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  1. #1
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    Default Barefoot trim vs farrier trim

    I was reading up about the barefoot trim. There are a lot of interesting articles that say that the barefoot option is better for a lot of horses. I am confused though, as they say a barefoot farrier trims differently than a regular farrier trim as the call it. What is the difference?
    My young horse is barefoot and I really like it so far. I have been riding him on trails and it can get rocky but so far he has handled it very well. The barefoot proponents claim that you let the horse form calluses so they may go off here and there but eventually the hoof toughens up. You don’t start out this way. You use boots and gradually toughen the horse’s foot.
    It sounded very interesting so I called a barefoot farrier. He said he would take the heel bulbs down and really shorten the toe and make the foot smaller. This is where I started thinking this might not be a good option. Making the foot smaller does not seem right. And I thought it was in the best interest of a horse to have a good heel. A lot of horses have under run heels and that causes navicular type problems.
    I thought the mustang roll was a good idea.
    And what is the Strasser trim? I read up that this is not a good idea.
    I would like to hear from anyone in the hunter jumper dressage or eventing world that is riding their horses barefoot and doing well. Do you use a barefoot trimmer or a regular farrier? Should there be a difference in the way they trim?
    Thanks in advance!



  2. #2
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    Default

    It doesn't make too much dfference if you have a "farrier" do your trims, or a "trimmer". There are trimmers that do excellent trimming work as well as trimmers that do poor work. The same goes for farriers. My advice would be to get somebody that understands feet, and can do a good trim despite what they call themselves.



  3. #3
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    thanks!
    so does the foot need to be really short or should it be left longer if you are going barefoot. the barn farrier said my horse needs to be longer and the last farrier trimmed him too short. i called a barefoot trimmer and he said he would make the horse's foot much smaller and i dont think that sounds very good. he would lower the heels. and the vet that vetted my horse said make sure you keep good heels and short toe. get a good qualified farrier. she just is very careful about advising how to keep the horse nice. she had given my horse an excellent vet report but thought his toe was a bit long. she thought the trim could have been a bit better.



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TSWJB View Post
    thanks!
    so does the foot need to be really short or should it be left longer if you are going barefoot. the barn farrier said my horse needs to be longer and the last farrier trimmed him too short. i called a barefoot trimmer and he said he would make the horse's foot much smaller and i dont think that sounds very good. he would lower the heels. and the vet that vetted my horse said make sure you keep good heels and short toe. get a good qualified farrier. she just is very careful about advising how to keep the horse nice. she had given my horse an excellent vet report but thought his toe was a bit long. she thought the trim could have been a bit better.
    I usually leave bare feet a little longer than if I was shoeing them. Just enough that they still have some wear protection. Heels left too long are not very good either. If they are too long, they are weak. It sounds to me like the vet is looking for a straight hoof/pastern axis in your horse. When people say that the toe is too long, it doesn't mean that the farrier/trimmer didn't take enough toe off the bottom of the foot. The foot is most likely distorting forward, and needs to be "backed up".



  5. #5
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    Nov. 8, 2006
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    NJ
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TSWJB View Post
    thanks!
    so does the foot need to be really short or should it be left longer if you are going barefoot. the barn farrier said my horse needs to be longer and the last farrier trimmed him too short. i called a barefoot trimmer and he said he would make the horse's foot much smaller and i dont think that sounds very good. he would lower the heels. and the vet that vetted my horse said make sure you keep good heels and short toe. get a good qualified farrier. she just is very careful about advising how to keep the horse nice. she had given my horse an excellent vet report but thought his toe was a bit long. she thought the trim could have been a bit better.

    The coffin bone needs to be up off the ground. Usually 14 to 16 mm vertical depth works. IOW, excess length needs to be removed but not taken short. Same with the heels. They need to be trimmed short enough to not distort the caudal aspect of the foot. Also breakover needs to be adressed in order to keep stress off the hoof capsule. I'd rocker the toe at the back of what is termed the toe callous. (hopeforsoundness.com) A non distorted foot appears much smaller than a distorted one. If someone wants bigger feet on a horse they need to breed one with bigger feet.



