Being barefoot allows the hoof full expansion and flexion, especially in the back of the foot, which improves shock absorption, circulation and traction. But many horses benefit from some protection on their feet—be it for therapeutic or situational reasons (transitioning from shoes or dealing with unfamiliar terrain on trail rides). With the advancement of hoof boots and hoof casting, there are now options other than steel shoes to provide that protection.
My Trimming Principles
I do not always follow a formula. I believe that a trim is as individual as each foot. Although I believe there are ideal ratios to strive for, it may take several trims to achieve that goal.
Do less rather than more.
I practice non-invasive trimming, taking away only what’s appropriate to achieve balance.
Leave the horse what’s his. I’m referring primarily to the frog and sole. I will trim the frog in a way to keep it clear of debris and make it a non-fungus-friendly environment. Otherwise, I’ll leave as much frog as I can. The same is true of the sole. A barefoot horse needs as much protection for the sensitive structures and coffin bone as possible. I will not trim for cosmetic results.
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