Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Trimming - points to remember

This is just a reminder and many of you will be familiar with me banging on about trimming but I think it bears repeating because I am still hearing (and reading) about gung-ho trimmers and farriers.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with trimming if it leaves a horse sounder, moving better and happier - and really that's the only rule :-)
Here are a few facts to keep in mind - and the obligatory celery pic, of course :-)
By its nature - trimming a hoof can only remove things. This of course is useful if you have a horse who is growing lots more hoof than he needs but very many horses actually have too little hoof structure (particularly at the back of the foot) rather than too much. Trimming is unlikely to be what these horses need - though movement may well be critical for them.
Remember that if you consistently and steadily increase or decrease work, hooves are more than capable of adjusting growth rates to work levels without human intervention. The hoof grows in response to stimulus; decrease stimulus and things slow down; increase stimulus and things speed up.  Hooves are designed for work - and are capable of self-balance :-)
Be wary of any hoofcare professional who is more interested in the appearance of the hoof than in how the limb and hoof are functioning. In fact, if your farrier or trimmer cannot show you how your horse's hooves are landing and loading then they won't know whether the horse is moving correctly and whether the foot is balanced. They also won't know what changes need to be made or what structures can safely be trimmed.  Trimming without this knowledge can easily result in a horse who is less comfortable following a trim.
As a rule of thumb, be wary of anyone who doesn't even bother to watch your horse (at the very least) walk and trot up in a straight line on a hard surface. After all, you can't understand the hoof without understanding the limbs :-)

1 comment:

M's mum said...

Great post Nic. I was terrified about M's first post-Rockley trim, as you know - but happily all is well, she was very gentle and minimal, talked through everything she thought and saw, and was very reasoned in her approach. And while the trim hasn;t made any miraculous imrpovements, it has most certainly not caused a deterioration in his comfort levels, and has slightly improved his gait at walk and trot. She watched him walk and trot on the level in a straight line and on the lunge both before and after.