I found myself in a bit of discussion about a hoof that someone posted that needed some help. The walls were separated< collecting gravel and bits of stone etc. and the toes a bit long. I mentioned beveling the hoof walls at a 45* angle from the white line to the distal edge of the hoof and one person blatantly posted, "Don't do that... or rather, check out the different theories and methods regarding white line separation before doing a radical 45-degree from white line. It might give you a very sore horse."
I did post a rebuttal but feel that more people need to understand just how nature forms the hooves on a domestic as well as a wild hoof. After all, this 'natural trimming' of a barefooted horse should really be implemented so as to most closely resemble and imitate a wild hoof that is sculpted from the environment in which the horse lives and moves in the most healthy and sound manner.
In all fairness I have to say that the gal who disagreed with the beveling also encouraged varied studies of various other trimmers. I can applaud that. Absolutely - study different 'trim methods' and then you'll be able to assess what might be best for YOUR individual horse. The photo here shows a horse who just completed a 100 mi. endurance race barefooted. The hoof is untouched by trimming tools. Nature, miles, terrain sculpted the hoof you see here. Notice the bevel of the wall from the white line out to the distal edge of the hoof. It's magnificent and rest assured, the horse is not sore. This is a photo that I had printed out and laminated to carry with me in my truck on my trim rounds for years. Granted, not EVERY hoof is going to be so beautifully formed and in such absolute health and soundness. But it serves as an example for a tight, beautifully shaped and worn hoof to which a trimmer can aim for his or her own horse ... given a few tweaks and whistles to adapt to the horse's own peculiar circumstances.
Notice the differences between the hoof above and this healthy, sound barefoot horse from Marjorie Smith's collection of photos ... It's a bit different than the endurance horse. But healthy and sound, all the same and worn by its environment. Judging from this I'd say this pony lives in a damp environment and does not do alot of traveling over rocks and stones as the endurance horse does on a regular basis.
The photo above is from an article by Yvonne Welz of The Horse's Hoof. Click here to read the entire article. If you don't already have a subscription, I highly recommend getting one for great information about the barefoot horse.
This hoof is one of my own student's hooves. Notice that it has been only slightly trimmed by hand but overall is a healthy, solid hind hoof from a horse that lives in New England with very varied terrain -- from wet, soggy pasture to rocky, hard, dry paddock.
What is it that you see that is common between all of these hooves? Notice the walls ... variations of 'rolling' or 'beveling' that nature has given them. Notice how the walls are solid with the sole - no separations. The white line is tight.
Regardless of trimming style - the wall of the equine hoof is created to be an integral connection to the sole with no spaces for grit or stones or other environment insults such as bacteria or fungus to enter into the foot.
If your horses' hooves have any white line separation it would be recommended that the walls are beveled at a 45* angle from the outside of the white line to the distal edge of the hoof to help the hoof wall remediate to a solid connection with the sole. Treating the hoof for any bacterial or fungal infection is paramount to complete healing along with the proper trimming of the hoof. Once the hooves are remediated to full health and soundness they will maintain the bevel or merely just a mustang roll - depending on the type of diet the horse is receiving and the environment in which the horse lives on a day to day basis.
Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate is the best-selling author of 10 Secrets to Healthy Hooves as well as a noted author for various international equine publications includingThe Horses Hoof, Equine Wellness, Natural Horse Planet as well as a contributing author for the 2001 United States Federal Mounted Border Patrol Training Manual. For the last 37+ years, she has maintained healthy hooves with natural trimming on thousands of horses and specialized in pathological rehabilitation hoofcare for the last 18 years. She and her husband John keep a small herd of their own equine in SW Florida and continue to offer consults for horses in need. For further information please click here: www.thepenzancehorse.com/2012/RESUME.pdf
Gwen also offer Home Study courses for those who wish to further their education on various aspects of the 'natural' horse (including Natural Hoofcare 101). Please go here: PENZANCE Equine Integrative Educational Center