4-Point Trim (Natural Trim)

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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.

Dear Fran,

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 all horses.


Geronimo Bayard

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This entire web site is copyright protected.  1996-2001 Geronimo & Mary Bayard,  2001-2008 Mary Fitzpatrick
All rights reserved. Contact Mary for reproduction information & permission.