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Natural Balance method question

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  • Natural Balance method question

    Patty I'm guessing would be able to answer this best possibly.

    I've been watching a few videos about natural balance explaining how they balance the hoof and trim, both for shoeing and for a barefoot horse.

    The thing I noticed, and he mentioned it in the video - was on the barefoot horse, when using his nippers, he nipped closer to the sole along the quarters. when he had the hoof up on the stand, and dressed, you could see where there was a definite upward concavity (if thats the right word) along the quarters of the hoof - so to me it looked like he was doing a trim that was more 'feral' in type. Which is fine..


    My question is, I just don't get it (cuz I'm dense maybe)
    If you trim using natural balance techniques, and make the wall flat, ie, because the shoe is flat, why would you use a feral type trim on the barefoot horse? I can't see it being all that different, other then leaving a bit more wall, so they aren't walking on their sole, to make up for the lack of a shoe - why not dress the wall flat all the way around?
    Originally posted by ExJumper
    Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.

  • #2
    great question. And it is not just NB trimming that contours the wall to follow the sole shape. Most barefoot trims are done that way. I 'sculpted' the quarters out on barefoot trims long before I ever did NB because if I didn't they would break out there a week after I did the trim and the customers would call and complain about the chipping. So it was not at all new for me when I leearnd to do NB.
    The reason is because it is natural for the quarters to break out to so the wall follows the contured shape of the sole. Some will be flatter some more concave. It depends on the sole shape.
    So a barefoot trim is simply following nature's design and doing the sculpiting with the rasp instead of waiting for it to break out anyway.
    The areas of the bare foot that are closer to the ground (heels and toe corners) are not being forced to bear weight constantly every second of the day with no relief because the horse is always taking his foot on and off the ground, so the load is dynamic....a "give and take".
    But if you placed a flat metal shoe on a 'not flat' foot and then nailed it down tightly there would be constant pressure points even when the foot was off the ground, and you could cause bruising in the heels and toe corners.
    So that is why the foot needs to be flat for a shoe.
    Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
    Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.
    www.hoofcareonline.com

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      thanks Patty, - that makes sense. I'm running 6 endurance horses this year, 2 barefoot (no boots) and 6 shod. *pant* I swear I never get off a horse these days!

      2 issues.

      1 one of my barefoot horses is flaring terribly at the quarters, so we have shortened his trim cycle in an effort to prevent that, when he gets trimmed at the moment, he is trimmed flat all the way round - we've had a very wet year, and he's never had this issue before, so I'm thinking we need to adjust something -obviously.

      2. another gelding we are having issues with in that his front feet just continually grow forward, and his heels are starting to look ugly. Contracted or close to I guess is the phrasing.

      ETA: gelding 2 is shod.

      My farrier (whom I adore) and I were discussing it, even with a fairly short shoeing and trim cycle, they aren't improving as well as they should (farrier agrees totally with that statement - he made it ) and my farrier suggested we look into NB shoeing, (he's not an NB farrier) but he felt it was worth some research, as he said he's seen some good results in passing seeing other horses done this way. Cuz he's a busy guy, I said I'd see what I could find out, and we'd discuss it more when he comes next week.
      Originally posted by ExJumper
      Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Patty Stiller View Post
        The areas of the bare foot that are closer to the ground (heels and toe corners) are not being forced to bear weight constantly every second of the day with no relief because the horse is always taking his foot on and off the ground, so the load is dynamic....a "give and take".

        But if you placed a flat metal shoe on a 'not flat' foot and then nailed it down tightly there would be constant pressure points even when the foot was off the ground, and you could cause bruising in the heels and toe corners.
        So that is why the foot needs to be flat for a shoe.
        This doesn't seem right. Are you suggesting when you nail a shoe on it's causing pressure? And if you're still holding the foot between your legs and nail a shoe on with the quarters scooped it's causing even more pressure in the heels and toe?

        I would think when the foot is not on the ground, whether there's a shoe on or not it's not weight bearing. And when the foot is on the ground, the parts touching the ground are weight bearing.

