What's The Point Of The "Four Point?"

In an in-depth analysis, this farrier maintains the four-point trim should neither be a common practice nor a crutch to lean on when other trimming and shoeing methods fail

As you might guess, the four-point trim is a method of trimming horses with both advocates and adversaries. Brought to national attention by equine veterinarian Ric Redden of The International Equine Podiatry Center in Versailles, Ky., Penrose, Colo., farrier Gene Ovnicek and others, the method seems to have been mainstreamed into every farrier’s vocabulary as well as into some practices.

What Is A Four-Point Trim?

The four-point trim consists of the following, as described by Redden. “The method involves pulling breakover back to within 3/4 to 1 inch of the apex of the coffin bone (P3) and the angle of the hoof in alignment with the horse’s pasterns (P1 and P2). The heel is trimmed to the effect that its angle is at the widest part of the frog and thus there are four weight-bearing points of the foot: two about 3/4 inch in front of either side of the apex of the frog and two that are the same distance from the back of the foot. The toe is finished by being rolled or squared and a shoe can be fitted.” (See diagram on page 14).

The premise for this method came from studies done on wild or feral horses. During 1986 and 1987, Ovnicek conducted a study on wild horses to see if their hooves hold up better than domestic horse hooves. In his study, horses from three different environments were used to get a general impression of the status of feral hooves. As part of these evaluations…

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