoof wall being pushed up - like a fingernail getting bent backwards. There are no rocks in the pasture, nowhere he might be hitting his hooves so it makes sense, but I don't know enough to know whether this is accurate (so please tell me if it's BS). She would like to see him walking less on his heels, and believes his soreness in the hind end might not even be due to arthritis at all. She thinks that he may have sore heels from walking on the balls of his heel (you can see where they're worn, and it doesn't look comfortable). She also thinks that the exaggerated angle of his hoof may be causing him some muscular issues in the back end, making it difficult for him to collect comfortably. It's not the first time someone has remarked on this. Even after fresh trims, people used to tell me all the time that his hooves were long. And when the vet did the X-rays on his hocks, she mentioned that it would be better for his toes to be brought back somewhat so the angle wasn't so exaggerated, which would put less pressure on his hock.

This equine podiatrist she does not claim to be able to cure him of anything, however, she feels he could be moving a lot more comfortably with a better trim. Thing is, his hocks are fused, so it's possible the issue in his back end isn't so much arthritis (I'm told it's less painful once the joint is fused), but rather muscular due to mechanical issues related to the angle of the pastern / hoof. I don't dare to hope too much, but if this were the case, and if we could make him more comfortable in the back end, it's possible he could have many more years competing, and my daughter would be over the moon!

On a different note, Kodak is continuing to move much better, and she is far calmer than I've ever seen her in the entire time I've owned her! I think the better movement is due to the trimming, but the calmer demeanor may well be due to the photonic therapy that this same person is doing with her (she's also started it with Harley). I was skeptical, but figured it wouldn't hurt Kodak to try something else, however, I have to say I'm a little blown away by the results so far. Now to see if it will last... but if we can get even small improvements in Harley, I'd be so happy! She is even coming tomorrow to do a pre-event photonic therapy session with Harley since he is going to a two-day year-end championship show Sunday and Monday AND she's not charging me for it! She just wants him feeling his best and perform well. I think she's also thinking that if she can improve my horses, word will get out in the horse community that she is very effective (she just moved back here and is trying to launch a business). Nonetheless, I will put together a bag of goodies for her from our garden to thank her.

And I know... I should have taken before and after pics. I have some hoof pictures of Harley somewhere, so they could serve as the before, and I'll try to take pics of him sometime today - though again, I'm a little overwhelmed with work and another show coming up.
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