New for December, 2007: updates!

Original text and photos taken in July of 2007...  Here are some pictures of some of our horses' feet.  Unless otherwise specified, they are all 26 days out from their last trim.  They all look pretty long and are due to be trimmed again now.  We try to trim at least every month to keep things from getting out of hand and to keep the edge from getting ragged.  They pretty much all look like they need their "mustang rolls" redone, and they look long overall, and they look like they need their quarter scooping touched up.

I apologize for the pictures; some are wide and some are skinny...

First we have Casper, a 9 year old gelding.  He was in shoes when we got him three or so years ago, but he had a GREAT farrier with his last owner; he actually had big juicy frogs that were touching the ground and bearing weight.  He was sound when we pulled his shoes and had no transition trouble. Update December '07: still going great barefoot.

Fronts from the left

Fronts from the right

Hinds from the left

Hinds from the right

Now we have Q, a 7 year old paint gelding.  His feet grow like crazy and his heels are too high already in these pictures.  Plus he needs more "scooping" or "floating" of the wall at the quarters, to lower that upward bulging of his coronary band.  Otherwise, he looks great.  Q was a reining show horse stallion before we got him and he had been in shoes all his life. He had tiny, high, tube-like feet with VERY contracted heels.  His feet have grown and spread out quite a bit.  That process was not always comfortable for him but he was never out and out lame - just sometimes a bit tenderfooted.  Update December '07: totally sound now barefoot, no more tender feet.

Fronts from the left

Fronts from the right

Hinds from the left

Hinds from the right



Next up is Rain.  Rain is the reason we started this style of trimming, as she was a sinker and not getting any better with traditional farriery (shoes with frog support pads.)  You can see more of her and read her story here:  Update December '07: still going great barefoot.  Totally sound all the time.

Rain fronts from left

Rain fronts from right

Rain hinds from left

Rain hinds from right

This is Pluto.  He's always sound and has great feet.  He was in shoes when we got him 3 or so years ago.  He went right into barefoot with no trouble.  Update December '07: still going great barefoot.

I took some ones from the front also on him to show medial/lateral balance.  Many horses are accidentally or ignorantly trimmed to be inside high, which causes pelvis/hip pain.  You want the coronary band to be level with the same distance from the ground on both the medial and lateral aspect.  This is very basic but in my experience MANY farriers do not achieve it.

Right front from the front

Right hind from the front

The horses above have been trimmed by a "barefoot natural hoofcare professional" for over two years now.  Tarzan and Forrest, below, are just getting started.  Tarzan is about 5 trims into it, and Forrest about 3.

Tarzan, TB gelding.  You can see he's got a low heel and a high one; we are gradually making them match.  He is sound.  He was a tiny bit off on the more underrun heel foot after his first trim, but that was about 5 months ago and he's been sound ever since.  Update December '07: still going great barefoot, totally sound.

Forrest, TB gelding.  He has always been in shoes.  After he raced, he was a jumper and did dressage.  Forrest was subjected to a partial hoof wall resection in his last home, several months ago, so the vet could look for a suspected abscess.  His xrays show pedal osteitis, a demineralization of the front of the coffin bone, due to chronic high heels and the sheer force that such a state places on the coffin bone.  A diehard barefoot type would say he was also lame from the shoes reducing the circulation to the feet, causing the inflammation to be unable to clear.  He was lame as could be in bar shoes with pads, but he is MUCH better now and often totally sound barefoot.  Update December '07: still going great barefoot, totally sound now!

The fronts from the left.  That partial hoof wall resection from several months ago is what you see growing out.

The left hind from the left and then the right hind from the left (I didn't get them in the same frame)

The hinds from the right

These next two horses are no longer owned by us but they have been trimmed by the same guy.  In Roxy's case for a year and in George's case for almost two years, which comprised his whole life (he did have two trims by traditional farriers when he was a suckling foal.)

Roxy, 5 year old paint mare.  We bought her as a 4 year old.  She was shod each spring/summer/fall for work.  When we pulled her shoes she was very lame on her front right but after a couple weeks she was sound, and she's been sound ever since.  I thought she'd have more of a transition problem, but she didn't.  Update December '07: still going great barefoot, totally sound.  Roxy still lives here and was sound as could be at the gymkhana last week including on the VERY rocky ground at the entry gate. 

Her fronts from the left.  She has a "clubby" right front - the heel grows faster than on the left front.  It's looking high now because she's due for a trim.  When she's trimmed, her heel heights are equal. 

Here is George, two year old paint gelding.  He has GREAT feet.  His feet for his first two trims when he was still a suckling foal looked like the last horse in the series, chipping and cracking.  From his third trim on, he has been trimmed only by John Tucker, the "barefoot" trimmer, and his feet have never done that again.  Obviously he'll have no transition soreness since he hasn't been in shoes!  Update December '07: still going great barefoot, totally sound.


Here is a new boarder who had her shoes pulled about 3 months ago and has had two trims with our guy.
She looks great - long toes and needs to be trimmed again, but notice how her walls are not chipping and
cracking as horses often do when they go unshod after wearing shoes.  This is because she has been
properly trimmed with a "mustang roll."  She has very flat feet with no concavity - this will change with
more time and proper trimming.  I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have the right person
trimming.  When you pull shoes and a traditional farrier trims, your horses' feet break up and chip, and
you think oh no, my horse can't go unshod.  I know, I've been there.  But they can!  The feet do not have
to break up and chip and crack if they are trimmed properly.  Update December '07: still going great barefoot, totally sound.


This next horse lives here too - his owner is one of two I have who haven't switched to the barefoot guy. 
He is unshod, as you can see, but not properly trimmed.  Our horses all used to look like this also,
one or two or three weeks out from being trimmed when we were using a traditional farrier.  They
don't do enough of a "mustang roll" nor in my experience do they correct imbalances.  If there is an
imbalance, the hoof gets loaded unevenly which can contribute to problems.  Most farriers and even vets
will tell you that feet look like this due to genetics and/or diet.  But we know better, now.  All our horses'
feet used to look like this a couple of weeks after a trim, when the trim was by a traditional farrier.
None of them have had their DNA changed, and their diet is the same (and is the same as what this
fellow below is eating), but their feet do not chip and crack like this anymore.