Submitted by Anke Schreiber, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

The hoof specialist and farrier from Argentina, Daniel Anz, hosted several clinics in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He showed his trimming method called F-Balance to hoof care practitioners and farriers.

Daniel Anz

The F stands for flexibility. His take home message: the hoof is more flexible than the head. He trims the hoof according to three natural factors:

  1. Heel length: Anz found that every heel shows where it wants to be cut by showing a little crack or bend caused by the stress of the overgrown material. The distance from the stress point to the hairline happens to be the same medial and lateral and even the same on both limbs of the fronts or hinds.
  2. Sole level: the hoof wall should be trimmed to the level of the functional sole. The functional sole may not be cut.
  3. Hoof angle: the correct angle the hoof wants to grow can be determined by considering the upper growth of the hoof underneath the coronary band.

According to Daniel Anz, these factors can be applied to any hoof, no matter if it is supposed to be shod or stay barefoot.

Daniel Anz

He states: “What belongs to the horse, leave it to the horse. Only take away what has grown.” Does anything sound familiar to any of you?

When we practiced his method on cadaver hooves I found that I didn’t do anything different to what I usually do when trimming hooves after the principles of natural hoof care. Some of the attendant farriers held their breath when Daniel lowered the heels according to the stress point, since among farriers in Germany it is still a rule to leave the heels alone or cut them as little as possible. To most of the natural hoof care practitioners present Daniel’s method was a very helpful supplement for their work, but not a revolution.

One aspect of his concept, though, was revolutionary to all of us: trimming the heels to the same length medial and lateral (same length between heel and hairline) can lead to different heel heights, when one heel is compressed and pushed upwards. The amazing thing: shortly after the horse loads the foot, the compressed heel / wall relaxes and slips down to a normal position. This is possible because of the great flexibility of the hoof. I can remember having heard Pete Ramey speaking about adjusting the heel length rather than the heel height, but it never seemed as clear to me as it is now after watching Daniel Anz’s presentation.

same heel length, but different heel hight

when the horse loads the foot, the heel will relax and the foot will be balanced

My conclusion: anytime people listen to the horses and their very needs instead of holding on to whatever they have learned before, they come to similar results. For the benefit of the horses.

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Anke Schreiber