Initial setup trims for overgrown hooves

Posted: March 5th, 2008, by Melanie Merrow

This is a 5 year old TB gelding who has been off the track for over a year and out of shoes since January 2008. He is on a low sugar diet and gets daily turn out but is inside during the nights.


With a long toe and under run heels the horse has a very steep pastern angle that is not balanced with the hoof. After the trim the pastern angle relaxed and is now balanced with the entire leg and hoof.


This sole shot shows overgrown bars and forward heels with some wall chipping. The heels have been brought to the widest part of the frog, the bars have been trimmed back. You can still see where the hoof was had chipped away on the right side, this will grow out.


This horse was self trimming on the inside wall, chipping and breaking off only the one side. This put the horses balance off as shown by the stance. Toeing out in the before shot, to standing square all with a good trim. I backed the toe and quarters to help stop the chipping of the hoof wall.

This set up trim was done on a pony mare that is outside 24/7 and gets ridden several times a week. Even with the issues she does have with her hooves they are very healthy and she is 100% sound.


Hoof flares all round the hoof before the trim with a very long toe, quarters and heels. There is a slight flare left on the left side that was further address after the picture. Notice that I did not rasp more than 1/2″ up the hoof wall to address the fares.


These pictures show a very tall heel to a natural height heel. This pony was starting to develop quarter cracks from all the extra pressure and she does have bruising as well. These will both grow out with proper care.


You can see the quarter flares, folded over bars, forward heels and stretched white line in the before photo. All of the flare was addressed and the bars and heels were balanced and trimmed.


Notice how the frog is not touching the ground in the before shot. Frog circulation is key to a healthy hoof and this can only happen with movement and frog to ground pressure.

This is my first trim on all of these horses. Most are in different phases of transition but all have not worn shoes in the past few years. They were all trimmed by a conventional farrier and almost never had anything done with the heels or bars. They were all 7 weeks since the last trim.ThunderThis hoof shows a very long toe and under run heels. Notice how the balance of the heels on the before shot shows the weight in the front part of the pastern, where the after shot shows the balance in the middle of the pastern. With the heels forward most of the impact is placed on the toe and front of the coffin bone where it can cause a lot of damage. Placing the weight back into the heels allows the digital cushion’s, frog and pastern to absorb most of the landing impact, putting less stress on the front of the sole and coffin bone.Thunder 2

This hoof has over grown and part of the wall on the left side has split and folded over. This split will need to grow out with regular trimming as you can see the split is still in the after shot as the dark line. This split is only in the hoof wall and not part of the white line and it has not caused this horse any problems. Again the bars and heels are very overgrown and forward. I rebalanced the hoof and placed the weight bearing surface back to the widest part of the frog. Allowing horses to go a long time in between trimming will cause the frog to grow past the sole “reaching” for ground contact.


This hoof has overgrown bars that are starting to fold over the sole in the before pictures. The frog has overgrown past the sole due to the overgrown bars and you can see in the before shot that the frog was only cleaned up to relieve the extra pressure. The heels have been brought back to the widest part of the frog and the sole has not been touched as it is strong and healthy. This mare is outside 24/7 and gets a lot of movement and this shows up in her soles. This picture was taken before I backed up the toe so you can see some stretched white line still. I took the toe back to 1/8″ past the white line.


A side shot of before and after one of my trims. This horse has very long and forward heels with no frog support in he before picture. The heel weight bearing surface has been backed up to the widest part of the frog and the heels have been brought down to allow frog to ground contact. Allowing frog contact with each step will increase circulation in the lower leg and entire body of the horse.


This is another horse with tall and forward heels. The weight was very forward forcing this horse to land toe first. The quarters are flared and were starting to chip off. I balanced the weight to the back of the hoof. The weight could go back even more but this was a fairly big trim on a older gelding so I want to make gradual changes. I relieved the flares and toe wall by backing the toe and flares 1/8″ past the white line. The ripples show changes in the connections of the white line from diet and movement changes.