Friday 13 February 2015

The last word...

The last word in my "how to take your horse barefoot" series (which consists of the "Living in the Dark Ages" post, Monday's post on nutrition and yesterday's post on getting hooves working) goes to a subject I've often talked about before - trimming.

Today though I want to start by linking to a terrific post which I came across on Facebook  - its an old blog post and I wonder why I never saw it before but here it is:

Lots of the writing resonated with what I have been trying to say on here this week but this one particularly jumped out:

"When you condition the horse, you condition it with exercise, not with trimming. A good barefoot form to the hoof is only the outward sign that it is functionally right. But it tells you little about the inner toughness of the hoof. You can’t trim the hoof into toughness. You have to work, to ride the hoof into condition."

I've blogged often and at length about trimming, so have a search (try the term "celery"!) if you'd like more detail, but I wanted to finish this week just with a few bullet points about trimming.

  • A trim can no more improve the health of a hoof than a haircut can improve the health of your hair - health comes from within. 
  • A trim can only remove structure, never rebuild - for the latter you have to look at nutrition and exercise.
  • A trim can radically alter load on a limb and change foot balance - sometimes to the detriment of the horse's soundness. 
  • A trim will artificially simulate and stimulate wear (causing you to think your horse "needs" a trim every few weeks!) but is unlikely to mirror natural wear patterns. 
  • A trim is frequently (in my experience usually) neither necessary nor beneficial to a horse either in consistent work or kept on consistent surfaces. 


Unknown said...
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BruceA said...

Great post Nic - you can say in 100 words what I ramble for an hour to say :-) All bets are of course off with laminitics as I have found. It is amazing that if you don't trim you end up not needing to trim. Pretty is as pretty does eh! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this fine series of posts.

I get annoyed with people who say "my horse can't go barefoot - I took his shoes off and he was sore on rocks [the next day]" - the amount of ignorance out there is glaring.

Kobi said...

What situations would you give a trim in? I understand that these would be the exceptions.

Nic Barker said...

So exceptional Kobi that I can't imagine any which would be useful to put on a blog post!
Realistically only if a horse has had an injury which leads to some kind of deformation.

LittleTurkey said...

I agree with BruceA, my laminitic IR pony has to have his toes rolled. I do leave all other "trimming" up to him and the miles we do though.