Self Trimming Experiment - Huey

 

In 2001 I started trimming my own horse using natural barefoot trimming techniques. Thankfully, I only had a single horse at the time, a Quarter Horse named Soldier. At that time, barefoot trimming was generally aggressive, and I quickly became discouraged with the results. Because of my unhappiness with the trim I was doing, I stopped doing anything - and noticed that Soldier's feet - and soundness - improved within a few weeks. That was the beginning of my willingness to think outside of the box, and to experiment.

In 2002 I bought a second horse, a Paint named Huey. When picking his feet, I noticed that though he was sound, his feet had been very neglected. As an experiment I did nothing at all to his feet. The idea for the experiment came to me when I went to give Huey his first trim, and saw that the bars, which had covered the entire sole when I first got him, had already begun to self-trim.

The Huey Experiment, as I called it, was to leave the feet completely alone and record how they trimmed themselves without human interference. Huey lived in a large pasture, 24/7, with a group of at least 15 other horses, and I did ride him during that time.

The results were interesting.

Huey Experiment Photo 1  
August 4, 2002

This was the first photo I took, not the original condition of the foot. I didn’t take an initial ‘before’ photo, as the idea for the experiment came when I took this one. Note my comments, on the photo, that this already shows a large improvement!

The photo shows overgrown bars, false sole, a deformed frog and long, forward heels.

 
Huey Experiment Photo 8-22-02  
August 22, 2002

This is the second photo – taken only 18 days after the first. Already the frog looks better, the false sole is gone, and the bars are reduced.

 
Huey Experiment Photo 2 - 9-2-02  
Sep 2, 2002

Only 11 days after the second photo and 29 days after the first photo, this foot has transformed itself.

The bars are in normal position – though slightly long by some standards. The sole is concave, smooth, and clean. The heels have come back on their own and are standing above the sole and, if I were trimming this foot, could be trimmed at this point to very close to a normal position. The frog has improved even more.

All of this without me touching it.

This experiment was not only successful, it changed my entire attitude toward trimming.  Having seen that the foot does not always need human intervention, I was able to accept the idea that nature could be relied on to transform the hoof with minimal help from trimmers.

 
 

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