Why Barefoot? Barefoot trimming is rooted in a deep understanding of the equus; from the biomechanics of their hooves, to their digestive system and behavior and lifestyle in the wild. Research, case studies, and common sense have proven that healthy hooves are dependent on: Consistent, Non-Invasive Trimming Proper Diet and Nutrition An Active Lifestyle Because our domestic horses do not travel 20 daily miles over varied terrain like their wild cousins do, we must trim their hooves for them. Most horses need to be trimmed every 4-6 weeks, depending on their living environment and activity level. When the hoof wall is allowed to overgrow, it starts to separate from the internal structures of the hoof, thereby halting progress towards a healthy, well-connected hoof. Trimming should respect the current position of the internal structures within the hoof, allowing a healthy hoof to be grown in over time, rather than cut and lamed in one trim. Proper trimming also prioritizes heel-first impact, and uses boots, pads, casting, or glue on boots or composite shoes for hoof protection to ensure that the horse moves comfortably. Metal shoes are no longer the 'necessary evil' because of the recent advances in hoof boot technology. Boots provide superior hoof protection on an as needed basis, but unlike shoes, offer shock absorption (much like the bare hoof), and allow the hoof to flex and torque like it was designed to do. The bare hoof flexes every time it hits the ground, increasing blood flow and circulation throughout the horses' entire body. A steel shoe does not allow the hoof to flex, thereby decreasing circulation, increasing concussion, and decreasing traction due to the steel. Other negative consequences of shoes include the gradual distal descent of P3 (the dropping of the coffin bone) which results in tragically common thin soles. This distal descent is due to peripheral loading, where the weight of the horse is on the wall under the shoe, rather than the frog, sole, and wall. Peripheral loading thus over stresses the laminae, and stressed laminae lack the integrity they are meant to have, resulting in the coffin bone slowly dropping over time. (Thankfully, this CAN be reversed through proper barefoot trimming and plenty of movement to increase hoof growth!) Another effect of the peripheral loading is contracted and weak frogs. The frogs and the underlying digital cushions (the 'shock absorbers' of the equine foot) land first during proper movement. However, when they do not get the constant pressure and release of natural heel-first impact , the frogs become weak and contracted and the digital cushions do not develop into the thick, dense mass of fiber cartilage they are meant to. This results in horses that seem comfortable on soft terrain, but when faced with rocky, varied terrain, will shorten their stride and 'toe-stab' instead of landing heel first. Repeated toe-first landings, whether due to underdeveloped digital cushions, thrushy frogs, or incorrect trimming or shoeing, takes us into yet another host of issues, including navicular syndrome and disease. Proper trimming can reverse navicular, laminitis, thin soles, stumbling, interfering, wall cracks, long toes, and distal descent of P3.