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barefoot trim
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DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 04:46 pm
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Yes -- those, and others. The only protection any person has from this is knowledge. The person paying the bills is the boss. That means the woman who owns the horse and pays the farrier is the farrier's boss.

This does not mean that the horse owner has to know more about farriery than the farrier. It DOES mean that she is responsible for what the farrier does -- to be the boss means to be responsible.

In order to be responsible, the boss at General Motors does not have to know more about car engineering than the engineers. But he does have to know ENOUGH so that he knows if unsafe stuff is being designed into the cars, or if shoddy work is being done, or if stuff is being done just because it is currently fashionable.

This is why I produced the 2003 "Inner Horseman" disk: because knowledge is power, and, insofar as everyone who owns a horse is responsible for every single thing that happens to that horse, then everyone needs power.

I know of no good farrier who does not rejoice when the customer becomes more knowledgeable. -- Dr. Deb

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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 06:03 pm
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"Sunny, you have it exactly backwards. Strasser started the fad, and followed it up with her own pyramid scheme and "licensing".
Ramey and others came later, out of the general reaction to the errors and dangerous and destructive procedures advocated by Strasser."

I only said she was an extremist. The actual work (concurrently with Jackson's studies of feral horses) was done in the 80s.

Joe
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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 09:46 pm
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Agree fully, taking "woman" of course in a gender inclusive sense.  Hehehe.

J

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 Posted: Thu Dec 18th, 2008 12:46 am
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The 2003 Inner Horseman is a great resource. Dr. Deb is exactly right, you need to consider orthopedics first.

The best farrier I ever had (who unfortunately retired) looked at the hooves last. He took note of the horses conformation first. He also said the trim was where about 90% of the job was. A farrier could forge some beautiful shoes, even put their initials, or a symbol on them, but they were crap if the trim wasn't done properly.

I unfortunately know that first hand. I used a shoer who did beautiful forge work, and even stamped a little flower symbol on the shoes. Over time though my mare's beautiful lope felt worse and worse. I also noticed her hooves looked really strange. The shoer bragged about how much fantastic hoof wall he was helping my mare grow.

I did some research - all of this fantastic hoofwall he was bragging about (like he was the one growing the hooves) was all flares. He kept forging beautiful shoes to cover the ever expanding flares.

As an experiment I had him leave her barefoot behind. She self-trimmed those flares off in two days. I didn't call him back.

The next shoer kept orthopedics in mind when he set her feet up. Just like that her fantastic lope was back.

That said my current 3 are barefoot, each requiring something a little bit different to keep them where they need to be.

I think we all know this, but the professionals we employ to help us with our horses really appreciate having a clean, well-lit area to work; a mannerly horse to work with, who is already caught and cleaned up; and prompt payment.

miriam
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 Posted: Thu Dec 18th, 2008 08:04 pm
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Is the "barefoot" trim like the "founder" trim? I've recently heard people talking about finding someone to provide the founder trim for their lame horse.

AdamTill
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 Posted: Thu Dec 18th, 2008 10:09 pm
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miriam wrote: Is the "barefoot" trim like the "founder" trim? I've recently heard people talking about finding someone to provide the founder trim for their lame horse.
There isn't really any such thing as a "founder trim" any more than there's a "barefoot trim"...it's just good trimming that works with the horse, or bad trimming that doesn't.

For example, here's a photo collage:


This is my new Icelandic horse's right front foot. His breeder had kept him in a field with alfalfa, knee deep grass, and clover, and so his diet wasn't helping his feet any. Also, the farrier who had trimmed him a week prior to the middle photo being taken hadn't really understood what was going on, and so didn't properly adjust his breakover (too much toe HEIGHT taken, too little toe LENGTH taken).

If you think about how a hoof is traditionally prepared to take a shoe, the bottom surface of the hoof is rasped flat. If breakover needs to be addressed, it's most often done with the shoe itself (ie a rolled toe ground into the shoe). As a result, the farrier here had left the horse's (pony's?) toe too long...the light blue line on the markup is where breakover should have been set.

The photo on the right shows how I altered the hoof trim to better adjust breakover. Since I wasn't 100% sure on how he would take to the adjustment (and pony-sized feet were messing with my sense of perspective), I didn't quite go as far as I probably could have. That's one of the advantages of working on your own horse...can make changes slowly.

So, again, there is no founder trim...there's just being able to see the coffin bone in the hoof, and removing the hoof that's perpetuating the founder condition. The skill comes in knowing what to to remove, and how much can be removed at any one given time.

Edit - found another example:



Got called in to look at a foundered pony for a friend, as a second opinion. The farrier had come out and set his trim at the light blue lines, so the breakover was about right.

He hadn't got the heels correct though...the green angled lines are where I would have worked towards. This sort of thing is a lot of why I think founders end up as management cases...even when there isn't bone loss or something else causing permanant lameness. If the rotation isn't dealt with, and proper landing forces restored, then the hoof can't heal since the toe stretch is perpetuated.

Like above, though, this isn't a founder trim. It's the same principles that apply to trimming a more healthy hoof.

