Natural Trimming Series, Part 3: The Bars and Heels


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

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8 Responses

  1. Robynne Catheron says:

    This is really good, and easy for a layman like me to understand, thanks! When you say you use a rasp to “move” underrun heels back, does that mean, in essence, that you’re pulling/pushing the rasp from the front of the hoof toward the back of the hoof, encouraging them to grow in that direction? I’ve always wondered how that worked, and always forget to ask my own trimmer. Looking forward to the next installment!

    • then5925 says:

      Thanks, Robynne. It’s a little difficult to explain moving the underrun heels back (much easier to show in person), but essentially, you’re lowering them slightly and moving the landing point backwards, toward the heel bulbs. It doesn’t really matter which direction you rasp, but it’s easier to use a rasp because there’s not as much to trim off as there is with a high heel. Does that make sense?

  2. Jan Lear says:

    This is great! I’ve been trimming my three horses for 10 months and while no one appears to be sore, I always wonder if I am doing it right. Love that you addressed heels and bars…two of my biggest wonders. Rather than waiting 3-4-whatever weeks between trims I do a bit every week. If something doesn’t look right I take out the rasp and do a nip here and there, rarely anything drastic. I don’t use nippers. Really like the photo of the overgrown bars. From the side should the hairline go to the ground or should there be a bit of heel showing? Thanks so much for this.

    • Casie says:

      Hi Jan–Glad you found the blog post useful. Using the rasp to trim on a frequent basis is definitely a good way to do it. That way, things never get out of hand. As far as the hairline, I guess it would depend on the individual horse. I would say that most would have some heel showing from the side view, but I suppose some might not. Many people think the heels should be long (to achieve the ‘right’ angle), but a short heel and toe is usually best.

  3. Ana says:

    Does anyone know what to do with a horse that always has hard as steel sole at the heels and they are very long??? I’ve tried paring them down slowly, and I’ve tried putting a bevel, but still no change. The sole’s been shedding at the toe all the way to the middle of the quarters so I’ve been able to shorten those at every trim, but the heels never “ask” to be trimmed! I tried to be a bit less patient and cut them anyway once but he was left sore and with wet corns 🙁
    This horse has never been shod, is only 4 years old and has no frog infections. The digital cushion is not the best i’ve seen, but not bad either. I really can’t figure why his hooves are resisting a natural shape…
    PS.: when I was first called he had been kept with a long heel trim since he was taken from pasture to be schooled, that would be a few months to a year I guess. They don’t trim them before that.

    • Casie says:

      Hi Ana, It sounds like he just has really upright feet. I have one like that. The heels are the main thing I have to trim every month. So weird because none of my other horses are like that. But her feet are just shaped differently. Is it really dry where this horse lives? Just wondering about the environment. Also, sounds like he should have been trimmed when he was a youngster. That might have helped with the digital cushion!

  4. Tim O'Neill says:

    Casie, Really enjoyed this series of articles about the equine Foot. the more I learn the more I realise that there is so much to more to learn, I’m currently studding Equine Podiotherapy in Australia.

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