"My concept of a natural hoof trim is to provide a well balanced natural hoof so as to maximize the natural mechanics of the hoof which will increase hoof flexibility, improve overall blood flow and health, and the hoof will condition and adapt to its living environment."
It is important to remember that a healthy hoof can only be produced by a healthy foot in a healthy animal, so one must consider the overall health of an animal along with foot care. An understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the foot will help in understanding the underlying causes of lameness.
Normal healthy hooves will grow approximately 6 mm per month or 3 inches per year. Some animals that do a lot of walking on rough terrain may naturally wear down these surfaces. If the animal doesn't wear these surfaces down in walking, the toe and lateral hoof wall will need additional trimming periodically to balance the foot and prevent lameness.
Lameness in animals may be caused by a number of factors:
•improper trimming or lack of trimming of hooves
Prompt and proper recognition and treatment of foot problems is critical to maintaining a healthy, productive animal. Prevention of lameness is aided by good genetic selection of animals that do not have post legged conformation, corkscrew or roll claws, shallow heels or sickle hocks.
Providing good, well balanced nutrition, avoiding abrupt feed changes and ingestion of toxic material such as ergot infested grain or endophyte infested fescue grass will aid in prevention of lameness.
Animal housing should provide an environment free from junk or large stones that could puncture or bruise the feet. Cement must provide the proper footing; too much roughness will cause hooves to wear too quickly, while too much smoothness will cause injuries due to slipping and too little wear on hooves.
Isolation and quarantine of new animals, provision of clean, dry ground and use of foot bathes can minimize infectious diseases of the foot.
“Do you Remember the last time you tried to break in a new stiff pair of boots, or shoes. Your feet really hurt, your legs were sore from walking without being able to bend and flex your feet. Your back even hurt and you were probably miserable. You got tired very quickly and wanted to go home. Sound familiar? Now imagine walking around in steel shoes ALL the time!”