There’s No Such Thing as the Strasser “Style” of Trimming

by Yvonne Welz ©2006

Is this a surprising statement? It shouldn’t be, to anyone familiar with Dr. Strasser’s work. But this is something that newcomers to natural horse care and barefooting should be made aware of.

Dr. Strasser developed a method of horse care, and not simply a style of trimming. This seems to be frequently overlooked, as many people try to compare her “method” to current styles of trimming - which are, indeed, simply man-made “styles” of trimming the exterior of a horse’s hoof.

Dr. Strasser did not invent the parameters upon which her method is based. These parameters were invented by the horse himself, Equus Caballus. This species of animal has distinct biological needs, for both lifestyle and hoof form, in order to be healthy. Dr. Strasser compiled and outlined these needs, and developed her method based solely on this scientific basis. She is a veterinarian and researcher, and her work will have far reaching effects upon the world.

What, then, is the Strasser Method? It is simply a system of caring for the domestic horse with natural lifestyle and physiologically correct hoof form. Wild horses are the living examples of the principles upon which the Strasser Method was developed. Most wild horses have both the lifestyle and hoof form that we attempt to recreate for our captive horses. There are also a very few captive horses blessed with perfect living conditions and enough movement that they live according to the Strasser ideals, and their perfect, healthy hooves are a demonstration of this.

The majority of domestic horses, however, are not so lucky. Most of our horses have deformed feet (due to confinement and trimming that does not create hoof function) - some severe, some not so drastic, but ALL in need of rehabilitation before they will be healthy. This is the sobering truth, and the root of why Dr. Strasser has caused so much controversy with her simple, scientific, straight-forward method. Our horses’ hooves are in terrible shape and non-functional, whether barefoot or shod. This is a truth that many people would rather not listen to - they do not want to acknowledge that their horse may need serious rehabilitation before its feet will be healthy. Whether people agree with Dr. Strasser, or not, does not matter: the biological needs of the horse will not change. The function of the equine hoof will not change. What a horse needs to be healthy, including a physiologically correct hoof form will not change. The controversies of mankind will not change the simple truths that Dr. Strasser has brought to our attention.

Dr. Strasser’s parameters for trimming are a reflection of the natural horse, and were also not invented by her; however she is the first in modern times to aknowledge these parameters. Healthy, wild hooves demonstrate 30 degree hairlines, ground parallel coffin bones, and low heels. Coffin bone measurements show a consistent 45 degree angle on the front surface of a fore foot coffin bone, and 55 degrees on the front surface of a hind foot coffin bone.

The Strasser Method in official application is carried out by persons trained by Dr. Strasser in her Certification Course—Certified Strasser Hoofcare Professionals. These individuals are trained in holistic horse care, lifestyle needs, hoof anatomy, and trimming to restore proper functioning of the equine hoof, including the rehabilitation of severely deformed hooves. Always, form follows function. The shape of the horse’s hoof, the trim applied to that horse at that particular moment in time, is solely to recreate the correct functioning of the hoof. Without this correct functioning, you simply cannot have hoof health.

The Strasser Method in unofficial application is carried out by any horse owner, anywhere, who provides their horse with freedom of movement 24/7 in a paddock or pasture with a herd, daily exposure of hooves to water, plenty of exercise, natural diet with constant access to roughage, and bare hooves with light, frequent trimming that simulates natural wear and provides hoof mechanism.

©2006 by The Horse's Hoof. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher and/or authors. The information contained within these articles is intended for educational purposes only, and not for diagnosing or medicinally prescribing in any way. Readers are cautioned to seek expert advice from a qualified health professional before pursuing any form of treatment on their animals. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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