What is the ideal length that hoof wall should be trimmed to?”
Gerard Laverty’s question was met with a pregnant pause before the attendees at the Oregon Farriers Association mid-September clinic chuckled all at once.
The answer is rather elusive. Most farriers know it when they see it, but assigning a single number to it is simply irresponsible.
“When you read any book, it will not give you hard and fast directions on how much to trim off a horse’s hoof,” says the faculty farrier at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, British Columbia. “I use a toe rule on every horse I trim for that reason.”
Like many of his colleagues, Laverty used dividers in his trimming regimen. That changed when he was introduced to the toe rule.
“I had a number with the toe rule, instead of just a space,” he says. “When using dividers, you trim one toe and you’d go to the other one and scribe it to get them the same length. But what length is it? Unless you actually measure it, you didn’t have a number. With the toe rule, you get a number.”