Natural Trimming Series, Part 2: The Hoof Wall


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

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12 Responses

  1. Robynne Catheron says:

    Good post today, Casie, thanks! I do have one question: our horses are trimmed every three to four weeks, using the Ramey/Jackson method. Two of the horses have self-sloughing soles, but my OTTB’s soles always have thick flakes of dead sole. He’s ridden just as frequently as the other two. Any thoughts?
    I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to expand on your section on hoof walls. I the hoof is allowed to grow past it’s optimum point, the hoof wall will be forced to carry most of the weight, causing the wall to grow outward, tearing it painfully away from the hoof capsule and destroying the laminae. It’s so important to maintain the integrity of the hoof at three-to-four week intervals and preventing the white line from stretching, rather than waiting until the damage is done.

    • then5925 says:

      Hi Robynne and thanks! I agree about maintaining the walls every 3-4 weeks. A while back, I did a post on hoof flares which is linked in this post. It definitely causes problems when the wall overgrows and is forced to carry the weight of the horse.

      As for your OTTB, are his feet more contracted than your other horses’ feet? Also, do you have an area of pea gravel or a rocky area where they can do some self-trimming? All four of my horses have completely different feet, but I’ve noticed that my gelding with more contracted feet can develop the thick flakes of dead sole like you mentioned. I may treat him for thrush just in case and see if that opens up his feet more.

      • Robynne Catheron says:

        His soles have been this way ever since we got him at five years old, seven years ago. They also get little round pits in them at times, something else I heard was a TB trait. But you’re probably right, I’m usually fighting mild thrush in all of them, it’s always so wet and muddy here. He had it the worst, even though it was still a light case. Btw, I finally found a product that’s safe, natural, and effective (if used daily, my downfall): Grape Balm Hoof Healer from The Natural Vet. It stays on for 24 hours, even through mud and rain. If I use it regularly and religiously, all signs of thrush are gone in a couple of days. Thank you for that tip, I really need to stay ahead of it!
        From my experience, it’s not only flares that stretch the white line and laminae, although that’s probably the most noticeable; any time the hoof wall grows too long it tears away from the capsule. Kinda like pulling your fingernails away from the quick – ouch.

        • then5925 says:

          I haven’t heard of the Grape Balm Hoof Healer–sounds like it uses essential oils? Thrush is no fun to deal with though!

  2. Robynne Catheron says:

    *If* the hoof wall…

  3. dusty says:

    The bars are a huge factor in the hoof stretching forward! I also do not agree with live sole trims as I do believe in trimming past the dirt line if able. The live waxy sole is a sensitive structure that needs some protection. I believe that you should only take what would naturally wear away on its own and that is not to live sole!!!

    • then5925 says:

      Hi Dusty–I don’t do the ‘live sole trim’ either. I only scrape out the white chalky dead sole which usually accumulates in the seats of corn and sometimes right around the frog. Just using Pete Ramey’s terminology in the post about how to trim the walls. Maybe ‘firm sole’ would be a better term to use.

  4. Susan says:

    New convert to barefoot. Love the set of trimming instructions. Looking forward to reading more

  5. sharon says:

    Hi Casey. I have an OTTB who we took out of his shoes as soon as we got him 2 years ago. His feet have been coming on beautifully, concavity is beautiful, frogs nice and wide and he’s been 100% sound. Then on the advice of my trainer, i changed trimmer because she noticed that he was trotting ‘pigeon toed’on the front rigt. I’m devastated because within 2 trims the new farrier has managed to narrow the frogs, cause under run back feet and yeaterday i saw him rasping away the hoof wall on the outside. Pink spots are showing through the wall. The yrim was so harsh that after 6 weeks growth there was hardly anything to trim. My poor boy!! Obviously i will be looking for someone else. My question is why?!!! Why do some farriers scrape the outside of the hoof? Does it serve a purpose and how long before i can expect my horse to have hardy feet again? How long will his feet be vulnerable and is it causing pain cos of lack of support? Can he work as normal? He lives on soft sand

    • Casie says:

      Hi Sharon, I was actually taught to rasp the lower 1/3 of the hoof wall if flare is present, so this isn’t unusual. It’s simply a method of reducing hoof wall separation and making some horses more comfortable. You definitely don’t want to overdo the rasping on the outer wall though. It sounds to me like this new farrier may also be taking too much wall from the bottom side of the hoof and possibly lowering the heels too much as well. This could cause your horse to walk on his toes more than the back of his feet, hence the narrow frogs. If he’s sore, I’d put him in boots with pads to ride. I wouldn’t think the sand would cause an issue, but the boots can also be left on in the pasture if needed. Sounds like the first trimmer was doing a good job. It could be a conformational issue with the pigeon toe or maybe you just need to ask that trimmer about it. If the trimmer isn’t watching the horse walk, they may not be aware of the issue. That’s my two cents, anyway!

  1. October 18, 2013

    […] Part 1 of this series, I focused on the sole.  Part 2 was about the hoof wall, and now Part 3 will focus on back of the foot–the bars and […]

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