Mel’s approach to trimming
|September 10, 2015||Posted by Melinda under Equine Endurance, Hoof trimming, Most Popular|
I rarely let Farley’s hooves get this long between trims, but it does mean that I can share with you my approach to trimming. Can’t let an opportunity for a suitable blog post go unpunished!
These are Farley’s back hooves and are somewhere 6-8 weeks post trim.
- I’m not a pro trimmer. I don’t trim other people’s horses and I don’t do it for money if I do find myself showing them an odd trick or two.
- I’ve trimmed my own horses for 6 years. I’m mostly self taught through internet and IRL pros. I read all I can and don’t subscribe to one particular “method”. I’ve come to believe that balance, looking at the big picture, and paying attention to how the hoof adapts to what I’m doing or not doing are the most important things.
- I live in a super dry climate, but without a lot of sand. What kind of climate your horse lives in MATTERS for what kind of challenges the hoof will present.
- It’s definitely been a journey and if you are just starting out you CAN start off simply. I started out with just a rasp, cleaning up between the pro visits who came every 6-9 weeks to trim. After a couple of months I bought some hoof knives. Even though I use other tools for the trims in this post, with some sweat and time you CAN do the exact same trim I am going to show you just using knives and a rasp. It was YEARS before I trusted my eye and knowledge base enough to use nippers and a grinder on my horse’s feet. I only refreshed mustang rolls for the first couple of months, only started trimming frogs this year. Do what you are comfortable with and get help with the rest.
- This isn’t a “special-get-it-completely-right” trim. This is a “I’m 8 months pregnant, it’s 100 degrees but those hooves HAVE to get done and I still want the energy to play with her afterwards” type trim. Think of it as my “every day trim”. I want it correct, I want it balanced – but I’m not going to fuss over it until it’s perfect like I might before an endurance ride or before gluing on boots. I’m going to be looking at this trim every 1-2 weeks and touching up as necessary so I’ll usually error on the side of leaving too much rather than too little and adjust based on what I see the hoof doing post trim.
Let’s get started.
1. Look at the hoof and clean with hoof pick
2. Remove obvious chunks of sole, focusing around bars and heels
3. Remove hoof wall and bars so that is level with the sole
4. Clean up other areas of the hoof as necessary.
5. Grind/rasp hoof so that it is balanced and even. Pay special attention to heel height.
6. 45 degree mustang roll from bottom. Extra attention at the toe and getting it back far enough if necessary.
7. (not shown) Finish mustang roll from the top, address flares. Back up toe from the top if necessary.
The hoof was rasped from the top to finish the mustang roll and address flares (very minimal, just a touch around the back of the quarters near the heel). However the sand/gravel I’m working in hid most of the mustang roll so I didn’t bother with pictures.
8. (not shown) Reevaluate hoof from bottom, on the ground, and during movement for balance.
After the work is done it’s time for a bit of pleasure driving!!!!! (which is perfect for me to stare at her feet and obssess with breakover and balance 🙂
In the winter time I tend to use hoof knives and a rasp with a little bit of nipper. In the summer time (ie until it rains, and what I’m doing right now in these pictures) I use a LOT of nipper and utilize an angle grinder, with a tiny big of rasp (mostly to take flares down from the top and finish my mustang roll).
Just have to show off the fact that I trimmed today in long pants AND closed toed shoes AND chaps. Must be some sort of safety record.
Updates to this post
Thank you for this post!!! As someone new to self trimming it is really helpful to see how others tackle the job. I feel like I have a good handle (so far until things change anyway) on bringing the heels and bar down and the mustang roll, but I am always slightly clueless on how far to really bring the toe back. Some website show bringing it all the way to the white line and others leave it much longer. How do you determine the length of toe?
I look at a couple of things. First of all the overall confirmation of the hoof. On both of her hind feet she has a tendancy to grow more heel and the toe actually ends up pretty short. So I didn’t back up the toe at all. I did a Mustang roll to the waterline which is halfway through the wall before you get to the White line. On a hoof that looks like it has a long toe And from the bottom I can see that the white line is stretched, I would back toe up all the way to the white line in my Mustang roll. I would then reevaluate my trim in less than a week to see How the sole and toe responded.
A trick I learned from a farrier at Davis that did a really nice job, is that if I’m having trouble finding what I need to do to a hoof I’ll actually start from the top and shape and rasp it down from the top first, then flip it over and see what that did to my wall, sole, and my white line etc. Sometimes I can tell what I need to do with that toe by doing this.
Nice trim, nice driving pic! 🙂
[…] The trim […]
“Safety record ” bahaha. I feel the same way. I’m in shorts and crocs so much of the time now.