are of course many opinions as to what constitutes a "correct"
natural trim. As I have continued to trim more and more horses
over the past 10 years, my own opinion has gradually changed.
It will no doubt continue to change as I continue to learn more
from the feet of the horses I trim. The following description
can only apply to feet that are not seriously impaired before
you begin the trim, in other words a fairly "normal"
foot. Keep in mind however that EVERY foot
is different in one or more ways.
Trimming pathological feet will be covered in the section on
hoof pathologies (under construction).
After trimming horses, mules and donkeys for
many years with the conventional tools I have
concluded that all aspects of hoof trimming are
more easily achieved using the abrasive method
as shown in my DVD. The end result will
also be superior in appearance as well as
this time I believe the basic parameters of a "good"
trim are as follows: (check out the links along the way for more
you are finished, the hoof should be relatively symmetrical with
a shape that will encourage breaking over at the center of the
toe. The medial (inside) and lateral (outside) heels should be
of the same height when measured from the hairline
to the tip of the buttress .
The hair line (coronary band),
level (parallel to the ground) when viewed from
the front. A 28 degree downward slope toward the
heel of a weighted foot when viewed from the side.
heels low enough to provide a 28 degree
hairline slope when viewed from either side.
This will usually correspond with trimming the
heels to a smooth surface at the seats of corn.
Each foot may be a different measurement in
inches. All horses are not the same! Heel
height when measured will most often fall between 1" and 1.5" when
measured from the hairline to the buttress tip.
quarters scooped (floated) so that they are slightly passive
to the ground.
Toes, are often too long on
domestic horses. Do not concern yourself
with toe angles. The toe when viewed from the bottom
of the foot (solar view) should extend past the
frog apex no more than 1/2 the length of the
frog. In other words the frog measured
from it's widest point at the heel to the apex would
approximately 2/3 of the total length of the
bottom of the foot and 1/3 of the total
length would lie beyond
the frog apex. However If the frog is stretched
forward due to the toes having been too long for
some time this relationship no longer applies.
All toe flaring should be removed by at least the
toe shape should follow the curvature of the hairline
when viewed with the foot on the ground.
walls should be of equal thickness all the way around
unless there was flaring which needed to be removed,
or if toes needed backing up in which
case the walls may appear to be thinner in those areas when viewed
from the bottom. The
walls will also be level with or very slightly above the level
of the sole at their juncture and have a well rounded edge or what
is known as a "mustang roll". I like to
bevel the walls at about 40 degrees from the
white line out to the edge, then add the mustang
roll. This way the next time you trim
there will be little or no chipping.
frog should comprise approximately 2/3 of the
total length of the bottom
from heel buttress to toe tip. (measuring down the
center line) It should also taper down toward
the apex to allow the center of the foot to drop
slightly on impact with the ground. It is
often not necessary to trim the frog other than
to clean up ragged edges after the first several
bars should be flush with the sole and plainly visible.
Bars do not grow past the halfway point of the
frog. If they appear to this is false bar
and should be removed at least down to flush
with the sole.
will be at least somewhat concave except for the
outer 3/4 inch and all flaky dead
my opinion there is no need to take any measurements in inches
or centimeters to achieve an excellent trim, in fact I feel this
practice can be detrimental.
The only "measurement" I recommend to take any
more is to check the 28 degree
well trimmed hoof is a beautiful sight.
you even start:
first step is to examine the feet as they are.
for uneven wear, medial lateral imbalance and lack of symmetry
in shape. Also look for flaring in the toes
or quarters. (take notes if you feel the need
observe the horse in movement watching for uneven or out of rhythm
watch how the horse stands, is one front foot always behind the
other? Does the horse look comfortable and
the feet pointing straight forward or do they toe in or toe out?
If they do either is it due to the shape of the foot or is it
caused by something further up, check the line up of the joints.
Observe if the leg comes down centered on the hoof. These are
all things that can greatly affect how the hoof wears consequently
also affecting balance. Some hoof problems can
not be corrected by trimming but often these
problems can at least be kept from getting
Everything about the horse will be affected by how
the feet are trimmed.