Barefoot Hoof Trimming

Overview

I obtained my barefoot hoof trimming technique through years of experience and had the opportunity to expand and refine my technique under the guidance of Andrew Bowe (The Barefoot Blacksmith).

I realise that not all horse owners are in favour of barefoot trimming or the natural trim as some call it. There is endless debate in the world on this topic. So instead of trying to convince you one way or the other I thought I'd rather  tell you about my service to you and provide you with some information about the natural trim.

 My service to you

I only take a limited amount of clients in order to give you a dedicated and exclusive service. I recognise that going barefoot is a commitment and is reliant upon regular correct trimming for success. I am not only a barefoot trimmer but also an advocate for natural horsemanship techniques. I handle each horse with patience, compassion and extreme care. There is no time limit placed on each trim, each horse has its own unique requirement and I take as much time as is needed to do the trim properly. My fees are $50.00 per horse.

What is barefoot hoof trimming?

The hoof evolved to function unshod and be shaped through the forces of nature. Barefoot hoof trimming aims to mimic these forces of nature. It promotes and maintains a healthy hoof by encouraging the hoof to grow in a physiological correct shape.

It is a holistic approach in hoof care and takes into account your horse’s living environment and diet. A natural trim, natural surroundings and a natural diet are all equally important in order to promote and maintain healthy hooves.

In summary, here are some of the benefits:

  • Improved blood flow that improves your horse’s overall health
  • Strong healthy hoof walls
  • Greater shock absorption resulting in fewer concussion related injuries.
  • Less tripping, stumbling and forging as your horse will be able to feel where its hooves are being placed
  • Economical, shoes can be expensive
  • Most importantly is the resulting healthy, happy horse.

So why should you choose a barefoot trim for your horse?

The hoof of a shod horse cannot expand and contract with each step when it is restricted by a shoe. The hoof needs to contract and expand, creating a pump action to distribute and circulate blood supply. A barefoot trim establishes a relationship between the internal and external hoof components, allowing the hoof to function properly to absorb shock and facilitate blood flow.

Humans have differently shaped feet of various sizes that result in us moving in very different ways from each other. We adjust and adapt to our body formation from birth and have all developed our own walking and running style. Well there are no surprises that horses are the same. They are all uniquely different to each other. Barefoot trimming recognises and respects this uniqueness by trimming according to your horse’s hoof sole. Your horse’s natural balance and movement is enhanced rather than altered. A naturally trimmed horse has an agile movement in all directions and is better balanced and sure footed.

How often will you have to trim your horse?

To maintain optimal hoof health a trim is recommended every 4 to 6 weeks.

There are numerous influencing factors that determine the frequency of trims. In some cases, due to hoof problems, more frequent trims may be required at first. If your horse’s hooves get too long between trims then the hoof capsule deforms and the hoof is never allowed to stabilize at its optimum form and length. If your horse is not trimmed often enough the hoof is always in some stage of deformity. Regular, frequent trimming is necessary to correct and maintain your horse’s hooves in optimal form. Simply put it is NOT a quick fix; it is a gradual process over time.

What happens if your horse is too tender footed not to wear shoes?

In most cases, as soon as you remove shoes off a long time shod horse they will be tender footed for a period. This is perfectly normal and expected. Your horse will need time for the hoof to strengthen and develop its internal structures.  This is called the transition period.

Thankfully, there is a solution. There is a fantastic range of hoof boots available to accommodate to your horse’s needs. Boots used with a dense sole and frog pads to stimulate good heel, sole, and frog development will assist change dramatically. Some horses need boots around the clock initially, but most do just fine.  Be patient.