        I don't understand how if you nail a shoe on a flat or unflat foot it will add extra pressure to any part of the foot until it puts it's foot on the ground.
        Eric Russell CJF

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Patty Stiller View Post
          The reason is because it is natural for the quarters to break out to so the wall follows the contured shape of the sole.
          That is a big assumption that does not account for;
          1. The dynamics of weight bearing in varied soils.
          2. Changes in horn mechanical properties with changes in horn moisture.
          3. Places where horses do NOT naturally break out in the quarters due to (1) and (2).
          Some will be flatter some more concave. It depends on the sole shape.
          So a barefoot trim is simply following nature's design and doing the sculpiting with the rasp instead of waiting for it to break out anyway.
          So if it doesn't break out or flare in a 5 week trim cycle, I probably ought not to mess with nature and impose a Colorado or Montana trim on a Maryland or Delaware foot?

          So that is why the foot needs to be flat for a shoe.
          I've never seen shoes wear more in the quarters, have you?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by eruss View Post
            This doesn't seem right. Are you suggesting when you nail a shoe on it's causing pressure? And if you're still holding the foot between your legs and nail a shoe on with the quarters scooped it's causing even more pressure in the heels and toe?
            There could be a certain amount of "spring loading" in the heel and toe area if all the nails were driven in the quarters while there was no wall contact with the shoe in the quarters. This would last until the shoe bent in the quarters under a load or the clinches pulled out of the wall due to sprung vibration or perhaps not matter at all of the shoe was fit appropriately in the toe and heels and the clinches were not over blocked. It depends, YMMV, plurality of anecdote ani't data.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rainechyldes View Post
              My farrier (whom I adore) and I were discussing it, even with a fairly short shoeing and trim cycle, they aren't improving as well as they should (farrier agrees totally with that statement - he made it ) and my farrier suggested we look into NB shoeing, (he's not an NB farrier) but he felt it was worth some research, as he said he's seen some good results in passing seeing other horses done this way.
              Unfortunately a lot of folks seem to get the idea that nailing a Natural Balance shoe on a horse's foot is Natural Balance. That just ain't so.

              I strongly suggest that you and your farrier look at NB shoeing protocols and not confuse that with NB Shoes.

              The NB protocols can be applied with just about any type of horseshoe. AND as with most other aspects of farriery, these protocols are best learned with hands-on instruction from folks like Patty Stiller (bunch of initials go here indicating she rocks with NB stuff.)

              Comment


              • #8
                My horses break out the quarters during dry/hard weather/ground.

                When the weather is wet, soft terrain, etc they do not break the quarters.

                It seems to be there are plenty of factors that nature uses to determine a correct balance for a foot-it has worked out better on this end to respect those factors

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rainechyldes View Post

                  2 issues.

                  1 one of my barefoot horses is flaring terribly at the quarters, so we have shortened his trim cycle in an effort to prevent that, when he gets trimmed at the moment, he is trimmed flat all the way round - we've had a very wet year, and he's never had this issue before, so I'm thinking we need to adjust something -obviously.

                  2. another gelding we are having issues with in that his front feet just continually grow forward, and his heels are starting to look ugly. Contracted or close to I guess is the phrasing.

                  ETA: gelding 2 is shod.

                  Sometimes this issue is a trim question (or shoe placement question) and these questions can be answered by addressing the trim or shoe.

                  Obviously.

                  Below is going to apply to bare horses-obviously a shoe will change the dynamics of wear, etc

                  What many folks fail to realize (and another reason photo assessments can really deceive and trimming to internet advice based on photos is not such a great idea for horses)...anyway

                  What many folks fail to realize is imbalances can also be created by things that you just can't trim your way out of.

                  Environment-if you trim a horse for an abrasive terrain and he is stabled on soft terrain, his foot will grow to adapt to his terrain. Change the terrain and you change the foot

                  Workload-similar to environment. If you work him on abrasive terrain, he will wear a foot seen on horses stabled in that terrain...also you MUST consider the rider and how the horse is asked to travel.

                  Long forward toes and heels will happen to a horse allowed to travel on his forehand. Flares will happen if a horse is not traveling straight. In the same way, you can take a bare horse with flares, never trim him and change how he moves under saddle and the flares will go away

                  Limb deviations...how are his legs placed on his body? At some point I will barefoot trimmers would look above the hairline (and some farriers as well)...what about his shoulders, hip, croup? All of these factors influence hoof growth.

                  Heck saddle fit can impact hoof growth, tension in the horse can impact hoof growth (as it relates to loading of the hoof from the body tension)...

