Massive Crack But Won’t Allow Hoof Trim – What Should I Do?

One of the wild mustangs, Cobra, doesn’t want his hooves trimmed – by anyone! He has a massive crack up the middle of his right front hoof; nearly splitting it in half. And he still doesn’t want any help.

He’s seen Kesia trim all four of Kaliah’s hooves (also one of the wildies) – unhaltered with the herd around. He’s watched me trim Makah’s hooves twice (another wild mustang who doesn’t want to be touched). The mustang babies and all the other horses (except Siyone, but her hooves are fine) have all had their hooves trimmed by Kesia or me. Everyone has their hooves trimmed completely at liberty (no halters, ropes, pens, etc) wherever they choose (field, barn, paddock) with the herd milling around them. And still, even when he’s limping, he refuses.

Come explore trust, permissions and the tension between wild/natural and domestication with Güliz Ünlü and me.

What happens when you let the horse be in charge of their own body? If you believe your horse is a fully sentient being, then, do they OWN their body – or do you? And if your horse says, No – are you a respectful person who listens to their horse, or are you negligent? And how much help do they really need?

Zorra first asked me all these questions five years ago, when she didn’t want me to pick out her hooves regularly. Even that was a shock to me, at that time, and something I hadn’t even considered.

Five years and 10 horses later, we explore all of those questions again in session with Cobra, and I’ll also show you what’s happened to his hoof over the last month, since the massive crack first appeared.

This video is half an hour long, so grab a cuppa and settle in…

I got a lot of comments from people on YouTube about this video – knowing the average YouTube viewer, many of them didn’t even watch the entire video before commenting! But… the crux of what those people are saying is this:

There are times when we just need to do what needs to be done, for their best.

In my opinion, there are two issues with that:

1. If the horse OWNS his own body, and is fully sentient, then surely he gets to decide what is best for his body. If not, then you would need to argue that either the horse is not sentient, or, he is a slave with someone else owning and having authority over his body.

2. So many times we humans think we know what’s best. We feel our convictions with every fibre of our being and are willing to go to the wall for what we think is right. Which doesn’t mean that it is. How’s planet earth doing since us humans took over management? As I talked about briefly in the video, I have already been shown by Zorra how horses use gross imbalances in the hoof to fix something elsewhere in the body. As soon as the lumbar, or the shoulder etc is sorted out, the horse either self-trims or asks us to remove that bit of hoof.

Cobra only limped for 2 days and otherwise, for the entire 6 weeks thus far, has remained fully mobile, galloping, wrestling, etc. So who am I to intervene and force my will upon his body when he is in nowhere near an emergency-intervention state? I took pictures yesterday and he has self-trimmed even more of that point (shown in the video) off the hoof. The rest of his hooves are in excellent condition and I have not touched them either.

The other difference between this herd and many domestic horses is that they have plenty of gravel to self-trim their hooves, if they wish. I would love to have others test exactly how much gravel is needed to self-trim adequately. From my own experiments, the smallest area I’ve tried that has been effective is 1500 s.f. and you need to use a layer of 3/4″ gravel and then 1/4″ (crusher) on top of that. And make sure none of the gravel you order has smooth, rounded edges – they need the rough crushed surfaces in order to trim.

Also, if a member of this crew wants help with something, or wants me to do it instead, they are well capable of requesting it. Sometimes I request permission and they give it readily.

Kesia and I have shot video footage spanning 2 years, as our hoof trimming paradigm has evolved, because the horses have taught us SO much about their bodies and their wisdom. We are currently editing all that footage into a documentary video, which will explain each of these aspects in more detail and show how these precepts play out over time. I find the dialogue multi-faceted and just plain fascinating!

Massive Crack But Won’t Allow Hoof Trim – What Should I Do?

LTYH content is free (and ad-free). It takes hundreds of hours per month to film, write, edit and publish these articles and videos, and thousands of dollars to sustain this herd. If you'd like to support the Singing Horse Herd in their work... Or if you've been blessed by their teachings and videos and would like to bless them in return... any donations to their care/food are gratefully received.

♥ $1 / month
♥ $3 / month
♥ $5 / month
♥ $10 / month
♥ $20 / month

You can also become a Singing Horse Angel with a one-time donation in any amount:

24 thoughts on “Massive Crack But Won’t Allow Hoof Trim – What Should I Do?

