I believe that perfect hooves are made, not born.
In the wild, perfect hooves are created by the constant abrasion and varied diet. Many people believe that when a wild horse’s hoof goes bad, the horse perishes and is eaten and that is why we don’t see bad feet on wild horses.
I don’t agree. I think we just don’t see bad feet on wild horses because they take such splendid care of them. Once rounded up, it only takes about 6 weeks for those perfect hooves to turn into what we are used to seeing on our horses.
It’s true, that from time to time, we can dissect a wild hoof and find some similar hoof problems that our domesticated horses deal with, but it’s not usually a hoof problem that costs a life.
So what about domesticated horses? Well, for example, this is Neenah.
She’s nearly 8 months old now and I’ve trimmed her feet several times since her birth. The first few trims were with just the rasp. (You have to be very careful with foal feet. There is no room for mistakes on such tiny feet. )
And yes, she’s ONLY had several trims because I’ve mostly had her out on pasture and gravel paddocks where she does very well.
Each time I trim her hooves, I’ve had to do some reshaping, because her feet are not perfect. She has some flare on one side of her left front foot that is already causing separation of the white line (laminae). (Can you see the flare?)
I'm working to correct that. This last trim involved the nippers, for the first time. So we'll be correcting this. Rather than shoeing it as is.
She’s has a tendency to be a bit clubby (upright) on the fronts so I’m careful to take her heels down every time. That's what I've done here.
If I didn’t, and she were someone else’s horse, that owner might be discussing the possibility of tendonotomy or ICL (inferior check ligament) surgery in her near future.
Because she’s my horse that will never happen to her. I will never destroy a healthy part of her anatomy that she will need later, in order to fix something that can corrected at the hoof.
Horses that have had ICL surgeries face an uncertain future of bowed tendons and other injuries because the tendons in the lower leg have to take on the job that the ICL once had.
And as for cutting the tendon itself which is done on some horses with rotated coffin bones…two words about that horse's future; Pasture Pet.
So, it’s up to us. If we bring a new baby horse into the world, we need to get concerned about their hooves the minute they start standing on them.
Our babies can grow up with perfect feet! And who would nail a shoe to a perfect hoof?