Q: Do you always trim so drastically?

A: This is a question often asked at clinics. Usually the horses I’m working on at clinics are in pretty bad shape. The first few trims may involve intense reshaping, as these horses usually need dramatic changes immediately. The idea is to help the horse become more comfortable from the very first trim so that he is better able to move around without being in pain. The horse may well still be in discomfort, but it’s the pain we look to eliminate as best as possible. As the horse’s body adapts and comes into balance the trim becomes more gradual and eventually is only used to maintain symmetry, balance and alignment.

This is an ‘it depends’ kind of answer, but on the long term basis, the answer would be no. The initial series of trims may well be more ‘drastic’ due to the initial changes that need to be made. This can be true for a foundered horse, a navicular horse or even just a ‘sound’ horse, who’s feet haven’t been addressed in a long time. As time goes on and the feet and body correct and grow more properly, the trim backs off to simply maintain symmetry, balance and alignment. I use the term ‘drastic’ to refer to the amount of hoof that needs to be removed, reshaped or resculpted. Drastic is not being used to mean that the trim is overly invasive to the foot, leg or body. The idea is to help the horse become more comfortable from the very first trim so that he is better able to move around without being in pain. The horse may well still be in discomfort, but it’s the pain we look to eliminate as best as possible.