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First Trim, October 19, 2005


Hi Linda
This has been in the making for a few days (and I type slow), but here's her story.

I bought Dezi as an 18 year old for my kids. She was on the market in March 2001, but could not pass a pre-purchase exam due to her feet. The owner had changed farrier's and they did different angles and who knows what else. The owner had his vet give her a good over and discovered her shoes where causing the lameness that failed the pre-purchase exam.

So back to the old farrier and 4 months later she passed my vets pre-purchase exam. A year into my ownership we moved to Sacramento area and I pulled her shoes the following fall. It was soft squishy mud everywhere. She was tender footed no matter where she walked, even in her paddock. Late winter I could not watch her walk ouchy any more so on went shoes. Oh so much better..

Well the next spring we were back to the bay area and was asked by a friend to breed. Ok , Well about 6 months into the pregnancy my farrier suggested pulling her shoes to toughen up her feet for when the baby was due. So after much discussion on her barefooted experiences before I let him pull them.

I took her out to the arena and for walks slowly, because she was so sore, I felt like a mean mama, but thought it would be best for her and the baby later. Much to our surprise NO BABY. A complete false pregnancy. My poor girl, fat, sore and no baby. The vet said cut her food intake and ride, that meant shoes again. so in a few weeks she got shoes,ahh wonderfully sound horse again. The first month she lost 75 pounds amazing what real exercise will do, the second month 50 pounds. By this time I had done enough research on the internet to believe in the Mustang barefoot trim, as you know Siouxnika is living proof. Why can't Dezi? if she can any horse can. I know she can I know she can I know she can.....yeah she can!!!!!!! I am so thrilled at her progress so far I wish everyone would do it. Thanks again Linda!


When Janett called and explained her predicament, I went through the familiar ritual of hoping I could be of some help.

Janett had fired her farrier because he kept putting off re shoeing her mare, Dezi, and she hadn't been able to find a good farrier to replace him.

Janett also has a barefoot Mustang. I promote the fact that I haven't found a horse that can't go barefoot, so she wanted to see if I'd try with Dezi. Janett tried taking Dezi's shoes off twice before, leaving them off for as long as a month with dismal results.

Poor Dezi was so sore both barefoot attempts that she couldn't walk and wouldn't leave her paddock. Janett even tried giving her Bute to help with the discomfort, but eventually gave up and re shod her.

Two of the most important factors in rehab - after hoof quality and balance - are environment and footing.

I had been trained to believe that it was almost impossible to rehab horses that have to spend time in confined in stalls and small paddocks, but have had success in the past so don't let it stop me.

In Dezi's case, I discovered that she lives in a 12x24 partially covered paddock with possible daily turnout in a large dry pasture... this is good.

What concerned me was the footing. Dezi's tender feet were almost sure to be bruised by the crushed recycled road base that covered the ranch.

Janett agreed that the footing might be a problem and agreed to get Epics if necessary to ensure that Dezi would get adequate exorcize.

I was also happy to discover that Janett worked nearby and came out at least once a day to feed and clean, and that she fed a good quality hay. If she wasn't able to be there for both feedings, someone else fed for her, so Dezi would be watched carefully.




"Here is a little back ground on the horses. Dezi is a Quarter horse of 21 years. Her shoes are now in the 12th week. she is wearing slippers.

At 7 weeks the farrier said there was nothing to trim, and this past week there wasn't enough time. I believe she is somewhat flat footed grows toe not much heel, tender footed as well. "




Dezi's feet looked as bad as I had feared.

Her shoes were worn thin and her extremely long walls had started to separate. Her sole was shedding, partially covered by overlaid bar.

Working from the bottom of her foot, I removed the shedding sole carefully with my nippers and took off the bare that folded over it, then took her walls down to 1/8 inch above the sole. I used my knives to clean out the separation to make it easier for Janett to remove gravel that became wedged in the crack, and cleaned up the frog to help keep the area clean.

I lightly rasped the walls level without touching the sole, then brought the heel buttresses back as far as I could while making them as level as I could height wise without violating the small gap (1/16 to 1/18 inch of height) between the level of the sole and the heel buttress.

The final step was to use my rasp to smooth and bevel the edge of the wall working from the top of the hoof. After an initial 45 degree bevel that touched the white line, I inspected the mares coronet band for upward flare caused by excessive wall length in the quarters, and beveled the base of the wall immediately below it a little higher to allow the wall to wear faster and thus relax down faster in that area.

Most of the coronet flair had relaxed down by the time I took pictures, as can be seen by looking at the inside quarters of the front left hoof.

This mares feet had a long way to go before they were functionally balanced, but she had a good start.


Dezi Barefoot - The First 20 Minutes

Dezi had picked her way across the rocks on her way down the hill in her 12 week old shoes, landing toe first as she literally hobbled into the shoeing shed. Her feet hurt, and her whole frame seemed to droop as a result.

So as we finished, I was considering letting her try a step of two on that same rock barefoot, but was ready to stop her to put boots on if she looked the least bit off. Before I could say anything, Janett untied her, turned her and started off towards the driveway. Dezi had her head up and looked around brightly as she stepped easily onto the hard rock, and was almost prancing as she followed Janett across it towards the steep driveway. I bit my tongue, ready to call out "Wait!" but... she was SOUND!! She walked heel first, she had okay stride length, and her eye and frame looked relaxed.

I followed them up the hill, out of room for more pictures on my camera card, amazed that she was this comfortable immediately. I asked Janett to watch her carefully and let me know if she got the least bit sore...

Retrim November 7, 2005 "Not one unsound step in 3 weeks!"

I called Janett and left a message about coming down for a retrim not quite 3 weeks later. I was apprehensive because Dezi had a history of being VERY unsound barefoot. She looked great when I saw her last, but sometimes horses get tender or bruised, and... this mare deserved good, comfortable feet.

I was delighted when I found an answering message on my machine - Janett was out of breath and laughing, they had just gotten back from the beach, yes she wanted me to retrim Dezi.

She laughed again saying "Don't worry Dezi is doing awesome! She hasn't taken one bad step the entire time, not one, and she's been out racing in the pasture every day. Her feet look great but they could use a trim and re balancing."

Leading Dezi down to the shoeing shed myself, I smiled as she wandered into the hard gravel and across the gravel on the paved road searching out stray strands of grass and hay.

Dezi was as sound as any 21 year old kids horse I'd seen, striding out and placing each heel down confidently, starting to trot when she noticed a clump of grass across the driveway... she feet had remodeled themselves over the past three weeks into solid platforms for her body.

Janett had told me that they had the mare out frequently either riding her (barefoot on this footing WITHOUT boots) or turning her out in the pasture, and stated that the mare was already sounder than she'd ever been in shoes. Janett was so delighted that she asked me to help her learn how to trim horses too.

Dezi's feet looked great considering where we started out 3 weeks ago, but they still had lots of improving to do.

Her front toes were still long, and she had lots of imbalance behind that we needed stronger walls and heels to address, but we were getting there. Her front left heel is under run, and wall separation was a challenge to deal with, but her soles and heel buttresses had calloused up rapidly. These feet weren't beautiful to look at but they were SOUND! Dezi had created wearable art...

I trimmed carefully, trying to support her feet, not carve them into what I think a great foot looks like.

The point is to trim in order to give the horse a foundation for athletic movement, then let them move so that they can finish the work with that movement.

Before The Trim
After The Trim



Front Right Before
Front Right After




Front Left Before
Front Left After






Rear Right Before
Rear Right After



Left Rear Before
Left Rear After


The Proof Is In The Movement...

Linda Cowles Hoof Care
Serving the greater SF Bay Area & Northern California
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