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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking for help on figuring out what is the best way to trim my horse (5 yr old QH), and help with getting her sound. I am looking for different peoples help/ideas and will looking for a good barefoot trimmer to come out.

I futuritied (barrel racing) her this past year and she came up sore at the last futurity. I have always had fronts on for summer and in her 3 yr old year she had sliders on the back and this last year she had rims on the front and regular shoes on the back.

I had a chiropractor come out who also does thermal imaging. She got pictures of the whole body and my mare definately needs some work done on her back end and spine, but she also has problems with her feet. If any one is interested in seeing those pictures just let me know. I would be able to add the full report tomorrow morning.

I am very seriously thinking about switching to strictly barefoot trimming and see if that will work in the long run. I have always shoed because either she was too sore to ride outside, or else I was running barrels and believed that she needed shoes for traction. The more I research barefoot trimming, the more I like the idea and can understand what the merits are to keeping the foot natural to the horse rather than putting shoes on.

Here are some pictures of her hooves from December 11th which was 2 1/2 weeks after a trim. Please let me know if these pictures are ok or if I should get different ones. The first 8 are her front left, next 7 are front right, 7 hind left, 7 hind right, and 4 body shots (body shots aren't that great, sorry).
 

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If you can find a GOOD barefoot trimmer who knows what they're doing, this would be THE best thing for your mare's feet. I see some things that she needs worked on, but on the whole, she has pretty nice feet.
Needless to say, I am a big advocate for barefoot horses. They are better off overall from top to bottom if you can keep them the way they were intended. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you can find a GOOD barefoot trimmer who knows what they're doing, this would be THE best thing for your mare's feet. I see some things that she needs worked on, but on the whole, she has pretty nice feet.
Needless to say, I am a big advocate for barefoot horses. They are better off overall from top to bottom if you can keep them the way they were intended. :)

Thanks. Someone reccomended one to me that I am going to look into.

I guess what I am looking for is for any of you that have experience with trimming, to let me know what you would fix/do with her feet. If they are good as they are right now, then I don't see why I wouldn't keep my current farrier and just keep her barefoot. But I am wondering if she might not be getting trimmed properly and that is why she is having problems.
 

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Her feet look nice and tough. The worst thing I see is under run heels, but I can't see that her toes look too long. The toes could come back a bit to where the outer hoof is the same width around the edge instead of thicker in the front. I think the underrun heels will take some time to get under control. If someone tries to fix them too quick, you'll end up with a horse who's hoof angles are lower than her pastern angle and that's a no-no.

If her feet are sore barefoot, she may need shoes for the kind of work she does.
 

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Thanks. Someone reccomended one to me that I am going to look into.

I guess what I am looking for is for any of you that have experience with trimming, to let me know what you would fix/do with her feet. If they are good as they are right now, then I don't see why I wouldn't keep my current farrier and just keep her barefoot. But I am wondering if she might not be getting trimmed properly and that is why she is having problems.
I'm not a pro by any means ( just wait for loosie! ) but here's my two cents for what their worth. I would not stay with the farrier unless he/she is also proficient in barefoot techniques. From these photos I would say they're probably not.

The heels are definitely underrun and the bars are laid over. There is no bevel ( mustang roll ) to the hoof wall, which is causing the chipping and the flaring of the quarters. Its almost like her hooves are being trimmed the same as they would be to receive a shoe, which is not the same as barefoot.

It looks as though the bottom 1/3-1/2 of the hoof wall has been rasped smooth, which I think is too much, but above that there seems there are very distinct event lines, which could be a sign of something bigger?

As her feet are corrected, she may become slighty more tenderfooted, but I wouldn't take that as a sign to slap shoes back on. Give her some time and if necessary use hoof boots.
 

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Those hooves show the ripples / event lines of diet issues usually caused by too much sugar in the diet or mineral imbalance. Hoof walls should be smooth and ripple free, high sugar or starch in the diet (from feed or grass) is directly related to footiness and soreness and is the fore runner to laminitis (but a long way down the line).

Get the diet right (which might mean a forage analysis to correct copper or zinc deficiency which is common in the UK, but I have no idea in the US) and the movement sufficeient and the horse will most likely be able to self trim and correct underrun heels etc. Trimmers can get a bit carried away and sometimes a good long road ride might be better than a visit from the trimmer. The hooves look potentially really nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I will find out where to send a sample of our hay and see what it comes back with. Right now (winter, with no work) she is getting half alfalfa hay half grass hay with free access to salt and minerals. But without knowing what the hay is testing at, there isn't a way to know if she is getting what she needs.

Makes sense what is being said about the under run heels. As for her feet being sore outside, she has all winter to get used to being barefoot before I start riding her in spring. Its funny but now with everything being totally frozen, she isn't sore on the hard ground or ice, but in summer the gravel or rocks are too much for her.
 

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Most regular farriers who just do a trim do what's called a flat (or pasture) trim. Basically they're trimming the hoof the same way as they would if they were going to go ahead and put a shoe back on. This means that there is little hoof wall in contact with the ground, so all the weight is on the sole of the foot with no support at all from the hoof wall.
It is important to find a farrier who is trained in actual barefoot trimming, as this is more involved than the regular flat trim that you are currently getting. You will definitely be able to see a difference. :)
 

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I will find out where to send a sample of our hay and see what it comes back with. Right now (winter, with no work) she is getting half alfalfa hay half grass hay with free access to salt and minerals. But without knowing what the hay is testing at, there isn't a way to know if she is getting what she needs.

