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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So the farrier came today. I told him about Moonshine’s thin soles but he trimmed them anyways. He says he doesn’t trust XRays. I asked him why he was trimming sole and he said it was because he wants her to be putting weight on her frog and hoof walls, not her sole. So, in order to make the frog longer relative to the ground, it seems that he needs to trim the sole. He says that you will get thicker soles if you create a concavity in the hoof, and you create that concavity by standing them up on the frog. Something doesn’t seem quite right about that, but I can’t put my finger on it.

He also said that he doesn’t worry about breakover if the frog is taking most of the weight, because then the breakover is in the frog, and [he didn’t say this part but I’m extrapolating] since the frog is consistent relative to the coffin bone, if the breakover is happening there then that should be correct.

He trims the heels down to where they are exactly the same height as the frog, and then balances the rest of the hoof from there.

He dubbed Moonshine’s toes, which is what everyone said needed to be done, so that was good. But the rest of it … I’m not too sure about. What do you guys think?
 

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It’s hard to say without seeing the hoof. Not “trusting” xrays seems odd.

You don’t want too much sole pressure. I’ve seen horses with what is referred to as a callus of sole at the toe but most are pared back just enough to not have full weight on the sole.
There are exceptions to pretty much every “rule” because horses are living individuals and sticking to what works for most will lame another but aiming for the heels to be trimmed to the widest point of the frog is standard.
If the toe is dubbed that does affect the breakover and should start to correct any stretching in the white line.
Getting the hoof at an angle that matches her conformation and pastern angles will steadily grow a better hoof shape and possibly better sole/soundness.

Again, all said without seeing her. Did she stay sound after her trim? Do you like his work on other horses? Those things may help settle your mind.

You can also look into before and after pictures of trims and see what was done, many explain why different steps were taken as well. It might make your farrier’s work make sense or you may see something that helps you decide to switch to a new farrier.
It’s certainly not good to worry (or wait until something is very wrong).
 

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Ugh, no! Time for a new farrier.
Xrays are the most accurate diagnostic short of a MRI. To have a farrier disregard science...how can you trust that?

The hoof is meant to share weight between the sole, walls, frog. That is why you don't let the walls grow too long to create peripheral loading. Very rarely the frog may need a touch of trimming. But the soles never need trimming to prevent weight bearing. If the soles are higher than the walls, it is either because you have trimmed the wall too short, or because there is some very dead sole ready to flake out.

Some horses have very diseased and atrophied frogs.
If you trimmed the sole down to make the frog weight bearing you would thin the sole excesssively. Our goal is always to grow in thicker soles excepting the case of a club hoof at times.

Many horses with thin soles and stretched toes bear weight on the frog. That does not fix their breakover problem. It is bringing the toes back that does. The farrier is trimming based on bad principles.

One place that the sole should never be trimmed is just on front of the frog.
 

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I NEVER trim my horses soles. As in never! I may use a wire brush and flake off the white flaky stuff - but to use my hoof knife on the sole - I have never done it. Probably never will. All of our horses are barefoot - even the one that was previously foundered. She rockets around the pasture just fine. Sole depth cannot/should not be shaved away unless he is 100% sure that it will shed anyway. And since you ride in an arena I assume the footing is sandy or abbrasive there should be no need for sole trimming IMO
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Yeah I really didn't like that either. I've gotten to where I'll pop it out if there's a chunk I can get my hoof pick under, and in one case I trimmed a tiny bit back so I could see where the sole plane was, but yeah I am also in the camp of letting it grow. It seems like it boils down to, he's trimming the sole so the sole will grow. Why not just leave the sole and let it build?

I guess I start doubting myself because I've been going through a lot of trimmers lately. Well, not a lot. This guy for the past three trims, another lady for the three or four trims before that, and then my old trimmer who moved; I had her for a year. This guy has been really willing to help me learn to trim, which I appreciate, but I was kind of leery of what he was saying even before this. And him trimming Moonshine like that when I told him her soles were thin (and the reason I had the XRays done in the first place was that I was pretty sure her soles were thin just looking at the collateral grooves, so you'd think he would have seen that as well) may have been the last straw. She seemed OK afterwards, but I'm expecting to see her sore on rocks again next time I go out there. I've been stewing over this since yesterday now, and I'm just getting hotter and hotter about it.
 

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Somehow missed this thread earlier...

I told him about Moonshine’s thin soles but he trimmed them anyways. He says he doesn’t trust XRays.
That is not just a 'red flag' but a bloody great gong! He doesn't 'trust' x-rays?? So... he didn't believe her soles were thin & the rads 'lied'? Or did he not care that they were already too thin??

I asked him why he was trimming sole and he said it was because he wants her to be putting weight on her frog and hoof walls, not her sole. So, in order to make the frog longer relative to the ground, it seems that he needs to trim the sole. He says that you will get thicker soles if you create a concavity in the hoof, and you create that concavity by standing them up on the frog.
Firstly, I do believe I've explained many times, why peripheral loading of hooves is not good, and excess pressure on hoof walls, among other things, THINS the sole. I'm pretty sure I've also explained, 'if you don't use it, you lose it', which in this case means if the soles are removed from 'use' they will not get thicker. But 'catch 22' if they were already thin AND he pared them further, as she will be too tender to 'use' them comfortably for some time. Using softly padded boots should help though.

He also said that he doesn’t worry about breakover if the frog is taking most of the weight, because then the breakover is in the frog,
That's a very... curious comment. I can't understand, if he has any concept of 'breakover' at all, how he could believe that, unless the frog is substantially 'taller' than the front of the foot(& would then be solely supporting the horse's entire weight). I don't recall your horse's feet being anything like that... strange.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, a lot of this was strange to me, too.

What gets me is how many farriers I'm going through right now. Are my standards too high? Are there so few good trimmers?

I'm going to give them all a little trim this week or early next week. Then I'm going to get in touch with yet another new guy...
 
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It is tough to find a good farrier. I've had a couple good ones and went through a bunch of bad ones. If we move (as we hope to do), I may take over the trimming job. Unless I luck out and find someone good. FWIW, I've only had one guy who trimmed the sole. I tried a second visit, then looked for another farrier.
 

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I second what bsms said about there being fewer good ones than bad ones. The more you learn about how a proper trim should be done, the higher your standards become...it's not a bad thing, but perhaps a bit frustrating. I've also gone through several farriers, felt quite picky, and perhaps the farriers now see me as a neurotic nutcase :LOL:, so it's not just you. I finally found my current trimmer, who takes their time, does a decent trim, is attentive to my horses, and is ever so helpful by keeping me up to date with new information, even nutrition! You will eventually find a good one, just keep looking.
 

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^Yeah, abundance of crap farriers, few good ones, which is why many of us started trimming our own in the first place. You don't think I was silly enough to WANT to be a farrier from the get-go do you??
 
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