You can see in the first trim pics these hooves were a huge mess. This 31 year old Stallion had foundered so badly in both fronts he had abcessed twice through his front wall leaving 2 large splits on his right front. You can see in the first trim I beveled the wall to sole level and took the toes back on the hinds. I only trimmed one heel on the left front to balance it with the height of the other heel. The second pic is when I went back for the second trim, I could hardly believe the amazing changes.......The frogs improved, the heels came back on there own and the hooves have become more balanced. When we copy what the ground would do, hooves heel themselves. You can see how little I did to this hoof. I trimmed this old guy a few more times, but unfortunately he bit someone very aggressively so his owner thought it best to put him down.
These sole pics are very typical of what I see when I first start trimming a horse.
Very contracted forward heels. Stretched, long, weak frog. Sole imbalance. Heel imbalance. Long toes. Deep central sulcus and infection in the frog. And weak heel bulbs.
A simple trim addressing the toe.
Oops I missed one sole shot!
One month later you can see the heels are starting to open, the frog has started to widen. In the first trim I didn't even touch the heels, but you can see in theses pics the heels have come back on their own and become more balanced. Central sulcus is opening and the frog health looks better.
A simple trim addressing the toe.
Jump to September
You can see these hooves just keep getting better. Bigger healthier frogs and heel bulbs, the heels are more balanced and have come back even more and the there is a better general sole balance. The toes are coming back to the place the want to be.
The important thing to understand is I never trimmed these heels, I only addressed the toe and trimmed the wall to sole level.
These hooves are more balanced and have healed themselves.
Blaze a clients horse.
Unfortunately I lost the first set of pictures from Blazes first trim, his toes were so long there was separation at the toe between the hoof wall and white line and he had shaving jammed in these cracks, the January pic is 2 trims later. By August you can see the improvement in the frog size and health, the heel bulbs are much bigger and also improved. Frog and heel symmetry have also improved. When I started trimming this big guy he had very long toes, it could be seen clearly in the wrong angle of his hoof to pastern, this totally changed after addressing the toe, only trimming from the sole of the hoof. And again you can see I did almost nothing to his heels, at the seat of the corn. This horse spent a lot of time in his stall, so his toes really had little natural wear. As much movement as possible for your barefoot horse is the best remedy...... for good hoof health.
You may be thinking..... these sole shots don't look very pretty. What they are is, truly NATURAL. They are hooves/soles responding to their environment and the ground, with little human interference.
The important part to understand is these hooves land heel first, no longer have long toes and are balanced, sound and are able to go without boots.
My 4 Year Old Mare, Hara.
My personal case study.
I bought Hara as a foal, she had never had a trim. At the time I was just starting my HGM education and did not start trimming her right away. My trimmer at the time said not to trim her. Awhile later I learned foals after birth, should be trimmed every 2 weeks IF they need it. Never the less her feet where not in terrible shape when I started her trimming. Once I started I would check every 2 weeks and as I remember she did need a trim each time. When she got closer to 3 years old that’s when the trims started to get further apart, 4 weeks or 5 weeks apart. It’s important to keep young hooves balanced. As you can see from this recent pic of her soles her hooves are beautiful and she moves soundly on any type of ground. These pics where taken after Hara’s trim 4 weeks ago. No wall above the sole, so I will give her another week and see if she needs a trim then. The really amazing thing I want to share is, I rarely ever trimmed her heels! Just addressing the toe and wall. These heels were not trimmed last trim. Movement is really the key to healthy hooves and of course a natural trim, HGM.