PS - the degree of rotation was confirmed on xray




Last edited on Thu Dec 18th, 2008 11:08 pm by AdamTill

AdamTill
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 Posted: Thu Dec 18th, 2008 10:36 pm
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Helen - it's possible to get some horses shod in such a way that the frog is at the level of the shoe even on hard ground, but it's unusual.

Think about whether that's even an issue though - do you work your horse exclusively on concrete? In sand, barefoot or shod, the frog is making ground contact. You can trim a barefoot horse so that the frog is out of ground contact on hard ground too, if you're not careful.

Shoeing does restrict the expansion of the hoof, which isn't a good thing. It also loads the wall in ways that nature didn't intend, so you get primary weight bearing on the outer wall. In my experience that tends to do things like reduced thickness of the inner wall (stratum internum, excreted by the laminae), and promotes flares, so shoeing should be done judiciously. For SOME conditions, though, you can't quite get the same effect with boots or casts (ie hospital plates, massive ortho corrections etc).

The most justifiable use of non-corrective shoeing is to work a horse on terrain that it isn't used to, or conditioned for. Boots can normally be used IF the owner is willing to learn how to use them, though sometimes that can mess with gait patterns due to the added weight. One trimmer friend I know leaves an extra ring of growth below the live sole plane for horses that are ridden on hard ground, but live on soft...if the hoof can take that without flaring, it's a bit like a "natural shoe". Different strokes for different folks.

Tutora - the Equus article was a good one. My first horse was one of those "navicular" horses whose feet weren't savable shod - when I pulled his bar shoes he had so much distortion that he came down two Easyboot sizes in a year growing out all that flare. What little benefit there was to keeping him shod was being lost in rampant flare, and as a result, massive and imbalanced distal decent of the coffin bone. Tough to correct that shod.

Sunnyriot - just as a warning, don't take the live sole plane as 100% reliable. There are a select few cases where you need to take other things into account. I was once called in to work on a horse whose hind cannon bones would displace  4-6" medially at the hock on takeoff, then about the same laterally on landing. BIG stress on the joints. The true live sole plane showed that the hoof was healthy, but I suspected that the coffin bone wasn't aligned ground-parallel mediolaterally. Xrays that the vet took proved me right. Sighting down the limb was mind-blowing, since the plane of the heels was differnt then the plane of the bottom of the frog by about 20 degrees, and neither was perpendicular to the limb (nobody used a t-square designing this horse)

Trimming consisted of having to cut into the live sole plane on the lower heel to gradually reduce the hock wobble, but not so much as to ever make the horse lame. Took a while, but we got him "normal" again, and he was never lamer after the trim then before. Felt wrong to do that, but the needs of the body overrode the needs of the hoof in that case. I think the live sole plane was as off as it was simply because the horse had been that way for so long.

Helen
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 Posted: Fri Dec 19th, 2008 02:09 am
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Thanks Adam, that's really interesting and makes sense.

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 Posted: Sat Dec 20th, 2008 05:05 am
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This is really interesting. The examples you provide, are amazing.

I am a recent convert to barefoot after a lifetime of having my horses shod.

I have been doing a lot of research into the trimming styles and after looking at various horses owned by many people with differing styles of trims from Strasser to Ramey to your 'average trim', I have to say Pete Ramey's method by far makes the most sense.

I can't believe how amazing the hooves of horses trimmed in the 'Ramey way' (as in Adams photographs) are. A woman I have been working with can trot her horse very comfortably on gravel!!! The horse doesn't even seem to notice.

To allow the hoof to naturally come back to the concave sole and lowered heels with no flare, makes so much sense I can't believe I've had my poor horses in shoes for so long.

It was the examples of bad trimming where horses were obviously in pain - of which I had seen too much, that was putting me off. Now finally I am seeing truly great examples of tremendous hoof work resulting in very sound happy horses. This to me is extremely exciting.

As with everything with horses, I learn something new everyday and shift my paradigms accordingly - if something new makes my horse  happier in his work and play, I'm willing to rethink anything I have learned before.

Cheers

Joe
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 Posted: Sat Dec 20th, 2008 02:42 pm
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Friends:

I really didn't want to press this any further, but the term "barefoot," and the notion that this is something new should be ditched permanently right away.  As Dr. Deb pointed out, there is only ONE good way for your horse to be trimmed (and that is individual to your horse and its needs).  This is not a revelation.  It was well known long before any of our grandparents were born.  My adoptive paternal grandfather started working life in his father's commercial blacksmith and farriery operation in turn-of-the-century Chicago.  They were the top of the trade and did the fire-horses for the city and lots of animals, including the pick of the region's pleasure horses.  Grandfather was a close observer of horses, and well understood most of what we have been discussing (absent the X-rays).  He was also an exceedingly competent horseman with a symnpathy for the animal and considerable insight into its mental processes.  Dr. Deb would have liked him.

