Hello and welcome back after a long summer doing equine locum work at Bearl Equine and one day per week at Capontree I am back on the blog trail and updating what is happening in my life. As ever all things podiatry related fascinates me and this recent thread on an Equine Vets Forum led to a brilliant description of the standard Natural balance trim. This is in my opinion the gold standard to try and achieve a healthy equine foot 😉
“True Natural Barefoot hoof trim”–As I understand it, and try to apply it when treating horses for therapeutic issues with feet: An ongoing attempt to balance the hoof medial to lateral, to allow the frog and sole to carry most of the burden of the horse, to trim as best possible to the slope of the pastern, and to resist applying a rim of steel to the hoof wall to raise the frog and sole from contact with the ground. Following the path of the P-3 as reflected in the sulci of the frog to establish medial lateral balance, and to not trim back the calus that forms in the sole over the tip of P-3 on a barefoot horse. To round the hoof wall so that it does not chip, and to attempt to mimic the degree of wall wear that has been observed in untrimmed wild horses that wear off their hoof walls and walk mostly on their soles and frog. This is done by regular trimming, at 4 week intervals, and is to be accompanied by vigorous exercise on mildly yielding surfaces, good planes of nutrition, and weight loss if needed. Oh, and generous amount of time to allow changes to happen.
Yes, the horse’s foot adapts to what it is standing on, but the point is to allow it to stand on the ground and have the heels have expansion abilities in all directions, rather than have as THE ONLY ANSWER the hoof-wall nailed to an unyielding chunk of iron.
I also find that the whole horse is needed to be seen and addressed, rather than just one aspect of it…the shoe, the trim, the hoof, the rider, the feed, the bite and the bit, the saddle, the discipline, the training and conditioning, and last but not least, the breeding…..
No two horses feet are ever the same and you must look at the whole picture and use your experience to assess horse with peculiar shaped feet before condemning the animal immediately. Many horse with boxy feet are very sound and can work hard, but others will be chronically lame, use good judgement and radiographs carefully
Paul Proctor MRCVS