Natural Hoof Care

The Natural Trim – Precistion trim

The Natural Trim originated with Jaime Jackson and the ideas surrounding it are revolutionary for the current awareness of what constitutes a hoof. The common belief that horses need shoes for support and protection still prevails in equestrian circles, and the idea of a barefoot horse at work is unthinkable. However, with passage of time, and new information backed by good science, many NHC publications present irrefutable evidence of sound, healthy hooves and horses. The Natural Trim when done in the right way has immense value to the hoof. This trim approach does not shape the hoof but rather mimics the natural wear patterns. The hoof is “shaped” and balanced through the holistic application of the Four Pillars of Natural Horse Care. The Natural Trim evokes more natural hoof growth patterns through a closed feedback loop presented below. 

Biodynamically shaped hooves

The Natural Trim in relation to the biodynamic cycle of form and function. Source: The Natural Trim Principles and Practice, (2012) J. Jackson

The Natural Trim does not invade the natural structures of the hoof capsule, therefore it is a safe trim method. The process of mimicking the natural wear patterns follows Four Guiding Principles that form the Natural Trim guidelines. These Guidelines are:

  • Leave that which should be there naturally.
  • Remove only that which is naturally worn away in the wild.
  • Allow to grow that which should be there naturally but isn’t due to human meddling.
  • Ignore all pathology.

The hoof capsule is a living part of the horse’s body and is permanently attached to the horse (unless it becomes very sick, we call it hoof sloughing). It also means that the epidermal structures of the hoof are capable of transmitting information to the nervous system through its complex structure affecting growth patterns. Invading excessively any of the structures through systemic trim methods and regular removal of what is intended to be there will result in further pathology.

Through the eyes of an NHC practitioner, the Natural Trim is facilitated, the hoof is never forced into a “healthier” looking shape. The shape of the hoof capsule depends on the vitality of the structures forming it. If the environment of horses living in domestication mimics the adaptive environment of the equine species, then the Supercorium is given an optimum chance to grow a healthy hoof capsule. Then the role and responsibility of the practitioner is to maintain biodynamically balanced hooves through precision cuts; and to communicate with the internal structures that produce the hoof capsule.

The role of the horse owner is to find ways in which the Natural Horse Care principles can be applied. Meaning lifestyle changes. These can seem unreasonably costly, and labour intensive, however with the long-term view in mind the prevention-based approach is much more financially sustainable and provides a solution to many other ailments domesticated horses suffer from. In an adaptive environment soundness is commonplace.

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Healthy hoof emerges through the diligent application of the four Pillars of Natural Horse Care.

Recommended Read

Natural Hoof Care

  • The Natural Trim: Principles and Practice (2012) J. Jackson
  • The Natural Trim: Basic Guidelines (2019) J. Jackson
  • The Natural Trim: Advanced Guidelines (2019) J. Jackson
  • The Supercorium, J. Jackson, (2003), Star Ridge Publishing, Natural Hoof Care Series

NHC Hoof Mechanism Model

  • The Natural Trim: Principles and Practice (2012) J. Jackson – p. 135 – 155
  • The Natural Trim: Basic Guidelines (2019) J. Jackson – p. 88 – 90
  • The Natural Horse: Lessons from the Wild (2020 edition) – p. 84 – 87

Theory of H° and Healing Field

  • The Natural Trim: Basic Guidelines (2019) J. Jackson
  • The Healing Angle (H°): Nature’s Gateway to the Healing Field J. Jackson
  • The Natural Trim: Advanced Guidelines (2019) J. Jackson