                  Anyway, some food for thought...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    1
                    one of my barefoot horses is flaring terribly at the quarters, so we have shortened his trim cycle in an effort to prevent that, when he gets trimmed at the moment, he is trimmed flat all the way round - we've had a very wet year, and he's never had this issue before, so I'm thinking we need to adjust something -obviously.
                    Some feet even if trimmed well may flare if they get some growth on them and conditions are extremely wet. But Most often , flaring in the quarters is due to inadequate trimming of the heels. If the heels start to run forward, some other opart of the hoof wall gets pushed somewhere and usually that is the quarters. Trim the heels back adequately and the quarter flaring is reduced or eliminated.

                    2. another gelding we are having issues with in that his front feet just continually grow forward, and his heels are starting to look ugly. Contracted or close to I guess is the phrasing. ETA: gelding 2 is shod.
                    First see above.... trim heels. And make sure the break over point is kept where it belongs relative to the BONE inside instead of set to the end of a distorted toe. That is where hoof mapping comes in.

                    My farrier (whom I adore) and I were discussing it, even with a fairly short shoeing and trim cycle, they aren't improving as well as they should (farrier agrees totally with that statement - he made it ) and my farrier suggested we look into NB shoeing, (he's not an NB farrier)
                    NB is primarily the TRIM. Second important part is the place the shoe is set onTHAT TRIM according to accurate foot mapping . Last and least important is using the NB shoe itself.
                    but he felt it was worth some research, as he said he's seen some good results in passing seeing other horses done this way.
                    I am glad he is open to learning. He likely saw it done by someone who is doing it right, from the trim instead of just a NB shoe nailed on an improperly trimmed foot.
                    Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
                    Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.
                    www.hoofcareonline.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What many folks fail to realize (and another reason photo assessments can really deceive and trimming to internet advice based on photos is not such a great idea for horses)...anyway
                      Actually good photos are an extremely viable way to assess many hoof issues, when they are being evaluated by people familiar with recognizing hoof distortions. In fact a photo often reveals things the naked eye might miss with hoof in hand. Even some of my own work that I thought was terrific had little issues that looked like c r u d when I saw the close up photo.
                      What many folks fail to realize is imbalances can also be created by things that you just can't trim your way out of.
                      MOST imbalances can be trimmed away. And hoof imbalances except on the most dire of limb pathologies can be well managed.
                      Environment-if you trim a horse for an abrasive terrain and he is stabled on soft terrain, his foot will grow to adapt to his terrain. Change the terrain and you change the foot
                      In soft terrain the foot is not "adapting". It is simply not getting "self trimmed" by the environment . That is where human intervention comes in to give the foot the maintainance that the environment is unable to do.
                      Workload-similar to environment. If you work him on abrasive terrain, he will wear a foot seen on horses stabled in that terrain...also you MUST consider the rider and how the horse is asked to travel.

                      Long forward toes and heels will happen to a horse allowed to travel on his forehand.
                      Really? and who did such a study? I have not ever seen that correlation. On the other hand, I DO see horses with long toes and long heels who travel on the forehand and change to better movement and heel first landing as soon as the feet are fixed, so which came first....the chicken or the egg?
                      Flares will happen if a horse is not traveling straight.
                      Flares most often come from hoof imbalance. Hoof imbalance causes poor travelling.
                      In the same way, you can take a bare horse with flares, never trim him and change how he moves under saddle and the flares will go away
                      I have taken many barefoot horses with flares DID trim them ,and the flares went away and did not come back... with no changes in riding.
                      Limb deviations...how are his legs placed on his body? At some point I will barefoot trimmers would look above the hairline (and some farriers as well)...what about his shoulders, hip, croup? All of these factors influence hoof growth.
                      But well maintained hooves even on a somewhat crooked horse do not *have* to flare. Of course SEVERE deviations (severe carpus varus or fetlock varus for example) will cause flaring but that is beyond everyday subtle limb deviations.
                      Heck saddle fit can impact hoof growth, tension in the horse can impact hoof growth (as it relates to loading of the hoof from the body tension)...

                      Anyway, some food for thought...
                      It may be food for thought ,but most of it is excuses for poor hoof maintainance. Knowing what I know now after thirty years in this trade , I get tired of hearing excuses for poor hoof form that are for the most part preventable and fixable by proper trimming and shoeing, and in far too many cases actually caused by the farrier or trimmer.
                      Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
                      Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.
                      www.hoofcareonline.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You are missing a big part of the point Patty.

