What To Do With Those Bars?


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

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9 Responses

  1. Fiona says:

    Hi! I was taught to trim the bars to just above the level of the sole, and have never had any issues with my arab. We now have an Oldenberg who’s bars grow back with a ferocity! I was letting them grow after reading the same Pete Ramey article referenced here, but now if I do trim them there is always bruising underneath. What to do in this case?? It seems like his hooves want the bar, but if they are causing bruising should I leave it?

    • Fiona says:

      To add to that, the horses live in a big grass pasture. They have pea gravel around the water and gates, but otherwise not much abrasive material.

    • Casie says:

      Hi Fiona, I would say they’re serving a purpose if they’re growing back so quickly. Is he sore at all? Could you leave them a tad longer maybe?

      • Fiona says:

        He’s not sore now but he is prone to abscessing. He has a lovely heel first landing and everything else seems good, I am just worried about the bruising underneath the bars! You’re suggesting to keep trimming them but leave them a bit longer? Try to find some middle ground between alleviating the bruising and leaving the bars that the hooves obviously need for something? Thank you for the input, I know it’s difficult when you can’t actually see the horse!

  2. Kay says:

    I was reading an article you had written May 2015 about hair analysis on your horse Hershey. I was wondering with the free choice minerals if his hooves stopped cracking up the wall? I just bought a 17 year old QH cross last Dec. And he has a limp I can’t get rid of (apparently he’s had it since he was young, but the previous owners claim that he’s just fine). Also I seem to be dealing with mild chroic thrush and in the last 3 weeks he has started wall separation on all 4 hooves. So I’m thinking of doing the hair analysis to see what I’m missing in his diet, and was wondering if Hershey’s hooves improved.

    • Casie says:

      Hi Kay, Hershey’s hooves have not improved, for the most part. They tend to go in cycles, getting better for a time, and then getting worse. I know it would help if he weren’t on pasture full time, but he’s 25 and has some dental issues–he doesn’t do well on just hay. I’ve come to believe that it’s mainly an absorption problem. Even if he’s on the proper supplements (I’ve tried them all!), he’s just not absorbing all that he needs. I’ve just started him on bentonite clay, hoping a detox will help. We’ll see. . . But honestly, he’s been like this so long, I don’t hold much hope of anything changing much.

  3. Chris says:

    Hope you don’t mind the observation from another barefoot trimmer that the photos of Hershey’s hooves in your article on the Big Sky minerals (agreed, they are great!) show his heels as being VERY high. If you trim them back to the level of the frog, which in his case looks nice and “full”, you should hopefully see those toe cracks soon disappear. (If Hershey had very thin frogs then that would be too severe, but healthy frogs can serve as a good guide.) High heels will compromise blood circulation/hoof growth particularly in the toes, resulting in poor quality horn and a coffin bone that’s tipped forward and down. This situation places too much weight/force forward on the toes, which will contribute to WL stretching/separation and prevent these cracks from closing IME. The front feet should ideally be quite round, reflecting the shape of the underlying coffin bone, the underside of which should be very close to ground parallel on weight-bearing. Hope this helps and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d welcome further discussion, public or private. Sometimes rapid and dramatic improvement is still possible with older horses as long as their joints can still adapt and haven’t become ossified.

    • Casie says:

      Hi Chris, I just looked back at those photos–and yikes! You’re right. His heels were too long. Those are some older photos, probably from when I was first learning to trim. I’ve learned a lot since then and it’s funny, because I am just getting ready to publish a post on “high heels” today. I keep Hershey’s heels just above sole level now. Thanks for your insight though.

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