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    [RC] sole trimming - Debra Ager

    Frequently, people mistake trimming away the overgrown bars, which lay down over the sole, for trimming away "too much sole".  If the bars are allowed to grow over the sole of the hoof laterally, or to advance further than half-way down toward the point of the frog, they can cause bruising of the sole and actually weaken the sole and prevent the sole from growing beneath them.  It is important to trim the excess bar away to prevent bruising and deterioration of the sole beneath it.
    Also, sometimes a horse will just grow excess sole if they are not kept in rocky enough conditions to wear it away.  If the sole itself becomes too thick, and especially if it is uneven in thickness (i.e. the surface of the sole is bumpy) it can cause bruising and pain similar to overgrown callouses on people feet (I mean the discomfort and the cause it is similar, not the anatomy of the feet).  I have noticed on horses with which I have left the overgrown sole in place, that the sole will often slough off on its own after a few days of wet weather.  By trimming it away myself, I'm just helping nature along in the dry Texas conditions.  My horses are almost always more comfortable after a trim than before, with the exceptions being horses I have let go too long and subsequently have already gotten bruises from walking on overgrown bars or soles, but these are usually more comfortable as well, since the cause of the injury has been removed.
    Debbie Ager
    trimmer of my own horses for nearly three years, and quasi-successful endurance rider :)