  6. #6
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    May. 26, 2005
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    Houston TX
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    Default

    For starters I would recommend the following websites - again if I have memorized them correctly:

    www.hoofrehab.com (should be Pete Ramey)
    www.ironfreehoof.com (should be Paige Poss and Ruth)
    www.equinextion.com

    There are gals that post here that have their own websites about trimming - I should have those memorized as well - but the above three will get you well started.

    Can you post photos of your horse's hooves - ie clean hooves - side shots - sole shots, etc?!



  7. #7
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    Jun. 22, 2006
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    Default My barefoot eventer/trail horse has been trimmed by both

    I do Hunter Paces, Dressage Schooling Shows, Schooling Horse Trials and the odd schooling H/J show with my barefoot Morgan.

    My last two Morgans were also barefoot. I've used a "barefoot trimmer" as well as a few different farriers and have had fine results with both.

    If you use a farrier, just make sure you are comfortable with how he trims. My mare tends to have a long toe and not enough heel, and I like a really short toe, so I have to tell the farrier (if he's new or at the beginning) to really bring the toes back.

    You'll just have to go with your gut feel on what is working for your horse and who does a great job.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
    www.elainehickman.com
    **Morgans Do It All**



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancy That View Post
    I do Hunter Paces, Dressage Schooling Shows, Schooling Horse Trials and the odd schooling H/J show with my barefoot Morgan.

    My last two Morgans were also barefoot. I've used a "barefoot trimmer" as well as a few different farriers and have had fine results with both.

    If you use a farrier, just make sure you are comfortable with how he trims. My mare tends to have a long toe and not enough heel, and I like a really short toe, so I have to tell the farrier (if he's new or at the beginning) to really bring the toes back.

    You'll just have to go with your gut feel on what is working for your horse and who does a great job.
    So how much sole depth do leave at the toe? Is 1mm enough? That sounds nice and short to me...


    BTW I AM REALLY good looking. My profile picture does not do me justice. My beauty cannot be captured by any media.



  9. #9
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    Jun. 13, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick McDonald View Post
    I usually leave bare feet a little longer than if I was shoeing them. Just enough that they still have some wear protection. Heels left too long are not very good either. If they are too long, they are weak. It sounds to me like the vet is looking for a straight hoof/pastern axis in your horse. When people say that the toe is too long, it doesn't mean that the farrier/trimmer didn't take enough toe off the bottom of the foot. The foot is most likely distorting forward, and needs to be "backed up".

    well when she vetted him she thought he had a bit of a broken/hoof pastern axis. i did not see it. neither did the owners. we had the results sent to University of Guelph and they did not comment on the hoof/pastern axis. i had him xrayed. so she said that it was probably okay. they would have commented on it if it was off. she felt it was very slight. she did recommend getting a good farrierr and making sure the farrier did not leave the toes too long. she did say he had nice feet. solid thick hoof walls, really good sole. he is a swedish warmblood just turned 4yo so he does not have the weak feet that many TB's have.
    thanks for all the info. so it sounds like as long as i get a good farrier i should be okay.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by grayarabs View Post
    For starters I would recommend the following websites - again if I have memorized them correctly:


    Can you post photos of your horse's hooves - ie clean hooves - side shots - sole shots, etc?!
    thanks for the info! i will try to get pictures. so far his feet have been great.
    so would you say a good barefoot trimmers trim is the same as a good farrier's trim?



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TSWJB View Post
    so it sounds like as long as i get a good farrier i should be okay.
    I think so!



  12. #12
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    Mar. 4, 2008
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    Birmingham, AL
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    Default

    From my personal experience, I have not had luck using a farrier to barefoot trim horses. The farrierS I used left the toe too long and the heels to high, didn't bevel the edge (mustang roll), or didn't trim back the bars, etc. Basically they trimmed as if they were going to put shoes on afterwards, which really isn't correct trimming anyway but it seems there are a lot of farriers out there that leave toes and heels too long, etc. I have used a couple of different barefoot trimmers. One did not do a good job but that happens with farriers too. The other barefoot trimmers have been very good and my horse's are feeling good and sassy. I have recently changed barefoot trimmers because the last one had too many scheduling conflicts and the newest one is doing a wonderful job.