                        But I would expect as much because it would mean you may learn something from someone with less experience than you.

                        That just doesn't seem like it would sit well with you.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
                          Unfortunately a lot of folks seem to get the idea that nailing a Natural Balance shoe on a horse's foot is Natural Balance. That just ain't so.

                          I strongly suggest that you and your farrier look at NB shoeing protocols and not confuse that with NB Shoes.

                          The NB protocols can be applied with just about any type of horseshoe. AND as with most other aspects of farriery, these protocols are best learned with hands-on instruction from folks like Patty Stiller (bunch of initials go here indicating she rocks with NB stuff.)
                          oh I'm aware of that, so he is he. He mentioned it to me, as a lets look into it- he's the type of farrier who continually upgrades his education every year he's off to another course/upgrade, whatever you wish to call it, covering different protocols etc - and I wouldn't be one bit surprised if he said he would look into taking a course on NB, esp since he brought up the thought concerning the shod gelding especially maybe benefiting from NB.
                          Originally posted by ExJumper
                          Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by LMH View Post
                            Sometimes this issue is a trim question (or shoe placement question) and these questions can be answered by addressing the trim or shoe.

                            Obviously.

                            Below is going to apply to bare horses-obviously a shoe will change the dynamics of wear, etc

                            What many folks fail to realize (and another reason photo assessments can really deceive and trimming to internet advice based on photos is not such a great idea for horses)...anyway

                            What many folks fail to realize is imbalances can also be created by things that you just can't trim your way out of.

                            Environment-if you trim a horse for an abrasive terrain and he is stabled on soft terrain, his foot will grow to adapt to his terrain. Change the terrain and you change the foot

                            Workload-similar to environment. If you work him on abrasive terrain, he will wear a foot seen on horses stabled in that terrain...also you MUST consider the rider and how the horse is asked to travel.

                            Long forward toes and heels will happen to a horse allowed to travel on his forehand. Flares will happen if a horse is not traveling straight. In the same way, you can take a bare horse with flares, never trim him and change how he moves under saddle and the flares will go away

                            Limb deviations...how are his legs placed on his body? At some point I will barefoot trimmers would look above the hairline (and some farriers as well)...what about his shoulders, hip, croup? All of these factors influence hoof growth.

                            Heck saddle fit can impact hoof growth, tension in the horse can impact hoof growth (as it relates to loading of the hoof from the body tension)...

                            Anyway, some food for thought...
                            Food for thought is good imo. Hence my opening question

                            Environment wise, - they live out 24/7 on what they work in - rocky glacial terrain. The barefoot's horse flaring this year is a new thing - generally we have super hard ground spring/summer/fall - and he never has an issue. The only thing that has changed is the exceptionally cold/late/very wet year we've had, it literally 'just' stopped pouring every day about 3 weeks ago - very abnormal weather patterns -
                            hence the thought is, because it was so soft/wet/muddy and suddenly got baked rock hard ground - his feet didn't have the normal harden up pattern they usually do each feb/early april - when we usually get a slow transition from winter mud/raid to our normal you can't dig a hoe in the ground with a pickaxe.

                            I can see definitely how conformation/ movement would/could affect the development of flares, I have a background in such, however I do kind of find it doubtful it would develop this year out of 8 of the same tack/rider/farrier work. Not impossible - I will be videoing both of them this afternoon - sometimes I find that helps, rather then when I just watch them with an eyeball as they go past.

                            As for traveling on the forehand - remember these are endurance horses - it is very common for them to travel in this manner (I don't prefer it) but I'm talking as commonality throughout the sport - many riders use a big trot (extended) for many miles - where the horse is quite obviously traveling on the forehand more so then they really should.

