Rumi, "Rasps Width" Wall Length & TFTT (Trim From The Top) for Long Toes

April 21, 2009, 6 week trim


Rumi is an Appendix QH,


Diet is a critical consideration for soundness. At the time of this trim, Rumi lived in a soft grassy pasture at a large boarding facility in coastal California, where there is abundant meadow grass that gets heavily grazed, but not to the point where it is grazed down. His pasture feed is supplemented by grass hay and alfalfa, and until recently he was getting grain and molasses. This is a very rich diet, and most horses can't tolerate it. Tessa removed him from the grain and molasses and recently put him on Sally Hugg's CA Trace Minerals.

In early 2011, we discovered that Rumi had a sacroilliac injury, which explained his stance behind. Even if he'd just had a chiropractic adjustment, he llooked off in the hip. A sacroilliat injury explains the crushed heel and long toe on his rear feet.


Rumi has been out if shoes for a while and was trimmed by a farrier.

When his owner contacted me , I was going to refer her to someone else because she's 20 minutes outside of my region, but because she also wanted to do several mentorship's to learn how to trim, I wanted to get her started and have my ex apprentice work with her after a few trims.

Rumi "has always had" very long toes and tripped a lot.

Really Long Toes

I usually trim horses with super long toes on a 4 or 5 week cycle until I get the toes under control, but this month, we and I had a schedule mix up and Rumi had to wait 6 weeks. Not only was he over-due for a trim, but his feet were in the middle of a seasonal growth spurt which put even more foot on the ground.

When I trim, my upper bevel is set up to wear almost to the ground by the next trim. Rumi had completely worn off my old bevel and has almost 1/3 inch of wall below the sole line when we started this trim. When I saw all of that long wall, I turned the trim into a training lesson for is owner and let her take pictures for his case study.

Trim Approach

I usually start from the top with a rasp and, using vertical strokes, remove some of the imbalance, and I keep 1/4 to 1/8 inch of wall between the junction of the wall and sole and the outer edge of my bevel. I can feel this distance with my fingers as I work from the top, but when training I often work from the bottom so that people can see it. In this case, I began trimming from the bottom. My trim is detailed in the pictures below...

I found the slight ridge which defined where the coffin bone pressure on the sole created a toe callus and outlined it. When this ridge is coincident with the white line, there is a strong coffin bone attachment to the wall and no lamellar wedge. In Rumi's case there is a slight lamellar wedge, so I brought the wall break over back to a "rasps width" (1/8 inch) of that ridge between 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock (if the tip of the toe is 12 o'clock), then brought the remaining wall down to a rasps width of the sole.

A Rasp's Width???

I show this measuring technique below, when I place the rasp against the sole and measure the length of the inner edge of the wall.

I sometimes take the wall shorter on super sound horses with thick soles, but have found that leaving at this much wall above the sole keeps horses from retaining a super thick excess sole, and is enough to provide good traction and protect the sensitive areas closer to the live lamina.

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Don't Fall In Love With How Your Trim Looks!!!

Fall in love with watching horses move comfortably, with helping them to move sounder. If you're a good trimmer, you'll allow your trim to evolve and change, you won't get stuck in a rut and begin to identify with "how I do things". If I see someone else do something that looks interesting, I try it out to see how it works for me... I don't care if the person I learn from is from a totally different school of thought, what matters is sounder horses.

Some horses want longer walls and a well defined bevel! I had one horse that was only comfortable with a full 1/4 inch of wall, which frustrated me as a trimmer, but with that much wall, the horse was super sound on all footing, with less, he was tender for weeks. I would leave him long for a few months and he'd be super sound, then I would try to take him down to "my normal wall length" and he'd be gimpy.

Just because a wall height or trim style appeals to us as trimmers, doesn't mean it is the best thing for our horses...

Leaving this much wall works great for most horses, leaving more wall typically (not always) results in wall flare by 2 to 4 weeks, leaving less wall than this often results in horses who don't get super sound.

The Top Center picture shows Rumi's trimmed foot after I trimmed it from the bottom and before I trimmed it from the top.

What's interesting is that even though I had a well defined lower bevel, when Rumi weights his foot, the wall distorts slightly under pressure and the bevel disappears. When I pick that foot up, the wall relaxes and the bevel is visible again.

These walls are malleable, and particularly when the walls are soft and moist, the walls flex and adjust to the surface the horse is standing standing on.


My approach to Trim From The Top is to use an upper bevel the remove imbalance and to thin the wall slightly so that the area I bevel wears to the ground in approximately 5 weeks.

If a horse has pigeon toes or other imbalance in how they wear their walls, I thin the wall a little more where wall accumulates so that the wall wears evenly through the trim cycle.

Why I Keep My Bevel Low - Boots Stay on!

Some trimmers rasp the whole wall to remove flair, sometimes ending up with a very high and dubbed edge... there are all sorts of ways of dressing the wall, and I don't know that one way is better than any other.

I keep my belel low, typically 1/4 to 1/3 inch above the ground, because I like to see where the wall would be without my interference.

I avoid rasping above this point because more wall surface fills out the boots better and adds to the surface tension that I feel is essential to great boot fit.

My Theory On Why "Dubbed" Toes Are Hard To Boot

I have an ex-friend who trims differently than I do and has failure after failure with booting, and she blames it, intermittently, on the boots and her previous wet climate.

Boots aren't perfect, and a wet, muddy climate does change how boots stay on, but I have rain and mud here and very few problems with boots flying off. So I started thinking about why boots work so well for me that I can do hard trail rides in EasyCare Glue on shells with no glue, or even Gloves that are a size too big.

I have had trouble fitting boots for people who get a regular farrier trim because when the wall edge is over-long and flared, the boot to wall contact is only tight at the base of the wall, its loose above the base so the boots spin on the hoof.  Similarly, when the wall is beveled high ("dubbed") the boots contact with the wall starts up high on the wall, so the contact isn't acceptable, and again, the hoof turns in the boot.

When the hoof doesn't fill out the boot, the boot can bend and distort at the toe, allowing the toe of the hoof to push back. Or that's my theory!


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