Saturday, 2 April 2011

Hoof balance and landing

Here are 2 clips outlining how asymmetric hooves land - its prompted by a discussion on the UKNHCP forum about trimming, and it also echoes something we talked about in Poland.   The fact is that a significant minority of horses - and especially those who have had lameness problems or injuries - need to be allowed in their hooves to compensate in order to allow for a level landing.

Landing on asymmetric hooves from Nic Barker on Vimeo.

I've posted about this sort of thing before, but it becomes even more important to highlight it when the subject of trimming comes up.   Maybe its a coincidence, but both before I was in Poland, and there, and subsequently, different people have asked what to do about horses who are less comfortable after they have been trimmed than they were before.  The simple answer is don't trim them - or at least ensure that the problem trim is not repeated.  This may involve giving your trimmer or farrier feedback, or if you are the trimmer it may involve radically rethinking what you are doing.

What can bare hooves achieve? from Nic Barker on Vimeo.

Here's something to think about - all the horses in these clips grow asymmetric hooves but those hooves load evenly.  If you try to trim the hooves to make them appear more symmetrical, you will adversely affect how the hooves load and these horses will become much less capable - or will even go lame.

Of the 3, one was last trimmed in February 2008 (and that was a mistake on my part), one was last trimmed in May 2009 (ditto) and one can be trimmed occasionally, if his work level drops, but it has to be done in such a way that excess hoof growth is removed without affecting his medio-lateral balance.

These horses aren't the rule, they are the exception to the rule BUT they are a good illustration of one of the few absolutes in hoofcare: No horse should be worse after a trim - if he was, then he didn't need a trim - and certainly not that trim....


Val said...

For a horse with asymmetrical hooves, do you still roll the edges of the hoof and leave the balance alone or do you leave them to self-trim completely?

My guy is not sore after a trim and I agree that a horse should not be, so I am only asking for interest's sake.


jenj said...

Thank you! Now, if only I can get my trimmer to watch this...

Nic Barker said...

Hi Val, 2 out of 3 horses I leave completely alone - even the mildest roll can upset their balance and they are doing enough work to self-trim. One you can roll without doing any harm, (as always!) it depends :-)

Nic Barker said...

Jen - LOL - get them to watch the horse and thats half the battle :-)