Q: What is your opinion of
the efficacy of the natural trim I have read about in recent horse periodicals?
Your thoughts on this would be appreciated by many horse owners.
A: Thank you very much for your
inquiry. I believe I can best answer your question by sending along to you my
letter to Fran Jurga, publisher of Hoof Care and Lameness magazine. This letter
was in response to an inquiry from Fran concerning the four point trim,
sometimes referred to as the natural trim.
I will endeavor to answer your questions as knowledgeably and as accurately as I
can without writing a book.
I first heard of the 4 point trim from Dr. Redden's tape, The Four Point Trim. I
have trimmed and shod horses with the 4 pt trim. I have been to clinics here in
Oregon where the 4 pt trim was discussed and demonstrated extensively.
Tips for doing it properly: On performing the 4 pt trim, I first balance and
level the foot. Then I roll the toe with my rasp as I would were I preparing the
foot for a rocker toed shoe, guided by the principles of Ducket's Dot. I then
lower the quarters and round them slightly so that they are not the primary
bearing surface of the hoof wall. That has been the extent of trimming the 4 pt
trim and I have had consistent results trimming in this fashion.
First of all, horses with thin, weak or flaring walls tend to develop thicker,
healthier hoof wall. After this trim has been applied for approximately 3 or 4
times, depending on the horse, I then shoe the horse with wide web rocker toed
shoes, NOT gutting out the quarters. I have found failure to shoe the horse at
this time will result in a return to the condition that first prompted me to
practice the 4 pt trim. I have never applied this trim to a horse that is lame.
The amount of sole that I leave on the bottom of the foot is always determined
by one factor and that is to remove dead horn only. If I am working on a little
quarter horse that has thin soles, I do not remove any sole.
I only apply the 4 pt trim to horses that are losing ground being shod in a
conventional or normal fashion.
I suggest that the horse owner obtain a copy of Rick Redden's tape on the 4 pt
trim and allow her farrier to view it. Bear in mind there are many who do not
agree with Dr. Redden's 4 pt trim. His theory is based upon the natural wear of
the wild horse. Their concerns, and rightly so, are that the wild horse does not
bear the unbalanced weight of a rider.
I would like to add at this time that the 4 pt trim has been a helping tool for
horses with weak, thin walls but is certainly not the answer all of the time for