Monday 27 June 2011


Heresy on a Monday morning...or the Rockley version of reality.  Its not gospel, its not written in stone, its not golden rules (except perhaps the last one) but its true nonetheless and may be worth considering.
  • Hooves which look strange and are asymmetric can function better for some horses than hooves which appear "perfectly balanced" to the human eye.
  • Many barefoot horses in work will benefit from not being trimmed every 6-8 weeks.  This is particularly true if the farrier or trimmer is determined to "re-balance" the hoof or trims sole or frog.
  • Celery is an extremely useful, though currently under-rated, trimming tool.  Its not always applicable, but it can be a lot safer than the alternative.
  • Hooves which are rapidly changing don't always benefit from trimming. This horse, for instance, will continue to grow hoof at the new angle despite the long toe of his old hoof capsule.  Backing up the toe would reduce leverage but put huge stress on his ligaments and is likely to make him much more uncomfortable. 
  • Infection in frogs need to be dealt with but aren't going to benefit from being carved out.  The horse is not loading the area because its sore, so making it more sore isn't a solution - the frog needs more engagement, not less, if its to regain long term good health.
  • You will never improve a horse's soundness by imposing your own ideas of foot balance or trimming to the detriment of the horse's comfort.  Horses suffering from soreness after trims are just that - sore - its not a "post trim reaction", its an injury.  Thats not a beneficial thing, its a mistake  - and sometimes a serious mistake. The horse really does know more about his feet than you do - so LISTEN.


Val said...

Great post. Can my horse self trim in a sandy paddock? I would love to invest in celery, if this were the case.

Just recieved your book in the mail. I am reading it a little bit at a time to make it last. I cannot believe how much information you and Ms. Braithwaite developed and researched for the book. I am loving it!

Nic Barker said...

Ah, thanks Val - glad you like it :-) Praising a book to the author is like praising a child to the parents - you can never go wrong!

You might need something tougher than sand for self-trimming - it depends (doesn't it always?) but I'd suspect you might need to do some roadwork or work on rockier trails.

jenj said...

Val, my boys have a sandy paddock (with imported sand), along with a small dirt track on our two acres. They do not move enough to self-trim. I have contemplated getting some small rocks and/or pea gravel to make more of a variety of footing, and while I am sure that would help, I still don't think it would be enough unless they start moving a whole lot more. Still trying to figure out how to make that happen...

smazourek said...

Nic, would you do a post about the kind of footing in your track that helps the horses self trim? I'll be getting my own acreage in a year or two and would like to set up a track for my horses.

Val said...

Thanks for the feedback!
And I second smazourek's post request.

Dom said...

Great things to keep in mind.

TK said...

Can you please explain the exact mechanics of this sentence?
" Backing up the toe would reduce leverage but put huge stress on his ligaments.."

I have found the opposite to be true with my own horse. Just trying to wrap my head around it all...

(enjoying the blog BTW) :)