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The Bone Referenced Trim – Trimming and Shoeing Horse Hooves


The Bone-Referenced Trim

Trimming the Hoof

Barefoot…. metal…. polyurethane?  The choice won’t matter if the hoof is not trimmed properly.  No shoeing system does miracles on its own.  Nothing can make up for a poor trim.  So, the trim must be the focus.  But…. its hard to teach — even the best followers of a particular trimming guru can be seen to trim differently than their guru!  The eye is easily fooled by the variations the hoof can take on, and everyone sees things a little differently.  Add to these actual difficulties the vast amount of noise coming from the various hoof-care factions…  it can make the caring horse owner’s head spin! 

Yes, its difficult, but for the love of the horse, we are pushing ahead.  We are interested in the goal of “evidence-based soundness” — the pursuit of blending science and knowledge to get past the methods that are solely based on subjective opinion.  We’re not all the way there yet, but we are taking steps towards that goal.

The Bone-Referenced Trim

The hoof wall can change due to trimming, shoeing, riding, weather, etc. If the hoof shape can change so much, how can one trim based on landmarks of the sole, frog, and white line?  We trim at the bottom of the hoof.  But if we do so by only looking at the bottom, we may be following flares or other distortions.

The bone-referenced trim — introduced in the video below — is a method of palpation based on anatomy, in contrast to methods based on looking at the sole and/or shape of the hoof walls. While they may be useful on average, they are not necessarily reliable on a particular horse.  Only by palpating the bones for an individual horse can you avoid a reliance on hoof capsule landmarks which are subject to distortion.