Caring for a barefoot hoof correctly calls for more than simply leaving off a shoe and filing the toe down every few weeks.
A healthy hoof in its natural environment does not just shorten itself. It sculpts itself to its physiologically correct and functional form. There is nothing flat in a healthy hoof.
A “physiologically correct” bare hoof trim is modeled after a healthy, self-trimming hoof as we would find it in the wild. Every feature of the hoof has a purpose, which requires barefoot trimming techniques to be quite different than trimming techniques used to prepare the hoof for a traditional shoe. Bare hoof trimmers** have been schooled to specifically recognize and enhance these structures so the hoof can function optimally.
A healthy hoof provides comfort for mobility – no lameness, appropriate traction, surefootedness, correct breakover, and balance.
A healthy hoof provides function – hoof mechanism for proper circulatory and metabolic function, protection of sensitive internal structures, and shock absorption (60-80% of concussion is absorbed by the hoof suspension mechanism). If this function is impaired by a brace (shoe), concussion will have to be absorbed elsewhere in the equine body. Joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments can become stressed from absorbing this tension, which can cause problems like calcifications, arthritis, and avoidable “wear and tear.”
Once your horse gets a proper barefoot trim, you may want to incorporate the use of hoof boots to aid in the transition and help protect your equine partner while out on your rides. Right after a fresh trim, measure the width and length of the hoof (read more about measuring the hoof here), order your EasyCare hoof boots, and then go out and enjoy your barefoot partner. You can be proud that you are taking the natural approach to lifelong hoof health.
**If you’re looking for a bare hoof trimmer, type your zip code into our Dealer Locator to see if one of our hoof care practitioner dealers is nearby!