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Barefoot Hoof Orthopaedics

Barefoot Hoof Orthopaedic Trimming is a Solution to Hoof Problems

Hoof Orthopaedic Trimming is very well suited to solve hoof related problems. In many cases, lameness and hoof problems such as horn cracks, decay and abcesses, thrush, underrun heels or breaking off hoof walls can be cured by optimising the hoofs conformation. Even if hoof cancer, chronic laminitis, calcified cartilages or podotrochlosis are diagnosed, chances are very good, that rehabilitation of the hooves stops the progression of the medical condition and enables the horse to walk again without pain. E.g. the diagnosis navicular lameness, being mentioned alarmingly frequently, often proves NOT to be true as soon as the hoof does not show a hyperextensive footing any more. A “coffin bone rotation” is often just a (reversible!) divergence of the hoof wall from the coffin bone. It is often seen, e.g. in laminitis, but it is nothing a horse needs to live with permanently! By trimming a hoof according to barefoot hoof orthopaedic principles, the rotation of the hoof wall can be eliminated and the attachment (suspension) between coffin bone and hoof capsule can be regenerated. This also reduces the danger of further episodes with acute laminitis considerably.

Which Method of Hoof Trimming for My Horse?

In the past, everything was easy: when hooves looked bad, the farrier was called. He was the hoof trimming expert, no matter if the horse was shod or barefoot. During centuries, methods of trimming hooves were completely affected by the purpose to protect hooves of working animals from wearing too much. Due to the development that horses are mainly used for sports and leisure purposes nowadays, the necessity of a permanent protection from exaggerated wear has become relative. Under the conditions of modern horse keeping and use, many horses may well walk barefoot. In these cases, the farrier’s skills of forging metal have become obsolete as a “barefoot culture” has emerged. However, new skills have become more important, especially so, as they have been quite untended in the past: a demand for barefoot trimming specialists evolved. Nowadays, horse owners have the option to decide who they will entrust with their horses’ hooves:


Is the expert for metal horseshoes. Hoof trimming guidelines usually follow the Fesselstands-, Zehenachsen- oder Fußungstheorie, no matter whether the hoof will subsequently be shod or left barefoot.

Hoof technician

Is the expert for plastic horseshoes and for all kinds of technique at the hoof (glue-on-shoes, non-permanent hoof shoes, synthetic horn reconstitution). Trimming is performed according to the same principles as above.

(Barefoot) Hoof Orthopaedist

Is an expert for barefeet, especially for hooves with problems. Trimming does not follow any theoretical ideal, but is derived from the individual traces of wear of each hoof. The aim is to balance growth and wear of the individual hoof and to use the mechanical influence of the horse’s weight on the hoof to keep or develop hooves to become healthy and enduring.


Ist ein Fachmann für Barhufe. Die Hufzubereitung erfolgt in der Regel nach der Fesselstands-, Zehenachsen- oder Fußungstheorie.

Hoof caretaker/trimmer

Is an expert for barefeet. Trimming is usually performed according to the same principles as done by the farrier or hoof technician.

Natural Hoofcare Practitioner

Is an expert for barefoot hoof care. The guideline is the American method called Natural Hoof Care. Here, the typical shape of a hoof from mustangs living in the Rocky Mountains defines the ideal of a “natural hoof shape” which should be achieved. In Germany, many ex-Strasser Hoof Practitioners practise this method.