Natural Trimming Series, Part 1: The Sole


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

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13 Responses

  1. monica goold says:

    Brilliant iformation, thank you very much 🙂

  2. Gloria Thomas says:

    How can I help my horse to grow a thicker sole? He has very thin soles and is very “ouchy”. I do not want to put shoes on him.

    • then5925 says:

      Keep the walls short–about 1/16 inch above the sole. Same with the heels, although you don’t want to do anything drastic all at once. If this is done consistently and the horse is allowed plenty of movement (not stalled or kept in small pen), then the sole callus should build naturally. Adding pea gravel to an area where the horse frequents is helpful, too. Of course, if a horse has subclinical laminitis, the diet will need to be addressed.

      • Gloria Thomas says:

        He is out 24/7, not stalled. He is currently being fed Seminole Wellness Safe and Lite. I add vitamine E, and Flax to his feed. He has access to good quality hay most all day. Is there something else diet wise I should do?

        • then5925 says:

          I have a mare that was in shoes for nearly 20 years before she came to me. I’m pretty sure she has subclinical laminitis, though I haven’t had x-rays done. I am very careful with her diet–keep her muzzled most of the day, low sugar hay & feed (below 12% NSC). She still has flat soles though. We have the problem of too much green grass here and it’s not good. I’m in the process of building a ‘paddock paradise’ system to get my horses moving more and eating less grass. I really think movement is important to building the soles. You might check out my posts on iron overload and insulin resistance too. Is he being trimmed every four weeks? This is important, too or the walls tend to get too long.

          • Robynne Catheron says:

            The best way to thicken soles is to lead or ride him on hard-packed ground, like asphalt or concrete, or even frozen (but not icy, for safety reasons) ground, at least three or four times a week for at least 20 or 30 minutes.   Either walking or trotting is fine, whichever is more convenient for you and more comfortable for your horse.  Be consistent and dedicated for several weeks, or months, whatever it takes!  Winter time is ideal for this, because of the hard ground, and also because most people who shoe their horses will pull them off for the winter (thank goodness for at least that!).   Your horse definitely has to be barefoot for this to work, btw, because any peripheral growth wwon’t have anywhere to go – healthy growth is constrained by the metal shoes. 
            I have personally proven this method over and over, not only with my own horses but with many other horses whose owners were committed to improving the quality of their horses’ feet.  As an added bonus, the hoof walls will be tougher and harder, and the frog will be stronger!  Just make sure you have a natural barefoot trimmer (not a farrier), and more importantly, try to keep your horse on a three-to-four week trim schedule religiously throughout the year.  It’s best to maintain their hooves at the same length, and get out of the “let them grow and cut them off, let them grow and cut them off” cycle.   Exercise, frequent trimming, environment, diet and hoof supplements are the four major factors in a healthy, happy hoof, and not necessarily always in that order.

  3. You need to study Gene Ovnicek method of hoof mapping …I too used Pete’s methods for many years…while great for laminitis his method of trimming the heel should not be used long term because it locks the horse into under-running heels. Pete’s trim also over trims at the Pillars so your horses never gain maximum sole deepth and concavity.

    • Casie says:

      I have read about Gene Ovnicek and his four-point trim. Can you explain how Pete’s method of heel trimming sets the horse up for under-run heels? I’ve not had this problem at all, and I’ve been using his methods for the last four years or so.

  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 […]

  2. October 25, 2013

    […] Part 1: The Sole […]

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