What Is Barefoot Trimming?

What Is Barefoot Trimming?

Barefoot trimming is the trend towards not utilizing horseshoes in favor of leaving the hooves natural. It typically involves ongoing maintenance of the hoof that mirrors the natural wear and tear a hoof would experience in the wild.


The strongest arguments in favor of it are typically tied to several elements:

  1. Horse shoes may not be right for horses suffering from various ailments or recovering from a traumatic injury. This is the least controversial of the arguments as it places the horse’s own health above all else. In this situation the horse may remain barefoot during the period of recovery or may never be shod again due to their unique needs.
  2. Next some argue that a more natural approach is simply better. It generally turns on the idea that human intervention creates new issues that a horse in the wild would not experience and returning them to the most natural state possible improves the health of the horse overall. This is controversial as the premise has been refuted by individuals like Dr. Dave Ramey. To read more on this and see more in-depth academic articles on the topic check out this blog. The crux of his argument is that there is no single natural shape of the hoof and that there is no evidence that a lack of human intervention leads to healthier hooves in the wild based on peer-reviewed journals. His point is that sometimes horse shoes are necessary and sometimes barefoot is best, but asserting that one or the other is right in all circumstances may lead to negative outcomes for the horse. Barefoot trimming experts point to their own anecdotal experience and emerging research as to how effective trimming can strengthen the hoof. See this article for more details supporting this claim. Both sides would likely agree that the success of hoof trimming for both barefoot or shod horses is dependent on the horse’s individual needs and the skill of the person administering the trim.

If you have more specific questions about barefoot trimming we can assist HERE.




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