  • July 28, 2019 at 7:00 pm
    Permalink

    Oh man…I am deep in the thick of this hoof thing too! Between the four I share life with and the neighbors horse Stetson I am really wanting to go down the self trimming rabbit hole again! Buck has been telling me he wants to self trim and Bullet seems to be saying mostly the same thing! Dreamer is still recovering & healing from his founder and the laminitis flare up again this spring (although doing amazing) so I have a professional barefoot trimmer doing him and Banner! I feel he has really helped these two with their special individual hoof needs…and I also feel they seem to be good with him trimming there hooves each month! But Buck and I recently made a pack about him trying to self trim! California is rock hard dry right now so I feel it is a good time to give it a go again! Although I do have many very soggy muddy wet areas around the pine trees in there area that they go through several times a day! I did try to let them self trim when we first moved to this land …but the diet I was feeding them was not ideal so I feel it sabotaged the self trimming! Now I feel diet, movement and surface are in our favor so I really want to put my ideas of what hooves should look like …aside …and let the horses take charge! It’s only been 3 weeks and Bucks hooves look a fright! But we did a long walk down the paved road yesterday and they self trimmed a lot! I have also joined a self trimming hoof group and have already learned a lot from there experiences and feel it will help support me to stay the course! It just seems every time we trim the horses they are just a bit less sound then before? So who cares what they look like as long as they are functioning and landing mostly heel first! Also sometimes the ugly chips , angles and imbalances are helping them heal other issues! The neighbors horse has let me round his toes and bring them back but will not let me touch his back right? He continues to tell me don’t! So I am trying to listen but oh the human agenda! So strong! Also the images of what we think hooves should look like…bombard my brain…..but isn’t function a better indicator of hoof health…I know it is …but I still fight with the neglect feelings! A lot of the people in the self trimming group say the same thing…there scared or embarrassed for other horse people to see there horses self trimming hooves..and be accused of neglect! So crazy that even if the horse is rock crunching and super sound that a certain hoof form is still more coveted then soundness! I need to start a photo journal of Buck and Bullets self trimming so I can observe and share if and when all goes well! Would love to hear of any others in the LTYH family that let the horses self trim? ✌🏼❤️🐴

    Reply
    • July 28, 2019 at 10:54 pm
      Permalink

      What’s the link to the self-trimming group Michelle? Didn’t even know such a thing existed! I’d love to see what people are up to. Can you get them some 3/4″ gravel? I’m thinking even if you just lay down a 20-40′ pathway, then can choose to go up and down it if they wish. NOTHING helps them trim like gravel!

      And yes, Cobra was only limping for a few days, but before and after he was running around, wrestling with Juno (so lots of torque, leaps, etc). So again, challenging our ideas of what soundness looks/feels like.

      Reply
  • July 28, 2019 at 8:21 pm
    Permalink

    You ladies are awesome!!! Thank you for speaking it all at loud. This are things I have experienced over the years, And is great to have more people thinking and practicing the way I feel. The horses are a great teachers, and yes- When given the choice, they are responsible for their own body 🙂

    Reply
    • July 28, 2019 at 10:55 pm
      Permalink

      Love it! Some people believe that once an animal is domesticated, they lose some/most of their ability to connect to their own body wisdom, therefore they can’t make good choices anyway. But that’s not been my experience!

      Reply
  • July 28, 2019 at 10:21 pm
    Permalink

    After hearing your story about Zora’s hoof over a year ago, I took that idea and didn’t trim the hoof of a mare I had until she begged me. It was fascinating to see how she needed the flare that I had wanted to take off. Thankfully I listened to her and didn’t touch it. Then when the flare was almost completely off she found me, cocked the leg and wouldn’t leave until I nippered it off. Then a few weeks later she found me again when I was trimming my other horse and parked right where I was and cocked that foot again, and wouldn’t leave until I looked at it. She had me so well trained that I was hesitant to even pick up her foot. When she continued to stand there with her foot cocked, I finally agreed to look, but not trim. To my surprise she had to entire situation under control. She was never lame, and I was so glad I hadn’t trimmed her feet.

    I recently saw a friend’s horse that has some medical issues and resulting hind end instability. One of the hind feet has a huge flare on the outside. As I saw the horse move I told my friend that I think he won’t let you trim it off because he needs it to help him balance. If he ever gives you the foot then you’ll know it’s ok to take the flare off.

