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Wild Kaimanawa horse photos courtesy of Heike Erhlenbach

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Hoofcare Organisation Of  New Zealand Inc.
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HOOFNZ FAQ Page Number 10

19 I usually only get my horses trimmed every 3 months or so, about when the hoof wall starts to split and break off. How often would I have to trim my horses if I followed this method?

3 months in most areas of NZ is just way too long! If your horse’s hooves are splitting and breaking off then nature has already taken over and is trying to reduce the excess growth by making the hoof wall break off.
A natural hoof care maintenance trim would be performed when the hoof wall gets to around Ĺ cm above the level of the sole. Anything more than this is causing unnecessary trauma to the internal structures of the hoof and undermining the soundness of your horse.
Overgrown hooves, whether shod or not are a major source of postural pain and gait changes in horses and can eventually lead to loss of performance and/or lameness.
4 weeks is the most common interval between trims but this will depend on how much riding the horse is getting and what type of surface the horse spends most of its time on. (also see question 7)

20 I tried taking the shoes off my horse but found barefoot didn’t work for her. Even after 2 months she wasn’t able to trot comfortably on a gravel road. Why didn’t it work for her?

Hopefully by now, if you have read all the other questions and answers, you will have a reasonable idea about the answer to this question. If not, here it is; 2 months is not anywhere near long enough for some horses to transition (see question 6) from shod to barefoot. Horses with thin weak soles and a poor laminar attachment (how the coffin bone attaches to the hoof wall) will usually need to grow a complete hoof capsule from the coronet to the ground before they have stronger, more durable feet. This process can take anywhere from 9 to 12 months. If you can’t be bothered taking the time your horse needs to grow healthy feet and make any necessary lifestyle changes, then natural hoof care is not for you. Also see question 15.

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