                            the shod gelding (1 who is running forward) does have a big extension. He is fairly well balanced, but does he run onto his forehand, sure- I would say he does (I'm not his main rider anymore, my eldest is) however his rider is pretty quick about pulling him together - as endurance is her off-sport - eventer by trade these days- so isn't your garden variety 'lets run em down the trail in whatever frame' person.
                            Originally posted by ExJumper
                            Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You are missing a big part of the point Patty.
                              and which part of what point was that?
                              But I would expect as much because it would mean you may learn something from someone with less experience than you.
                              wrong. Your theories are old, so I have heard them many times before. Therefore it is not because of your lack of experience in farriery but because I have already have had years of real world experience to give me the information I need to form my opinions.
                              In other words, I have heard the same arguments on this subject about flares from peers who have as much experience as myself , and based on my own experiences I disagree. It is probably because I treat hooves a little differently than those peers who agree with you on this subject. So I have obtained different results. And therefore formed a different opinion. That's it.
                              That just doesn't seem like it would sit well with you.
                              Your ASSumtion about my willingness to learn does not sit well, when you have no idea what I actually do to continue to learn.
                              Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
                              Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.
                              www.hoofcareonline.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Patty Stiller View Post
                                It may be food for thought ,but most of it is excuses for poor hoof maintainance. Knowing what I know now after thirty years in this trade , I get tired of hearing excuses for poor hoof form that are for the most part preventable and fixable by proper trimming and shoeing, and in far too many cases actually caused by the farrier or trimmer.
                                BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO. Had to fire a guy who lamed four out of ten horses in just two visits (two had shoes, two are barefoot). He used the NB shoes, but not correctly. STILL dealing with the after math as a fifth horse developed white line disease from the toes stretching, although he didn't go lame. Then, I had to fly a farrier in from Maryland to re-balance their feet.

                                I think the OP got her question answered?
                                JB-Infinity Farm
                                www.infinitehorses.com

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Oh cry me a river Patty-my 'theories' may be old or new but it does not make them less true.

                                  First, they are not *MY* theories but common sense observations.

                                  I have SEEN a horse have toes back up without human intervention simply by changing his training.

                                  Just one example.

                                  How can you be a 'professional' of thirty years and not recognize the connection between hoof form and the impact/influences on the feet?

                                  Honestly to deny the connection shows a lack of understanding of the total interaction of the body of the horse.

                                  Can imbalances be trimmed away? Of course. Will they return if the source is not corrected? yes.

                                  Basic, run of the mill common sense.

                                  I suppose it somehow makes you feel better to call me an ass? Makes you feel like a big girl?

                                  Please do stop wasting time with some effort to 'internet bully' me with silly names. It doesn't make you pretty.

                                  While I may not have 30 years of farrier experience, I do have years of experience riding and living with my horses allowing the luxury to observe changes-how new saddles, tension, balance while riding, rider weight, weather and daily environment ALL influence hoof growth and subsequent balances or imbalances.

                                  This is far from an example of poor hoof care-it is an example of considering the entire horse rather than micromanaging hooves-something that result in missing the entire boat.
                                  Last edited by LMH; Jul. 10, 2011, 12:37 PM.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by spotmenow View Post
                                    He used the NB shoes, but not correctly.
                                    How does a NB shoe get used correctly or incorrectly compared to any other shoe?
                                    Eric Russell CJF

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      How does a NB shoe get used correctly or incorrectly compared to any other shoe?
                                      Because the NB shoe toe design (the roll in particular) ,can cause more problems if set wrong than a flat plain shoe.

                                      For example if it is just arbritrarily set back from the toe because the farrier thinks that all NB is set back,(which it isn't) it can really screw up the horses movement.The roll moves the breakover back off the end of the shoe quite a ways to begin with, so if the whole shoe is set back, the breakover point can be too far back in a hurry compared to a flat traditional shoe.
                                      Set too far back it can really mess up the horses movement. AND if the farrier fails to trim tall heels down enough too, you risk harming the horses suspensory ligaments.
                                      If you set a NB shoe too far forward (again failing to map the foot for the shoe placement) without narrowing the toe, at best it is ineffective and at worst you can cause ugly toe corner flares. etc etc etc.
                                      Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
                                      Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.
                                      www.hoofcareonline.com

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                                      • #20
                                        So if it doesn't break out or flare in a 5 week trim cycle, I probably ought not to mess with nature and impose a Colorado or Montana trim on a Maryland or Delaware foot?
                                        Probably a good idea. BTW I didn't learn this in Colorado. My Bay Area California feet either chipped or flared a bit if I didn't dress the quarters out a little more than the rest of the foot at the trim.
                                        Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
                                        Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.
                                        www.hoofcareonline.com

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