A Friesian's Hooves Crack and Fold

Q: About a year ago, I purchased a recently imported Friesian and brought him to Southern California. He was shod at the time, but I prefer barefoot so figured I should give it a try.

Shortly after pulling his shoes, shallow “folds” started to develop on the inside of his front hooves. I spoke to my farrier about it and he said it’s normal for these horses, especially with hard ground. I want to believe him, but the crack on the inside of the horse’s left front hoof has deepened by 1 inch and the bottom half has started to crack. It looks awful.

I asked for a second opinion from a barefoot trimmer, who was in town for a clinic. He said the problem is serious and without special trimming, my horse may go permanently lame. My instinct is to put shoes in front with clips to support the area where the crack is, but I’m worried that shoes could make it worse. What would you suggest?

— Kajsa Wiberg

A: I’ve worked on multiple Friesians and have found farriers are afraid to get the heels down in their trim. It looks like the horse wants to have an upright foot, but if you load the leg you will see these horses have very long pasterns. To keep things aligned, it’s crucial to trim the heels down to the highest, widest point of the trimmed frog — not just to the widest point as that is removing too much…

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