From dinner plates to dessert plates

Zelda's hooves pre-trim
Here are Zelda’s front feet pre-trim. They look huge but a lot of the diameter is flare.

When Zelda first arrived, her feet were the size of dinner plates, for one thing.

The problem was, their size was deceptively large because of flare. Let’s face it, draft crosses are prone to flare because they are often big, heavy horses. If the flare isn’t controlled during the trim/shoeing cycle it can get out of control. The more flare you have, the more flare you will have as the hoof will continue to grow out.

Zelda had been barefoot for some time and her hooves, while good, had spread. She had front shoes but the shoes were nailed into the flared part of the hoof — not ideal. In addition, she had cracks in her front toes that were being exacerbated by the flare.

Old shoe vs. new
Zelda had been shod to the flared hoof. You can see the difference here between the old shoe (on top) and the one about to be nailed on. We also added leather rim pads to achieve a better/flatter surface for the shoe.

My farrier came initially to trim her back hooves as she had serious chipping going on (flare again), but when she was worried about the cracks in front and so she took the front shoes off and trimmed them too. For a first pass at fixing the flare she did a great job. Zelda’s hooves are far more balanced and they will now grow in a better shape. She put leather rim pads on to help achieve a flatter, more even connection and to allow her to nail further up the hoof wall where it’s stronger.

Right front
The crack in her right front hid a bacterial infection that required some resection. Eliminating the bacteria and exposing the area to air plus treating it daily with an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal product will help her grow healthy hoof.


Unfortunately, there was a bacterial infection in the crack on the right front hoof. To stop it from traveling further up the crack, she had to resect the hoof — she now has a healthy divot in her hoof that I’m treating daily with an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal treatment (I mostly use White Lightning and white vinegar).

Post trim
Here’s her left front post trim. The shape of the hoof his much better and the nails are higher so that they are in a stronger part of the hoof wall. You can see how the laminae have been stretched (the lighter part of the hoof). Despite the aggressive trim (or maybe because of it) she’s moving better and is more sure footed.

I worried that such a big change in her feet would make her uncomfortable but she felt great the last two rides. In fact, while she had tripped a bit before the trim she was very sure footed with her newly trimmed toes. She still has good sized feet but there down to the size of dessert plates!

4 thoughts on “From dinner plates to dessert plates

    1. I don’t think her feet bothered her! I’m just glad we got them under control before the White Line (or other bacterial infection) spread any further.

Leave a Reply