The soundest barefoot hooves are on wild horses.
The idea behind this site is simple... Let's study wild horses; how they look, how they act and how they got that way... and copy that.
Wild horses are completely relevant to domestic horses. Genetically they are exactly the same species.
Healthy hooves have not been bred out of domestic horses. The difference between a healthy wild hoof and a weak domestic hoof is lifestyle.
Domestic horses are born in a stall and stay in the stall for a few days or weeks. Then they may live in a small paddock for a few weeks or months or years with few if any siblings, aunts, uncles around etc. Then they may go out in a field with lush green grass once in a while or all the time. When their 2 or 3 they get ridden around but because they had so little exercise, they have the feet of a colt. That's not "normal" or natural for a horse.
The basics of a healthy hoof have nothing to do with trimming. They are:
Hoof trimming style comes after all of these. If you have those 3 going on the horse will trim his own feet with every step. Domestic horses rarely live in ideal conditions so occasional trimming is needed.
What would horse hooves look like if they were trimmed by the terrain? It depends on the terrain. The skill of filing and nipping off hoof wall is not that complicated. Anyone can learn how to use a file and nippers in a day or three. There are simple principles that anyone can follow when trimming horse hooves but there are very few, if any rules.
I define a principle as something that usually applies but not always. A rule is something that always applies to every horse every time. Each horse hoof is different and even the same hoof is different on a different day or year or season.
There are guidelines to dorsal wall angles, hoof length, hoof width, heel length etc., but a hoof isn't carved healthy with a file, it has to exercise itself into a healthy shape and it will, given time.
How technical should I get when talking about horse hooves? I'll zoom in on technical topics like laminitis and navicular syndrome then pan out to remind you that a hoof is only healthy if the entire horse is healthy. I'm always amazed at the knowledge of horse owners out there. Hopefully you can take something useful away from this site that you can use on your horse.
Contact me if you are are interested in barefoot trimming services for your horses, or if you have questions about it. These services are offered in Kamloops, BC and the surrounding areas.
All the best,
Please use the contact form or
call me at (250) 577-3332.
I'm in Kamloops, BC, Pacific Time Zone.