Hoof comparison Part 3

Time for me to make another brief update on my barefoot horse. As you see there are side by side comparisons from 2006 (on the left side) and Jan 2008 on the right.

The first photo is of the hind feet. Both '06 and '08 pictures were taken after I trimmed the hoof, which in regards to the 2008 side consisted of rasping down the hoof wall and the beveling the edge. I bevel from the bottom when the foot is in the position as when photographed, then I place his hoof on my knee or on a stand and round off from the top as well. I didn't do anything to the sole except to make some investigating scrapes here and there..but no paring of the sole.

I'm afraid I can't tell you what I did in 2006 because I knew even less back then than I do now -and I certainly had less hoof wall to work with. I recall beveling the hoof all around especially at the quarters where the hoof wall was thin and looked like it could start to have separation problems. I used to cut at the frog but I don't do that anymore. I'll trim the frog only if there is some flap that is hanging on that is about to fall off anyway.

It's nice to see the difference in hoof wall thickness in the 2008 pictures. On the left front 2008 picture, the frog has a very narrow slit. I considered opening this up because just underneath the gap widens and is quite open at the heel. I decided to leave things alone since I can get dirt out.. besides I felt guilty taking away any calloused frog that helps him stay comfortable with heel first landings. I have started applying Tea Tree oil mixed with some grape seed oil in the central sulcus and collateral grooves of the frog in hopes of killing off thrush causing bacteria. The grape seed oil is only to dilute the tea tree oil in case I use some on his skin. Using full strength tea tree oil on his skin caused it to dry out and get scurfy.

On that same photo LF '08 one can see a small dark line on the right of the hoof wall. This is a separation that is starting to happen. What I did tonight when I trimmed him is beveled this area of the wall a little bit more, so that there would be less leveraging forces prying on this weak area. What caused this? I don't know.. maybe hygiene.. maybe there was a little opening there I didn't notice last time and dirt got in and started to breed a bacteria farm. I have licked this problem before.. this time I'm catching it sooner. For the record I trimmed him on January 1st '08, and then today.. so we are at 4 weeks exactly. I do think I will make sure I check the bevel on all feet at the two week mark, just so I can stay ahead of any damage.

I couldn't find my 2007 hoof pics.. although I'm sure I've got some around. If anyone is interested in seeing previous hoof comparison stories they can click here and here.

I'd like to hear from anyone with experience on barefoot natural trimming along the style and philosophy of Pete Ramey, please leave me a note in the comments section. Thank you!

Also, don't forget to look at the Safer grass web site, and Pete Ramey's page. And you lucky horse owners who can keep horses in YOUR OWN back yard.. get the book Paddock Paradise. Don't tell me "but I have no space to do this" because these guys made one on a steep hillside! Somewhere on their website they have a short movie showing their horses running all around. Okay here is the movie...Check it out! Do it for your horse! Do it for me because my horse lives in someone else's back yard!


To have free time is to have a gift. To have good health is to have a gift. I frequently squander my hard earned free time which makes me feel bad. I also feel bad waking up with swollen hands, sore wrists and forearms and not wanting to do anything with my day off except to go back to bed.

What a waste to lay there doing nothing except look out the window and watch the shadows wrap around the trees as the sun tracks across the sky. To doze off and wake up repeatedly and notice the changing light... sometimes it's cozy knowing I don't have to rush off anywhere, I don't have anything pressing to do and it is cold outside and I'm warm in bed with the dog near me on his own bed. He's a good sleeping companion, always up for a nap.

I tell myself I need to rest, catch up on sleep, to get well from the lingering cough I have from my last cold. But then I watch the day slip by, or wake up from a strange mishmash of dreams and wonder if it was worth it?