    I’m with Cobra. Leave the foot as it is. In about 3-6 months you will see the wisdom of his ways.

    Reply
    • July 28, 2019 at 10:58 pm
      Permalink

      Frickin LOVE this Mary!! You go girl! Cobra walked up to me yesterday and pointedly showed me the remaining point again – which is narrower now. I think he’s making sure I track his progress so I can fully understand his wisdom 🙂 He certainly has had the worst crack I’ve ever seen in a hoof and has already shown me they are WAY more resilient than most of us think they are!

      Reply
  • July 29, 2019 at 2:47 pm
    Permalink

    I think his hoof will be ok and if not, Cobra will come to you for assistance .

    It’s nice to see you two being so considerate and respectful of the horses .
    The first times my horse was trimmed he actually lifted his hoof up when the farrier asked him through thought alone . She was blown away by the telepathic communication. He is a very intuitive ultra sensitive horse.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • July 30, 2019 at 12:11 am
      Permalink

      It’s wonderful that you’ve provided an environment and relationships that support such an intuitive, sensitive horse 🙂

      Reply
  • July 30, 2019 at 1:04 am
    Permalink

    I am still laughing about Cobra’s comment to you Güliz, that if you want a cuddle, go and find yourself a teddy bear. Hearing that and looking at him was and is hilarious!

    Reply
    • July 31, 2019 at 4:58 pm
      Permalink

      It has been such a joy to really explore the intuition with this herd. With Jini and all the adventures and awe inspiring conversations and realizations we are are gifted with by way of the horse. Thank you for being a part of it. I love when life gets all light and fun on us.. Thanks Cobra…
      love ~ G

      Reply
  • July 31, 2019 at 12:24 pm
    Permalink

    This was really nice to hear. I’m struggling with my horses front feet. She said no to me picking them out. I know she has thrush. I think she goes in the pond and her feet get bunged up with clay and then stones stick in it. She has her voice and I listen to it and respect that. But I don’t know how to help her.

    Reply
    • July 31, 2019 at 12:56 pm
      Permalink

      I went through this same thing with Zorra a few years ago – you might find this account helpful and it also includes what I would have done if she’d had thrush:

      https://listentoyourhorse.com/intimacy-with-a-horse-involves-choice/

      Also, it might be good to have your thrush suspicion confirmed by a vet or farrier (or friend who’s seen a number of different thrush cases) if there’s any doubt. I don’t imagine there’s any problem with the clay and stones. Clay is very healing/drawing for all kinds of infections and the stones wouldn’t bother her if they’re stuck in clay. When the whole clay/stone pad dries, it will just fall off like a flattened pancake – I see this all the time with my crew during the rainy months. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • August 1, 2019 at 3:22 pm
    Permalink

    I definitely agree that we should be listening more to what our horses want and are telling us. Just because we can’t understand doesn’t mean that they aren’t being clear, don’t know best, or that we should over ride them. Having said that, there are times when we just need to do what needs to be done, for their best, and then deal with whatever fall out there is. (If there was a raging bush fire coming, I’d do what it took to get my horse to safety for instance.)

    I’m a Horse Communicator & Healer, and I’ve found in my work that explaining things to them on a different (energetic) level can really help them too. Telling them what’s happening or going to happen, explaining consequences, reassuring them etc really does cause a shift in their thinking and behaviour <3

    https://www.trishawren.com/is-my-horse-happy/

    Reply
    • August 2, 2019 at 2:17 am
      Permalink

      Hi Trisha, thanks for joining in. I think the crux of what you’re saying is this:

      “there are times when we just need to do what needs to be done, for their best”

      And what I’m saying is there are 2 issues with that:

      1. If the horse OWNS his own body, and is fully sentient, then surely he gets to decide what is best for his body. If not, then you would need to argue that either the horse is not sentient, or, he is a slave with someone else owning and having authority over his body.

      2. So many times we humans think we know what’s best. We feel our convictions with every fibre of our being and are willing to go to the wall for what we think is right. Which doesn’t mean that it is. How’s planet earth doing since us humans took over management? As I talked about briefly in the video, I have already been shown by Zorra how horses use gross imbalances in the hoof to fix something elsewhere in the body. As soon as the lumbar, or the shoulder etc is sorted out, the horse either self-trims or asks us to remove that bit of hoof.