A lifetime later, but still over 30 years ago in my early working life on horse farms in the 1970s, we assumed that horses were better off unshod unless there was a reason to shoe.  We ourselves understood only the rudiments of trimming, unfortunately, but we were a bunch of kids.  However, we were well aware of frog pressure, etc.  There were many people who were quite fluent in all of the essentials.  These essentials are not new. What is genuinely new is veterinary technology that allows us deeper insights and understanding of the whys and wherefores.

Please, everyone, disassociate yourselves from "barefoot" and  pursue the art and science of trimming and shoeing without "barefoot's" toxic baggage.  The "barefoot" movement has certainly attracted many good and well meaning people, but it is is full of quacks and worse.  It is simply true that many horses should go unshod, and regardless, they all need to be trimmed properly.  That is all we need as a basis.

Joe

Leah
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 Posted: Sat Dec 20th, 2008 03:26 pm
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Joe, many are not quacks-sweeping statements are only going to bring about emotions on the topic.

I have invested the last 5 years (not terribly long but longer than it was 4 years ago) in educating myself and some of the BEST information came from trim workshops and clinics-there is GREAT detail offered in structure and function of structures.

On the other hand, I could provide hundreds of photos of the work of some local farriers that would leave the most simple minded person aghast.

I am not saying all farriers are bad either-but there are so many poorly shod horses that it is obvious why the demand for hoof care education-and many 'barefooters' have filled that void.

Just my experience.

Joe
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 Posted: Sat Dec 20th, 2008 05:08 pm
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You are quite right on all counts.  They are not all quacks, and many farriers are simply atrocious.  Like the hapless Light Brigade in the Crimea, for us there is no safe haven; there are cannons to the left of us and cannons to the right of us that thunder and volley, in this case quacks and incompetents from both sides wrecking our poor beasts' feet.

That said, the banner "barefoot" was originally hoisted by questionable people using barbaric methods based on simplistic concepts, and it has flown over enough quacks to rival the mallard flocks of the great central flyway.

Consider the totality of what I have said, rather than reacting to a few words.
  1. Unshod is a good way for many horses to be;
  2. Shod or unshod, the feet need to be trimmed to the best advantage OF THE HORSE;
  3. Relatively -- note the word -- little of this is new, BUT;
  4. Any genuine research in the area should be received warmly and considered carefully; 
  5. As Dr. Deb said, you need to know the basics yourself, in order to shield yourself from the quacks and incompetents no matter whether they call themselves farriers or trimmers;
  6. I can't assess all "barefoot" seminar-givers, of course, or even most of them, but the considerable reading I have done in the area suggests that they give very short shrift to the case for shoes -- theirs is a "movement."  This leaves them and their disciples with an intentionally incomplete knowledge of their subject.
  7. However, as Paul Simon  wrote in the old classic song,  THE BOXER, "a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."

Leah
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 Posted: Sat Dec 20th, 2008 05:43 pm
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The problem (as I have seen it) is that if a farrier does a poor shoeing job, likely his trim is not much better. The next problem is numbers alone means any horseman will likely see more bad farrier work than good-the same will be said as we see more and more trimmers. The same can be said of trainers or anything. Quantity leaves quality quite lonely.


I do keep my horses barefoot so won't extend my observations beyond that-but I prefer to look to the results of the individual work first, leaving titles and pigeons holes out of the equation.

There are 2 'gurus' that I can think of off the top of my head that have no guilt in leaving a little blood-but the rest of the 'barefooters' actually promote very safe trims styles.

At least that has been my experience. While there may be subtle differences, the basic concepts are safe starting points.

It really is a shame this valley exists-it makes it very frustrating for owners and it is only the horses that suffer.

I guess my only point is, whether the ideas are new, used, old, marketed, sold or given away, the information provided by many of these 'barefooters' is valuable and not previously readily available to the average horse owner-so in my book, that makes it worthy of consideration.

Joe
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 Posted: Sat Dec 20th, 2008 06:21 pm
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Well, right.  We leave ours unshod most of the time, too, unless there is a reason to shoe.

I agree that IF the information is good, horsemen should look to it.  The problem with the "barefoot" movement is that is has been so contaminated by the quacks that the name means nothing, and if owners are attracted to it for some reason, they may get good information, but they are just as likely to get pure D hogwash, or outright damaging practices.  A fairly small percentage of owners have the basic knowledge to sort the good from the bad.  Thereby hangs the tale.

Unfortunately, the horse world is a quack magnet.  I don't know why, but silly or outright bad ideas easily take the wings of fad and fly through the horse barns of the world like bats around a New England belfry.  Quackery, fraud, and incompetence abound.

I spent a good deal of my life around competitive horses of several breeds and disciplines.  I still love and study horses, but I pretty much stay away from organized horsedom, and view practitioners of "new" and odd concepts with great caution.  Sometimes they have genuine new or rediscovered knowledge, but usually they don't.

Joe

Last edited on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 06:23 pm by Joe

Leah
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 Posted: Sat Dec 20th, 2008 06:50 pm
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And hence the beauty of forums like this one and others :-)

A chance to share tested and true information to make the job a little easier for the next horse owner!


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