Taking Issue with "Natural" Hoof Trimming Theory

Alabama farrier says his experiment lends support to the idea that there is no one “right” way to trim a hoof

Hang around farriers long enough and you may decide that opinions on hoof trims are sort of like religion and politics — they shouldn’t be discussed in polite company.

But hoof trimming is fair game at the International Hoof-Care Summit, and Mike Miller took dead aim at the topic in a presentation entitled, “The Mirage of the Natural Hoof.” Without a doubt, it was one of the most talked-about offerings at the sixth annual event.

Miller, an AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier and an associate of the Worshipful Company of Farriers of Great Britain, set his crosshairs particularly on hoof-trimming theories that try to draw parallels between how equine feet wear in the hard, dry lands of the American West and how domestic horses should be trimmed.

Miller, of Huntsville, Ala., described the central question of his presentation and research as, “Is there really one ideal foot,” which leads to the question, “Is there any one way to trim a foot?”

His answer: “I don’t think so.”

Miller made it clear that the title of his presentation was significant.

“A mirage is something you want to see,” he pointed out. “Not something that’s actually there.”

Trimming Review

Miller’s presentation included an extensive review of the history of different theories of trimming dating back to Bracy Clark in 1809 to more recent theories of Mike Savoldi, David Duckett and Gene Ovnicek. However, the meat of his presentation involved an experiment that compared the results of a “conventional trim,” to that of the…

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Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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