      Cobra only limped for 2 days and otherwise, for the entire 6 weeks thus far, has remained fully mobile, galloping, wrestling, etc. So who am I to intervene and force my will upon his body when he is in nowhere near an emergency-intervention state? I took pictures yesterday and he has self-trimmed even more of that point off the hoof. The rest of his hooves are in excellent condition and I have not touched them either.

      The herd has plenty of gravel to self-trim their hooves, if they wish. And if they want help with something, or want me to do it instead, they are well capable of requesting it. Sometimes I request permission and they give it readily. Kesia and I have shot footage over 2 years as our hoof trimming paradigm has evolved because the horses have taught us SO much about their bodies and their wisdom. We are currently editing all that footage into videos, which will explain each of these aspects in more detail and show how these precepts play out over time. I find the dialogue multi-faceted and just plain fascinating!

      Reply
      • August 15, 2019 at 3:59 am
        Permalink

        Hi Jini,
        I love this stuff! Actually I love everything you and your family share so openly. I have just one problem! Since we moved a few months ago our internet is restricted and you tube isn’t accessible!! So I’m now missing all your fantastic videos!! I really hope that the compilation you are now working on could be purchased and down loaded (so when I go to town I might be able to download it)!

        Thank so much for everything! I to was also deeply moved by your most recent post, melt down in the barn! Love to all ❤️

        Reply
        • August 15, 2019 at 11:45 am
          Permalink

          Awww thanks Tamara! And yes, the hoof trimming odyssey 🙂 will be available as a physical or digital dvd. Kesia’s working on the edit now, but 2 years of footage is going to take her a while!

          Maybe I can do a LTYH Compilation for you?? Or something like that, where I take a bunch of the vids from YouTube and put them on a dvd, which is then available for purchase on Amazon. Would that be good? Or do you mainly want the big stuff, like the hoof trimming?

          Are you further out because you bought more land for your cattle? Big hugs!!

          Reply
          • August 15, 2019 at 6:50 pm
            Permalink

            Oh yes please. A LTYH compilation would be lovely! And available via amazon would work great!

            And we moved to the Gulf in Queensland to work for a different company, and they have a different policy on what they let available through the satellite internet they provide.

            Thanks again! I really don’t know how you find the time to be so personal ❤️

            Reply
            • August 23, 2019 at 9:39 pm
              Permalink

              We’re on it – may take a while, but know they’re coming 🙂

              Kesia told me I bend time – since I don’t have a better explanation, I’m going with that! xo

              Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 2:47 am
    Permalink

    I have taken the self trimming stance after watching Cobra and been amazed how it all happens. I have learnt alot! I just watched and commented to Jarrah on what a great job he was doing with his front hoof and in the space of approx 4 weeks it was all sorted. I’ll take pics next time and post.
    I am also very thankful I havent had to sort through all the horse world expectations etc. and just been able to follow my intuition and Jarrahs wisdom, if that makes sense. Thankyou for all the wonderful stuff you all share here on this site.
    Namaste
    Erin 🌳🐎

    Reply
    • September 30, 2019 at 10:28 pm
      Permalink

      Oh yes, please DO take photos to share with us!

      And you’re very welcome xoxo

      Reply
  • November 2, 2019 at 4:36 am
    Permalink

    Jarrah has been self trimming all hooves since i last posted. Haven’t done pics as yet due to the threat of bushfires here.Its been all consuming the last month but at least one of the fires is officially out yay! A bit of a reprieve for now. Will try to concentrate on getting some consistent pics in next few weeks to post.
    It’s truly amazing how it just happens bit by bit.
    Btw the latest vid you did on utube was great.
    You go girl!
    It once again makes me glad I never got tangled in the horse training world and started from intuition/LTYH
    Thankyou to the herd and LTYH community.
    Big hugs
    Erin 🌳🐎
    ps. I have been feeding J hemp hulls, half a cup daily he looks stunningly shiny and is keeping his weight on even though we’re in drought and feed scarce. I’m v impressed with it.

    Reply
    • November 4, 2019 at 3:04 pm
      Permalink

      Oooo hemp HULLS – I haven’t tried those yet! I know hempseed is very high in protein, I’ll have to google what’s in the hulls.

      Your comment makes me think about my health readers, who find their way to my natural gut healing protocols BEFORE they get on the drugs/surgery treadmill. LUCKY!!! But again, we attract when we’re ready for. So all is in perfect time eh?

      Can’t wait to see your pics whenever you’re ready!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

css.php