The Mustang Roll

The Mustang Roll.  No, it’s not some type of fancy maneuver that only feral horses can do.  It’s what we barefoot trimmers call the rounded finish we add to the bottom of the hoof wall when we trim.  We do this to mimic the natural wear that the wild horse gets as they travel miles across arid ground.  Sometimes, I forget that not everyone knows what the heck I’m talking about when I refer to the ‘Mustang Roll’, so I’d like to talk about it in this week’s blog post.

Now, I’m not as aggressive as some trimmers are, but here you can see a Mustang Roll that I created on Kady, who is especially prone to flaring in this particular hoof.  See the rounded edge at the bottom?




The way I generally create the Mustang Roll is to start with my nippers from the bottom of the hoof.  When I’m trimming hoof wall, I cut at about a 45 degree angle so that gives me a start on the bevel.




Then I use the rasp on the bottom side of the hoof to further smoothen the bevel.  I  start from the quarters and go all the way around. (I don’t bevel the heels, though I’ve heard some people do.)




I finish up by using a hoof stand and rasping the outer hoof wall. I try to level out any flares, clean up, and finish the roll from this side.  And in case you’re wondering, yes it’s okay to rasp the outer hoof wall so long as you stick with the lower portion and don’t get too aggressive!


rasping 2


While some may think the Mustang Roll is mostly done for aesthetics, I would like to point out that this is not necessarily the case.  It’s primarily done for function.  The Mustang Roll provides relief for the outer hoof wall, provides better breakover, and also helps to prevent cracking and flaring.  

When Pete was at my place for the trimming clinic this past winter, he trimmed this horse with a ‘problem’ hoof.  Notice the exaggerated roll he put on the hoof in order to relieve stress on the toe and hoof wall here.




Hopefully, I’ve explained the Mustang Roll well enough here.  If you’re trimming your own horses, it’s not difficult to do.  If someone else trims your horse, it’s something you can easily help maintain between trimmings by using a rasp.  There’s even a cool little rasp called the Radius Rasp which is made specifically for maintaining the Mustang Roll.  I haven’t used it, but it looks interesting.

If you’d like to learn more about natural hoof care, there are many great resources online these days.  I also recommend these books, in particular:

Horse Owners Guide to Natural Hoof Care by Jaime Jackson


Making Natural Hoof Care Work for You by Pete Ramey.






Hi! My name is Casie Bazay. I'm a mom, a freelance writer, and a certified equine acupressure practitioner.

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2 Responses

  1. IcePonyGirl says:


  2. R.Hawk says:

    I do not over trim a mustang roll as I think it weakens the edge around the hoof and can actually cause flaring. The top layer of hoof wall is the strongest–for protective reasons. When the top layer is removed each layer underneath becomes softer and softer. As the weight bearing mechanism of sole descending and toe expanding think of what happens is the outside edge is soft. Real mustangs do not wear down the wall by thinning it out like trimmers do with their rasp, mustangs shape of the mustang roll gets “pounded” into shape, the wall around the roll is still just as thick as the rest of their wall and the horn tubules at the mustang roll are still that hard thick protective outside layer and it bends under because of how it is pounded into it’s shape–not worn away as many think. If the bottom of the hoof is well balanced, I smooth out any edges, otherwise I leave the top alone. Go get some close up pictures of some real mustang hooves, zoom in to look at the horn tubules around the mustang roll, you will see the horn tubules on the top hard layer of hoof wall do not end or get worn away, they bend around the corner of the mustang roll. I think over thinning the wall makes many horses sore. What wall is a containment retaining wall for the sole meant to help it keep it’s shape and needs to be load sharing for protective purposes.

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