Hoof trimming applies to multiple species, but in this case we are going to focus on horses. Hoof trimming is a part of an ongoing regimen of care for services provided by farriers or by individuals practicing barefoot trimming. Improper care of the hoof can lead to a variety of ailments and discomfort for the horse. This can be thought of as the normal care associated with maintaining a healthy horse.
Trimming also serves a dual purpose as a corrective measure for certain issues like laminitis (Founder), fracture of the navicular bone, navicular disease, sandcrack, white line disease (WLD, seedy toe, hollow wall), and sheared heels. In this case trimming is meant to heal the horse.
Hoof trimming typically begins by cleaning out the hoof area using a brush or other methods. Next the heel is filed down using a rasp. The goal is to leave a thin line of hoof wall to avoid the horse being on their sole. A hoof knife is then often used to take down the bars. Measuring the heels to make sure they are the same length is a good next step. The sole and frog area are generally not touched. Finally a bevel is added using a rasp to the hoof wall. Part of the goal is to mimic normal wear and tear of a wild horse.
Those who favor barefoot trimming over shoeing their horses do so for a variety of reasons. The most common are that wild horses are not shoed and survived for millions of years. Second, shoeing can lead to negative outcomes for some horses like pain and lameness. Most agree that there are cases when a horse should go barefoot and there are cases when a horse should be shoed. The greatest source of contention is whether a horse should never be shoed. The opinions are strong in this case on each side and generally focus on whether human intervention (shoeing) does greater harm than good and whether “natural” is preferable in all circumstances. Here are some articles on the topic:
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March 10, 2022
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