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Geometry of the Hoof and the Hoof Print Trim, Part 2 By Kristi Luehr, Okanagan School of Natural Hoof Care In last month’s article, I explained the steps we use when trimming to achieve a balanced hoof. The method we teach at the Okanagan School of Natural Hoof Care is called the Hoof Print Trim. This method allows us to trim the hoof to align the internal structures.


ast month, we discussed finding the baseline which is the starting point for our trim. The baseline determines heel height and is our starting point to find our balance, heel to toe. We also talked about finding the fulcrum, the widest point of the hoof, usually located just behind the apex of the frog. This trim style is not a cookie-cutter approach as these measurements are just a guideline that we use when evaluating where to trim. We must also “read” the clues on the hoof to establish our cut lines. It always amazes me that, even on the most distorted hooves, the clues we look for almost always line up with the measurements and gauges that we use. After establishing the baseline and the heel height, we must determine the length of the toe. We do not use the white line as a determining factor as it can stretch and migrate forward giving a false location for the toe length. In order to determine the proper length, we measure the fulcrum width from white line to white line on either side of the hoof. A front hoof should be the same width as length. So if the fulcrum is 4 ½ inches from white line to white line then our measurement from the baseline at the rear of the hoof to the toe would be 4 ½ inches. This is not a cut line though; we still have to add the thickness of the hoof wall to this measurement. A lot of times, in a run-forward hoof, the white line can stretch forward and this measurement can seem extreme. However, even though the wall flares forward and the white line stretches, the internal structures do not move or migrate. The coffin bone can rotate and sink lower in the hoof capsule in a laminitic or foundered horse but, even in those cases, the geometrical mapping will establish the location of the coffin bone before we start to trim and we can work to bring balance back to the hoof. 10 • Saddle Up • May 2015

aging forces on the hoof wall and to create a smoother breakover. The mustang roll is one of the defining differences between a barefoot trim and a traditional farrier trim. Healthy white line and a stretched white line comparison

Another factor we have to consider when aligning the bones of the hoof and A mustang roll and a lower limb is the hairline angle. All hooved traditional pasture trim animals have a 30 degree hairline in their natural environment (barring rare genetic defects) and the horse is only an exception when trimmed and managed ineffectively. Kristi Luehr is a natural trimmer and founder Studies of wild horses in the US Great Basin of the Okanagan School of Natural Hoof have shown that, when allowed to natur- Care ( She holds certificaally wear their hooves in their wild environ- tion with the Canadian Farrier School as well ment, they almost always have a 30 degree as the Oregon School of Natural Hoof Care. hairline. The few horses with this exception Her focus is to educate horse owners about have a genetic defect of a club foot. A club hoof anatomy, hoof mechanism, and the imfoot is a coffin bone with a steeper dorsal portance of a natural trim based on the wild angle and therefore creates a hoof with a horse model. steeper dorsal hoof wall angle and a higher heel. Both of these pathologies will affect (See their listing in our Business Services secthe hairline angle. tion under FARRIERS & SUPPLIES) After evaluating the baseline, the fulcrum, the toe length and the hairline angle, we finish our trim by defining and trimming the bars and putting the mustang roll on the front of the hoof. The bars’ function is for support in the rear of the hoof and it is important A career with horsepower that they are not over trimmed; however, Take your horsemanship and they must also not be livestock skills from good to left to grow over the job-ready with the Western sole as they can cause Ranch and Cow Horse program bruising and abscessing. A mustang roll Program offered is a rounding of the at Vermilion Campus hoof wall at the toe to remove any lever10/14 5/15


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Saddle Up May 2015  
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