It’s the building block. It’s the foundation of everything we do for Ol’ Thunder’s feet. It’s a basic trim.

Contrary to current wisdom, there are only two kinds of trims. BAD trims and GOOD ones.  I know, I know, all the rage is “barefoot trims”, which are supposed to be really good trims and somewhat special. Back in the day, we just called them Good Trims!

What IS trimming a horse’s hoof, anyway? Trimming is nothing more or less than cutting away excess hoof that isn’t needed, much like trimming our own fingernails. Trimming is shaping Thunder’s feet to be pleasing to the eye and to sculpt his feet in such a way as to get rid of distortions, and flares. Last, but certainly not least is rounding the edges of Thunder’s hoof wall to avoid chipping and splitting.

A good trim is balanced, level from front to back and side to side. Good trims aren’t wavey on the bottom of the foot and there are no heel crowns or long blooping toes shaped like boat paddles.

It takes practice for a farrier to do a good trim. It takes practice to be able to SEE a good trim when it has been done. To make this point, think of this. Rasping or nipping off as little as a quarter inch at the toe will RAISE Thunder’s hoof angle as much as 3 degrees! On the other hand nipping or rasping off his heels will LOWER your horse’s angle by as much as the same amount. Side to side? What if your farrier raised or lowered the sidewall a quarter inch? You guessed it. Thunder would walk crooked, not land flat and put enormous stress on his ligaments.

Next time your farrier comes, take a look. See what he or she does and watch closely. Ask questions. Ask him or her to show you what is happening with your horse’s hooves.

Good farrier work is a team effort! You, your horse and the farrier working together to achieve balance and a thing of beauty!


Ralph Hampton in the owner of Double H Horseshoeing. Double H Horseshoeing travels around Texas and Louisiana helping equines of all types. You can find them on Facebook at