What is a Natural Trim?
The natural trim is really no more than a series of techniques usesd to emulate the natural wear patterns found on the hooves of wild horses. For this purpose we use a variety of specialist tools and equipment.
Simply stated, a natural trim only removes hoof material that would wear down under natural circumstances. The natural trim itself is nothing other than the simulation of natural wear. The hooves of wild horses living in the U.S. Great Basin serve as our model of excellence and guide us through the natural trim process.
How do we do this?
All Natural Hoof Care Practitioners trained by the AANCHP/ISNHCP were given a clear understanding of the natural wear characteristics of naturally shaped hooves.
On naturally formed hooves for example, the angle of growth will vary from toe to heel and the hoofwall forms a weight bearing structure. Also, the toe and heel lengths are short, relative to what is commonly refered to as ‘normal’.
These of course are only a few of many characteristics. But by using these characteristics and several crucial measurements, we are able to direct any hoof into its natural shape. To do this we use 4 guiding trimming principles:
- Leave what should be there naturally
- Allow to grow what isn’t there due to human meddling
- Remove what would be worn away in the wild
- Ignore all pathology
The daily care and mangagement of your horse determines in great part the shape and health of the hooves on your horse, and thus your influence as owner or manager plays a significant role. It is our job as professionals to help you fulfill this role.
Why would I want my horse to have a natural trim?
Under genuine natural circumstances a horse would never be in need of hoofcare. For some people the concept of a ‘natural trim’ therefore might sound a bit conflicting. However, all domestic horses do need hoofcare, so what could be a better model for this than the horse itself?! A model straight from the equines natural environment, with sound, rock grinding hooves. Formed by continues movement and natural wear, directed by an instinct that is millions of years old. The natural trim generates an optimal hoof form for any horse, despite age or pedigree.
What is the difference between the Natural Trim and Natural Hoofcare?
In the development of any strong building, the foundation plays a crucial part. Like a building, the hoof in fact, is also a construction. A construction however strongly influenced by our day to day general care.
Because everything we do with the horse will affect their health we obey four basic needs in the care of equines. We refer to these simple needs as the Four Pillars. The Natural Trim is one of these four pillars. The other three are: diet, boarding and horsemanship. At any given point, all four pillars equally influence the condition of the horse. Not one pillar is more important than another.
Natural Hoof Care Practitioners assess the entire care of the horse and not just the hoof itself. It is an holistic approach enabling us to not only solve possible problems, but also detect them before they become truly problematic. The Natural Trim is the practical application of taking care of the actual hoof.
Do you use any means of hoof protection?
We do not use shoes, glue-on’s or any other means of fixated hoof protection. The natural trim is rooted on the positive and healing effects of natural wear. When we disturb this process of natural wear in a structural manner, the hoof will lose it’s natural shape, become unbalanced and will be unable to function naturally.
We most certainly do not perceive the metal shoe as ‘an evil’ that must be fought at all cost. The metal shoe has served its purpose during our long relationship with horses. However, with the knowledge we have today and the function of the horse in today’s society we believe the shoe has become obsolete and antiquated.
Glue- on shoes and boots are the new ‘hype’ with regard to the protection of the hoof, but the application of these materials require unnecessary rasping and cutting of the hoof. The glue used to adhere the material to the hoof contains toxins that might cause harm to the horse. Some of you may recall the glue used for glue- on nails for women causing fungal infections.
Nevertheless it could very well be important to protect the hoof for a certain amount of time. Either because the foot is seriously weakened or because the equestrian pursuit of the rider requires more wear and tear than the hoof can offer.In these circumstances,, we use custom fitted boots. These will not harm or cause deleterious effects on the functioning of the foot.