Makes sense what is being said about the under run heels. As for her feet being sore outside, she has all winter to get used to being barefoot before I start riding her in spring. Its funny but now with everything being totally frozen, she isn't sore on the hard ground or ice, but in summer the gravel or rocks are too much for her.
My tb is sore in summer because of our grass and the sugars in it, but rock crunching in winter :) Alfalfa is strongly linked to footiness in some BF horses. This forum is very helpful on diet issues Phoenixhorse :: Index
 

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Im also for waiting for loosie or Trinity;-)
I see a typical farrier trim, flares, luckily he left most of the toe callus.
Get a good barefoot trimmer.
Equi-Analytical Laboratories - Profiling Feed for Better Nutrition does hay testing.
The ripples...could be a lot of things....imbalanced feet, feed changes, sometimes different hay or coming off grass, certain diseases, all cause these.
Adding zinc and copper is a good idea, depending on the hay analysis.
Pretty girl, looooove the green eyes;-)
 

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How long has this horse been out of shoes? How long were they on before being pulled? All summer?

Certainly have some quarter flaring that looks like this horse hasn't been out of shoes very long to me. I see brand new straight growth starting at the top of the quarters there. The ripples should be looked into. I dont see anything too alarming here but there is room for alot of improvement yet to come.

The trim is ok, needs tweaking IMO. Back feet: Toes need beveled back enough to stand the foot up a hair off the run under heels. Prob need to bevel close to the white line a time or two. Quarters need to be beveled stronger and/or dressed from the top to stop their pull on the heels. I usually dress flare from the top when its half way down the foot and only bevel and take just a har of flare from the tiop while its still high up the foot. The heels need drawn back and down to the widest part of the foot (clean out the heel triangle/bars up, dont let it build up and grow over there or you will get corns) to get them growing in straighter.

Fronts arent too bad but I see some imbalance there too. Since this trim is almost 3 weeks old tho, it could be from wear.


bottom line is she has some things that need to grow out to find optimum health for her feet. She may be sensitive while she recovers her foot health and depending on where she lives and works, she may still be sensitive. It depends. How does she live? Did she come up sore with shoes or without? If she is sensitive soled, Id dry her soles with a hair dryer for a minute and apply Durasole. Replete a couple times trhe first day and then do it every couple days and see how she feels in a week or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the links Clava and Desert, I will definitely look at them and try and learn as much as I can.

Desert, (your just jealous that your horse doesn't walk around with green eyes haha)

Trinity - she had her shoes pulled the second week of September and has been trimmed twice since then. I would like to have her trimmed every 4-5 weeks, but my farrier doesn't seem to have time and it ends up being more like 6-8 weeks. She got her shoes put on at the end of January. Normally what I do is keep her at home till January, then I board her where there is a nice indoor arena till March or April. Then she is at home all summer till January. This year, she won't be boarded at all as until she is totally healthy, I will not be riding her. Right now, as it is winter here, the ground is totally hard with about 2 inches of loose snow on top of packed snow.

Thanks for the detailed description. I am really trying to learn about trimming (though I will leave it for professionals) so that I can ask questions from the trimmer and actually understand what needs to be done.

When I originally put shoes on her (summer of 3yr old year) she was inside board at night and outside during the day. She had been ridden all winter/spring in an indoor arena with super nice ground. Looking back, she was likely sore because her feet weren't tough enough. As of right now, she is at home outside as previously mentioned and she is totally fine on the hard ground. I'm not too sure how she would be on more uneven/gravel right now, but I don't have to worry about that at the moment. I am totally fine with barefoot and from what I have read/researched, it is superior to having shoes on, but I am a little worried that if she is to tender to run barrels barefoot, I will have to put shoes on again in summer.
 

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Exactly what I thought. I can tell she was in shoes awhile from the flaring and starkly straight growth above it and only recently out of them. She does need to be trimmed more often IMO. She is already at a place where she should be touched up in another week and a half to two weeks in those photos.

the good news is, she looks like she is going to have an amazing foot when all that old stuff grows out. Nice upright walls and a healthy wide frog and back of the foot.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You may have said this already, but do you find that she had low heels? I have a problem where if I put on bell boots, they hit the ground every step and rub her raw. I would be of the opinion that her heels need to be a bit higher. Nothing drastic, but they seem too low to me.
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Her heels are under run. When the quarters flare outwards, it pulls the heels forward running them under. Low but upright heels are what you want. There is a difference.

Once she grows all this out, I think she is going to have good feet. If the ridges keep growing tho, you may need to tweak her diet or something. What is she eating?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
She is currently getting half grass hay and half alfalfa. When she is in training or competition she gets straight alfalfa. And always has minerals and salt. I'm looking at our alfalfa testing and it tested as follows. It is a NIR Analysis if that means anything. I'm going to contact the testing place and get them to test for zinc, copper and sugars.

25.1% crude protein, 1.8% calcium, .31% phosphorus, .41% magnesium, 1.89% potassium, .09% sodium.
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Discussion Starter #20
The grass hay is a nice green Timothy grass mix with 1 1/2 inch Timothy heads mold free and dust free. The alfalfa is pure alfalfa 175 relative feed value 25% protein again dust and mold free.
She is getting about 30 - 35 lbs. of the mix of alfalfa and grass per day.
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