Barefoot Trimming/Mustang Roll…the Natural way!


Kathy Grant, President/CEO of Mustang Alley Horse Rescue, believes that the horse’s hooves are the lifeline for the horse.  She believes that the iron shoe brings so many problems to the hoof and that barefoot trimming is the way to go.  She has trimmed all of our horses with the natural horse’s hoof in mind, After pulling shoes, there is a rehabilitation period, depending on the amount of internal damage in the foot due to the shoeing, as increased blood flow starts to rebuild the damaged internal structures that were damaged by the shoes. Until the rebuilding is complete, the horse may become “sore on gravel and on hard surfaces” and will need hoof boots to ride on rocky trails, gravel roads or frozen ground.

This transition period is the most common reason why people say that their horses need shoes.  It does take time to condition your horse to the barefoot style of life…but a much healthier, happier & longer living horse will be the outcome of the “Barefoot Trim”.

The transition time is when the sole regains concavity, which is due to the white line tightening up completely, and the horse walks on gravel as if it were sand.

Once we understand that horseshoes DO weaken the hooves and cause other damages, like undergrown hooves, laminitus, tendonitus, we can do certain things, like using easy boots, to make the horse rideable until he grows out a new, stronger hoof.

Kathy Grant is a barefoot trimmer, if you need to have your horses hooves trimmed, you can call on Kathy or one of the Barefoot trimmers that volunteer here at the rescue.


5 major damages that horseshoes do to the horse:

1. Shoeing causes the foot to become contracted

2. Shoeing causes a deviance of the normal laminae structure

3. The impact forces with each shod step are much greater, and the vibration of the shoe is damaging

4. Circulation is decreased through shoeing

5. The side walls, at the widest part of the hoof, have to be able to move outward.  A shod hoof is unable to expand as necessary, the concave sole cannot draw flat, and the solar corium is bruised as a result. When trimming such hooves, these bruises become visible.

The consequences of the lack of up to 80% of shock absorption are widely known as arthritis, tendonitis, etc. The damage done is all the greater when the horse is young, and the still-developing coffin bone is handicapped in its development to proper size through shoeing. Shoeing a horse under 3 (or even 2) years results in crippled and deformed coffin bones and steep, contracted hooves.

The negative effect of shoes on joints and tendons is increased through stresses during motion, i.e. the weight of the shoe stressing the joint and tendon through centripetal force. The heavier the shoe, the greater this force.

The contracting effect of shoes increases from day to day, since the hoof grows continually, not straight down but in a conical shape. The hoof grows in width, but the shoe does not; after a month, the hoof grew by 1 cm, in length and width; with a shoe, only in length, forcing a constriction of the corium.

That a horse with such damage is still able to walk is due largely to the fact that the nerves have mostly become nonfunctional. As soon as the shoes are removed, circulation begins to return, and after a while the nerves “come back to life.” So the damage will be present for years before the horse goes lame (due to inflammation, which brings circulation, and as such nerve activity).

The lack of circulation grows more severe with lack of movement. A shod horse which is worked all day tilling the field, for example, has better circulation than a shod horse standing in a box stall and ridden an hour a week.

With a reduction of circulation, metabolism at a cellular level is also adversely affected. Excess protein is not used in the building of tissue (i.e. horn) but builds up in the organism (laminitis, etc.)

A lesser, but still existent evil is the damaging effect of nails, vibrating inside the horn capsule.

Do you really need any more reasons why NOT to shoe your horse?

Kathy Grant trims Buster, a Belgium draft, the natural way!

Kathy Grant trims Buster, a Belgium draft, the natural way!

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