    Each horse's foot is different and the trim should be done as appropriate. The coffin bone should be parallel with the ground. When the heels are left too long or the toe too long the angle of the coffin bone will get out of whack...with the coffin bone pointing downwards. That is uncomfortable and as it worsens potentially very painful and laming. A long toe also holds proportionally too much weight and pulls at the laminae...sort of like pulling your fingernail back. The proper trim does not actually make the foot smaller, it may look like it but in reality it is putting everything back into proportion so that the foot bears weight appropriately. And in many cases where the heels have gotten long and contracted, a good trim will allow the heel to spread back out so that it becomes a little wider in back than it was previously.

    You may be confused by some terminology. Leaving the foot long is different than leaving the toe long. You want to leave a little extra horn all the way around the hoof because it will wear down a bit. Shortening the heel is not the same as underrun heels which are usually too long but not aligned under the heel bulb and therefore the foot is not bearing weight appropriately. Long heels actually contribute to navicular and contracted heels.

    If your horse has always been barefoot he probably has pretty good, hard feet already. If he is already doing well on trails you may not need to use boots. And if his trim is very well done he should be able to handle very rough and rocky terrain even better. I have not used boots on my youngsters who have never worn shoes. They run and climb very rocky, rough terrain, etc. like nobody's business. My main riding horse does dressage, jumping and trail riding barefoot and without boots and I know others doing the same but I don't think they are on the COTH to share their experiences with you. I'm sure there are others here though.

    I recommend you do a google search regarding barefoot care, barefoot performance, etc. Reading that will get you a lot further in your knowledge base than reading the COTH posts with farriers and barefooters bickering back and forth...or talking about how handsome they are.
    Altamont Sport Horses
    Trakehners * Knabstruppers * Appaloosa Sport Horses
    Home of stallions: Ambrosius af Asgard "Atlantis" & Hollywood Hot Spot
    Birmingham, AL



  13. #13
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    Dec. 19, 2007
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    I will say upfront that my mare is a Lipizzaner and they are known to have extraordinary hooves and legs. Most do not have shoes nor do they require shoes -- unless for heavy competition -- so take this as you will.

    She has always been barefoot and I have her feet done by a farrier. When I got her she had some whiteline in her right hind and way too much flare on the inside. I think she had been trimmed by the owner, but can't say for sure. It wasn't a good job, though.

    No mustang roll, good heel. He does leave the toes a little longer than he would if he were shoeing. I'm very happy with this guy's work.

    Eileen
    Mad Mare™ Studio
    Custom Swarovski®, Czech glass and gemstone browbands in Circlet, Diadem and Tiara styles. Matching stock pins, bracelets and belts.
    http://MadMare.com



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Altamont Sport Horses View Post
    The farrierS I used left the toe too long and the heels to high, didn't bevel the edge (mustang roll), or didn't trim back the bars, etc. Basically they trimmed as if they were going to put shoes on afterwards, which really isn't correct trimming anyway but it seems there are a lot of farriers out there that leave toes and heels too long, etc.
    Long toes and high heels aren't correct trimming, period, shoes or not, so I wouldn't have wanted those farriers shoeing my horse either. At least shoes can hide some of those poor practices, at least for a while, that would otherwise likely make a barefoot horse sore.


    You may be confused by some terminology. Leaving the foot long is different than leaving the toe long. You want to leave a little extra horn all the way around the hoof because it will wear down a bit. Shortening the heel is not the same as underrun heels which are usually too long but not aligned under the heel bulb and therefore the foot is not bearing weight appropriately. Long heels actually contribute to navicular and contracted heels.
    Good idea to point out the difference in the term "long" because it is not necessarily the same.

    I don't understand though leaving a bare foot "longer" to allow for wear. MOST barefoot horses owned by most people don't get enough wear on their foot because they are not out living or riding on abrasive enough surfaces for enough hours a day. They're either stalled many hours or living on grass for many hours. I could see the newly de-shod hoof having some extra wall left for the short-term to allow a more gradual acclimation to being barefoot, and let the horse start to do some self-trimming based on his natural movement to give the farrier/trimmer a better look at how to trim him next time. But for the foot used to being nekked, what purpose does leaving a little extra serve?
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  15. #15
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    Farriers tend to

    -Leave heels and toes too long
    -carve too much sole and frog
    -do not bevel hoofwall

    Barefoot trimmers (good ones) do

    -leave the sole and frog alone, unless lose pieces need to come off
    - Bevel the hoofwall to reduce potential leverage forces on the hoofwall and laminae connection
    -correctly trim for toe/heel length and breakover
    -make sure the medio-lateral balance is correct

    I am personally not a fan of Strasser trimming because it can be too invasive for a horse. I personally believe it is more of a surgical trim for horses that truly need serious intervention to improve.

