Figure 1c

Consider...The Whole Working Foot

Farrier takes issue with physiological trimming theory


HOOF EXPANSION. Figures A and D are side and lateral views of the unloaded hoof before it comes in contact with the ground. Figures B and E show the hoof loading as it comes into contact with the ground. The frog and sole descend, contact the ground and the hoof expands. As dirt fills the posterior of the foot, the heels and walls move outward. After breakover, as the foot again leaves the ground, the frog and sole resume the unloaded position and the foot closes.

Editor’s Note: The author, a California farrier, wrote this article in response to the article, “Physiological Trimming Theory Is Working,” that appeared in the American Farriers Journal, May/June, 2003 issue. That article reported on the trimming methods developed by Dr. Robert Bowker, an equine veterinarian who is the director of the Equine Foot Laboratory at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

Today’s researchers need to ask themselves a few basic questions:

  1. Why do we keep removing parts of the horse’s hoof that are trying to grow?
  2. When we remove the heels of the hoof, what’s going to happen to the alignment of the bony column?
  3. When one-third of the anterior hoof wall is removed, how will this affect the horse’s base of support?
  4. If we can cause the heels of the hoof to grow down instead of forward, won’t the toe back itself up?
  5. Since we know that the body is always trying to repair itself, shouldn’t…
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