S cott B ell barefoot trimming
Going barefoot is especially beneficial for horses that founder, have issues with laminitis, or navicular disease. Permitting the sole to move and breathe with every step, instead of being held rigid by a shoe, restores circulation to parts of the foot that atrophy when shod. Getting weight off the toe and lamina structures can reduce pain and help your horse rebuild a healthier, more natural foot.
As the muscles and tendons stretch back out and the elasticity of the weight bearing structures increases, the stride lengthens and the horse begins to move more naturally. Over time, with sufficient exercise, the digital cushion and lateral cartilages rehabilitate and grow strong and tough. The frog and the internal tissues function to absorb the compressive forces that bones and joints receive in the shod horse.
It will take time to reverse the structural changes that shoes cause. But with regular trim cycles the elegant and complex structure nature designed can reassert itself. The barefoot trim restores the symmetry of the hoof, allows the natural blood pumping mechanism of the foot to start to work properly again, and muscles and ligaments to loosen. With this increased flexibility and soundness comes an improvement in self-carriage and straightness. As the stiffness and contraction become less we begin to see the natural movement and fluidity of the horse that has a sound foundation and support of a naturally functioning hoof.
What Happens When You Decide To Try A Barefoot Trim For Your Horse?
I will assess your horse and talk with you about options. Some horses make the transition very easily. Some may need the protection of boots at first, especially if they are ridden for long periods over hard ground. It often takes a few rounds of trimming to gain the hoof structure we are aiming for. I will trim lower in the heel to avoid stress on the toe and the lamina.  I will also create what is known as a mustang roll on the front of the hoof. This allows the horse’s stride to “breakover” easily with a flowing motion which restores proper mechanics to the gait.
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