7 What is the difference between natural hoof care and an ordinary farrier trim?
Generally a farrier trim makes the bottom of the hoof flat which is a necessary part of placing a horse shoe on a hoof. Natural hoof care sees the hoof as a dynamic, constantly altering structure that is always seeking natural balance and strength. Natural hoof care practitioners are trained to ‘read’ the hoof and follow what the horse and nature are trying to create, helping the horse forge the best possible hoof form for each individual limb. The time between trims is usually shorter with NHC (a 4 week trim schedule rather than a 6 week one) this is to make sure that there is no extreme excess of hoof horn growth that can cause hoof imbalance, damage and weakening which could then create a follow on effect in the horses posture and bio-mechanics. This can lead to compensatory issues in the horse’s body. Horse owners are encouraged to either ride on or graze their horses in areas with some abrasive terrain so that the rate of hoof growth equals the rate of wear, keeping the hooves in balance naturally and stimulating the hoof horn to harden. Owners who are able to do either or both of these things, generally have a longer gap between trims because the hoof is wearing naturally.
8 I keep my horse shod because he has really flat feet. Can natural hoof care help his flat soles?
Flat soles are a sign of compromised hooves in a state of collapse. Usually this is a dietary issue, though it can also be caused by a lack of good hoof care and/or incorrect living conditions. ‘Flat feet’ are a form of founder called ‘sinker’ where the coffin bone has lost its integrity with the hoof wall. The coffin bone sits lower in the hoof capsule than nature intended. Natural hoof care and dietary changes can help horses grow in hoof wall with a more secure attachment to the coffin bone and thicker soles that regain concavity as the coffin bone realigns itself more naturally with the hoof wall.