"Barefoot Trim" has a few meanings and definitions, but the defining attribute of a barefoot trim is that the hoof is left bare (shoeless) after the trim! Seriously, that's about all it means...
Barefoot trimming is somewhat different than the typical American Farriers Association type trims. Horses that are kept barefoot usually need all of the sole material left intact. If a horse is to wear shoes, then the sole can usually be trimmed and exfoliated with the hoof knife. The horse is to remain barefoot then this extra sole material helps give the horse more protection against the hard ground.
Another hallmark trait of any barefoot trim is the mustang roll of the toe. Basically this means that the toe of the hoof is rounded and rolled into the white line. Typically if a horse is to wear shoes, this toe is left a bit flatter and with a sharper edge. Leaving that flat sharp edge on a Barefoot horse can cause cracking and chipping prematurely.
Barefoot trims generally encourage a slightly lower heel that allows the frog to contact the ground. Heels should never be lowered if the horse is already struggling with a low hoof angle.
The horse in nature will generally travel many miles per day in search of grazing lands, a water source, and shelter. When our domestic equines are placed into box stalls or small paddocks, the toes can grow very long very quickly. The horse is designed for travel and when we take away their traveling abilities, it is up to the hoof care professional to make sure that the foot is short and in balance.
In my opinion there is not anything that can ruin a hoof quite like a long toe can. The longer and more stretched that the toe is allowed to grow, the thinner the sole becomes, the weaker the heels, the bars collapse and the frog stretches and thins.
Horses of particular breeds or in certain discipline s are encouraged to grow a long toe in order to influence the gait or movement. For example, many horse people believe that gaited breeds must have a long and heavy toe to cause them to gait properly. Increasing the lever arm distance at the end of the hoof will encourage the horse to lift the knees higher end extend the limbs farther to overcome the leverage.
Barefoot trimming is no respecter of discipline or breed! Above and beyond everything else, a horse is a horse. The desired knee action or elevated gait is a human oriented "need" that has no purpose or value to the horse.
High quality Barefoot trim styles go by different names and have been developed by different professional experts but the goal is always the same...soundless and balance!
Hoof balance means that the foot is centered perfectly underneath the bone column of the distal limb and that the foot is set up to function properly on all dimensions.
If a properly balanced hoof were to be x-rayed, we would see that all of the bones line up correctly and that the sole depth is uniformly thick and adequate.
If a heel is left too high, or the toe is interfering with balance, the hoof can suffer shearing, cracks, pain or lack of performance.
The ideal situation for equine hooves is to wear down a bit every day so that wear and growth are equal. This is largely how feral and wild horse hooves maintain health and function.
In our domesticated horses, we have to trim hooves on a cycle that stays ahead of growth and maintains balance. If cycle length is too great, the horse is subjected to a huge change when all the length is removed at once. It is much better to trim more frequently and remove less hoof material.
Generally cycle length of 5-8 weeks is sufficient. Any longer than this and the horse is left out of balance for too long before being trimmed again. Longer cycle lengths also allow infections like thrush to grow unchecked.n
Untreated hoof infections lead to cracking, breaking and chipping, lameness and hoof dysfunction. I like to use CleanTrax hoof soak, White Lightning and ThrushBuster to control most hoof infections. If a more natural approach is preferred, then a mixture of apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil and zinc oxide are also beneficial.
Regularly scheduled hoof trims are very important because long, weak hoof walls will break and crack, allowing infection to enter deep in the hoof
Maintaining a Barefoot lifestyle with healthy, strong feet requires a well-balanced diet full of protein, vitamins and minerals and amino acids.
Large amounts of sugar in the diet can lead to sore soles and poor hoof quality. Diets heavy in sweet feed and cereal grains like corn are rarely healthy. Hoof quality and healcth can be improved by using high quality forage augmented with vitamins and minerals and healthy fat sources if weight is needed.
For many years I have relied on diets heavy in unmolassed beet pulp, Timothy pellets, flax seed, rice bran and corn oil. Quality supplements such as EquiVM, Grand Hoof, Farriers Formula, or any of the SmartPak brand vitamin/mineral and hoof supplements are great.
Hairlines become jammed, typically at the quarters, when the hoof wall grows longer than the toe or the heel. If not trimmed regularly or sufficiently, this extra long wall pushes up at the coronary band. This enormous amount of stress causes lameness, side bone, and quarter cracks. I fix these jammed hairlines by trimming the wall down l
Hairlines become jammed, typically at the quarters, when the hoof wall grows longer than the toe or the heel. If not trimmed regularly or sufficiently, this extra long wall pushes up at the coronary band. This enormous amount of stress causes lameness, side bone, and quarter cracks. I fix these jammed hairlines by trimming the wall down lower than the surrounding structures. Usually within minutes the hairline is visibly straight again!
Chronically unbalanced feet lead to hoof tubules that grow in a bent, weak manner. The longer these imbalances remain, the more stress is placed on the bones and soft tissue. Heels will roll under the hoof, heels can shear, cracks form, and later we start seeing radiographic changes to the joint and bone surfaces. Ringbone, sidebone, popped splints,
Chronic thrush causes a deep Central sulcus crack to develop in the frog. This crack becomes infected with anaerobic bacteria. This means that the bacteria thrives in an environment void of oxygen. Healthy frog tissue is destroyed and can spread quite deeply in a short period of time. Chronic thrush leads to a weak and sore heel that can
Chronic thrush causes a deep Central sulcus crack to develop in the frog. This crack becomes infected with anaerobic bacteria. This means that the bacteria thrives in an environment void of oxygen. Healthy frog tissue is destroyed and can spread quite deeply in a short period of time. Chronic thrush leads to a weak and sore heel that can cause marked lameness. Treating this thrush is critical for soundness.
There are many options available for treating thrush but over the years, I've developed a few favorite s. ThryshBuster or ThrushRid are great if the feet can only be treated sporadically. This is a strong preparation which will knock out all infection with only a few applications, provided that regular maintenance trimming is performed so the frog does not become overgrown.
I also like to use a mixture of 40% zinc oxide cream, which is commonly known as desitin diaper rash cream, Neosporin, clotrimazole, and tea tree oil. All of these products can be bought at most local pharmacies. These products can be mixed in a tub and then applied daily to the frog. Clotrimazole is a cream used to treat jock itch or athlete's foot. It comes in a small little tube that's usually a couple of dollars. If you cannot find this drug exactly, there are several other drugs labeled for fungus that can be used with no problem.
Text or Call (920) 419-7447
Copyright © 2021 - All Photos and Content are Owned by High Performance Hoof Care, LLC. The information on this site is strictly for informational purposes and not meant to represent or replace the advice of a licensed veterinarian. None of the information here is intended as a diagnosis or treatment plan.
Powered by GoDaddy and Coffee