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bare foot trimming
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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poppy
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 Posted: Thu Jun 18th, 2009 07:25 pm
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Hi I have not been on this forum for a while so forgive me if this is a topic which has already been discussed at length.

My mare has low grade foot pain ,she stumbles and I think is trying to keep the weight off her heels,she has quite small upright feet with poor growth and not alot of wall to put shoes in to,

My farrier does his best and seems open to new ideas ,my vet is thinking about navicular,( she is due to go for X rays next week) as the nerve blocks did suggest pain in the back of the foot.

Does anyone have any experience of remedial shoeing, [glue-on] shoes or if bare foot trimming is any good/

Last edited on Thu Jun 18th, 2009 09:30 pm by DrDeb

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jun 18th, 2009 09:24 pm
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Poppy, the only kind of trimming I know of is done on unshod or "bare" feet. ALL trimming is "barefoot" trimming.

What you are really suggesting here, however, by using the term, is that you are thinking of possibly employing somebody that bills himself or herself as a "barefoot trimmer". You need to be cautious about doing this.

The reality is there are two types of people who try to work on horses' feet: those that are improperly or partially trained; and those who know what they are doing.

There is no possibility of putting a shoe on a foot unless the foot has first been trimmed. So that trimming must always precede shoeing, whether shoeing then occurs or not.

However, it is quite true that there are many farriers who do not understand trimming for what it is truly worth. Such a farrier has it in his or her mind that the main purpose of the trim is to "prepare the foot to receive the shoe" -- not to trim the foot with any orthopedic purpose in mind.

For to meet an orthopedic objective is the ONE AND ONLY reason anyone should ever put either knife or iron to a horse's foot. The primary objective to an orthopedic trim is to use that trim to foster the greatest ease and range of motion to all the joints from the coffin join upwards.

The main objective is not to make the hoof capsule look any certain way; although it's a guarantee that, if the objective of trimming is orthopedic, over successive trims the hoof capsule will be taken from its original abnormal shape to a normal or near-normal, self-maintaining shape.

Just as we have quite a few farriers who do not understand this, we have today a fad for so-called "barefoot trimmers." Some of these people have absolutely wild or wrong ideas that will do instant and irrevocable harm to your horse. Others have abandoned the "licenses" that the original and worst "barefoot school" gave them, because as they gained experience -- you see most of them were completely untrained to begin with and that is how they could believe such a mass of scaremongering and wrongheaded ideas -- so, as I say, as they gained experience they saw that they could not and should not do those things, and their trimming then became identical to that executed by any correctly-trained farrier. And, I repeat: all correct and beneficial trims are othopedic in design and intention.

The first person I would send you to, to educate yourself further about hoof trimming, is Gene Ovnicek -- who will warn you about over-knifing the sole and who will teach you about how to fix hooves that have gotten out of fore-aft (A-P or antero-posterior) balance. You should also familiarize yourself with Chris Pollitt's atlas of hoof anatomy (to learn hoof microstructure), and any papers by Mike Bowker (on the innervation of the foot, especially with regard to proprioception as it relates to heel-strike). Bowker and Ovnicek have recently been doing tremendous work on American Mustangs, work that is paralleled in Australia by Chris Pollitt's team working on Brumbies. Much is now being learned about how different our domestic horses' feet are from those of the feral animals, who cover more ground every day and who generally live on very unforgiving substrates. Beware, however, of pseudo-scientific books written by people who claim to be Native Americans on the subject of mustangs or "natural hoof trimming" -- these publications are part of the wrong education and scaremongering. When you think about it, Poppy, you see -- there can be no such thing as "natural" hoof trimming. It is either correct hoof trimming, or wrongheaded hoof trimming -- whether it is executed by a Native American or by someone of any other ancestry.

I would also have you go over to a recent previous thread in this Forum that deals with trimming, and read the whole thing and see what the correctly-trained person who is doing those diagrams has to teach you.

And finally, if you don't own the 2003 "Inner Horseman" disk that deals with Orthopedics in Horseshoeing, then you might like to get that by going to our "Members" section at the main website (click on "home" button above).

Now, Poppy, what I want you to do is take this letter and print it out, and show it to the veterinarian with whom you are working. And you should then listen to his or her advice as to whom to employ to work on your horse's feet, and then you let them do their job. You, the veterinarian, and the farrier are the management team who can, by working together, get your horse normal and sound as she was born to be. -- Dr. Deb

poppy
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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2009 12:14 pm
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Dr Deb

thankyou for your sound advice and atking the time to answer my question.

My instinct is to follow the advice of my vet and farrier but as I respect your opinion on this sort of thing I just wanted to run it past you as there seems to be so much information available that it is not always easy to know what to take notice of and what to dismiss.

I will go back to the previous forum topic on trimming


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