We had a very interesting weekend. We competed in the Texas Trail Challenge CTR in Whitney, Texas. It has turned out to be a such beautiful spring in Texas, and what a difference from last spring and summer. We finally received some rain over the winter and spring, and the wild flowers are in full bloom. Friend and Natural Hoof Care Practitioner Trista Lutz was at the ride with her beautiful 7 year old daughter, Dani. Trista and I have been talking about her doing Newt’s feet, but unfortunately she lives about 5 hours away.

We know of no natural hoof practitioners close to where I live. I have been studying up on natural hoof care, but have never really seen a trim, and frankly, I am afraid of trimming Newt’s feet. The Natural Hoof Care Practitioner I used for about 2 years has moved. I rarely saw him work, as I would drop Newt off for his trim at the farm where he was working. My current farrier does a good job, but is of the old school. Newt’s toe cracks were worsening and now he is getting quarter cracks, which he has never had before. Of course, my current farrier wants to put shoes on to correct the cracks. Help!

Trista took a look at Newt and said no problem. She pointed out that his heels were a little long, and his soles were flat and a little thin. She explained the cracks were from all of the peripheral loading. He has decent hoof walls, just too many of the wrong kind of forces working to cause the cracks. Things I kind of knew, but was not sure of how to handle. Trista trimmed him, explaining all the while what she was doing and why. I took pictures, and really tried to eel the wall and waterline relationship. One of the most interesting things I noticed after Trista trimmed Newt’s feet was the sound of his feet hitting the ground. Instead of the usual clip-clop, I now heard pad-pad. I was thinking, “Now I know why the Indians always snuck up on the settlers – their horses must have had much more natural feet. No long hoof wall to make clip-clop sounds!” I know his feet are not perfect, but I feel like we are improving.

Left front after trimming. You can see the right front without the trim.

Right front trimmed, left front still untrimmed.

Hind foot before finishing the trim.

Working on the hind. Notice the miracle rasp.

My job now is to try to keep Newt where he is through weekly rasping of his hooves. I rasped some yesterday. Don’t think I did any harm, but unsure if I did enough. We are at the beginning of a huge learning curve.

Trista also gave me one of her old rasps. What a difference! My old rasp was difficult to use, hard to cut with and very grabby. Trista’s worn out Vallorbe Swiss rasp is amazing. It cuts so easily and smoothly. Who knew there was such a difference in rasps?

I also re-measured Newt’s feet for the new Glove Back Country boots and Easyboot Trails. We have been wearing the Easyboot Gloves for over 2 years. I wish I had saved my measurements from the first time, but I do remember his measurements did not really correspond to the size that actually fit best. The measurements I took yesterday indicate he needs different sizes. Guess I’ll try another fit kit and see if his feet have really changed over the last few years. The Gloves seem to fit well now, even the new ones I ordered about 4 months ago. Trista also suggested adding pads to help his soles out. Hopefully, Trista and I can get together at future TTC rides and keep Newt’s feet healthy.  I am so looking forward to this journey in natural hoof trimming.

Carol Warren