    However, there are many successful Strasser trimmers out there that do an excellent job, although I believe they are generally using a more conservative approach when it comes to trimming.

    The horse should always have the last say. The hooves should be trimmed according to what the horse needs, not what any human thinks might be the correct angle, breakover, etc. That approach usually backfires.

    Many horses have soreness during their transition period thanks to underdeveloped heels. That is generally cause by incorrect trimming, not enough movement, shoes and /or frog infections. Anything that will make a horse not land heel first, as they should, will allow the back of the foot to atrophy to a certain degree. This can only be reversed with correct trimming, diet and adequate movement and no shoes. Boots with pads should be used as needed.

    Best wishes on your barefoot journey!
    Last edited by BornToRide; May. 9, 2008 at 02:24 PM.



  16. #16
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    so does the foot need to be really short or should it be left longer if you are going barefoot.
    A barefoot trimmed hoof is actually much smaller than you would normally be use too, surf the net so you get an understanding on what a barefoot trimmed hoof looks like. If you have a farrier trimming your horse you may have to ask if they can trim the bars level the sole but otherwise so long as they don't leave the heels and toe too long and that they don't carve into the sole (especially in front of the frog) you should be fine.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BornToRide View Post
    Farriers tend to

    -Leave heels and toes too long
    -carve too much sole and frog
    -do not bevel hoofwall

    Barefoot trimmers (good ones) do

    -leave the sole and frog alone, unless lose pieces need to come off
    - Bevel the hoofwall to reduce potential leverage forces on the hoofwall and laminae connection
    -correctly trim for toe/heel length and breakover
    -make sure the medio-lateral balance is correct
    MUCH too generalized a statement here and going to instigate the arguing that many of us have been trying to avoid here for months.

    POOR farriers and POOR trimmers do all those bad things. GOOD farriers and GOOD trimmers do all the right things. Period. Comments like yours are what invite farriers to start bashing those pro-barefooters like it's going out of style.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  18. #18
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    Thanks for so much good information. I have been mulling this subject over recently and am glad I lurk here often!



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    MUCH too generalized a statement here and going to instigate the arguing that many of us have been trying to avoid here for months.

    POOR farriers and POOR trimmers do all those bad things. GOOD farriers and GOOD trimmers do all the right things. Period. Comments like yours are what invite farriers to start bashing those pro-barefooters like it's going out of style.
    It does, however, shed some light on the OP's attitude in the "What type of Barns do BF's go to" thread that I was lurking on and totally confused by. Clearly nothing supports his or his friend's cockiness, but now I get what he was ranting at (although not so eloquently).

    Sorry for the aside. Carry on.
    "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
    <>< I.I.



  20. #20
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    MUCH too generalized a statement here and going to instigate the arguing that many of us have been trying to avoid here for months.

    POOR farriers and POOR trimmers do all those bad things. GOOD farriers and GOOD trimmers do all the right things. Period. Comments like yours are what invite farriers to start bashing those pro-barefooters like it's going out of style.
    Well, generally I would agree with you. However, of all the farriers I know around here (about 10 or so) there are only 2 or 3 I would let touch my horse's feet. That's a rather low percentage and tends to be similar wherever else I look, even in Germany. Most are stuck with what they learned some time ago and do not allow room for improvement or new knowledge. This is such a disservice to horses and their owners and the reason we see so many crappy feet.

    Sadly, it is also often perpetuated by many vets who seem often also stuck about what they learned in vet school, even if it is already quite outdated AND the fact that there are often very resistant to even considering new ideas and developments, no matter how diplomatic one brings up such new thoughts and considerations. What's up with that?? How is that in the best interest of the horses?? All this does is serve some person's ego!

    If this is perceived as a challenge, you are right on. Bring it on, step up to the plate and explore new developments and ideas rather than simply dismissing them because of what you learned 10 or more years ago. Don't be stuck in past stagnation. LISTEN to the horses - do NOT dictate to the horse what it needs! Let the horse tell you what it needs.



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