I know for most people these developments are not as extraordinary to merit a whole post on a blog. But for Molly's FR, I think this is significant: for a couple of months now, I can see two very faint cracks at the sole-bar junction on Molly's FR. They are marked with yellow arrows below. I know it is not a great picture, I just took it quickly this morning out on pasture. Because it is freezing cold, the hooves are dry and only then can the crack be seen on a picture.
The reason why I find them significant is because I have never ever seen anything like this on Molly's FR. The reason why I haven't is shown in the picture below.
Molly had very excessive bars and a large amount of retained sole that basically prevented her foot to flex in any way. The left part of the picture is the FR in January 2011. The yellow lines show the extent of her bars. They reached all the way down to the frog apex. The blue lines indicate roughly where the bars are located today. Can you see how much excess material had accumulated in the hoof? This was by no way flaky sole that "wanted to come off". It was as hard as it can be.
These bars must have put a huge pressure on Molly's digital cushions and maybe even lateral cartillages, and potentially the Deep Digital Flexor Tendon. The right part of the picture (the hoof from today) I have indicated where the bars end today. I am very pleased by the fact that those cracks at the bar-sole junction appeared at the same place and to the same extent on the medial and lateral side of the foot. This to me indicates the foot is loaded equally and thus is balanced. This was the other major issue of this hoof, a pronounced medial-lateral imbalance. The hoof is overall now showing every sign of a healthy hoof. The sole has nice consistency (not this hard and shiny material of compressed and retained sole anymore), the apex of the frog is round and defined and no longer embedded in the sole from the stretched forward toe. Molly walks perfect on the foot, even on the hard and frozen ground she has no problems.
The conclusion of this post is that one really needs to have a good understanding of hoof anatomy and especially bar and sole anatomy in order to determine what grows in some area of the hoof is supposed to stay or needs to be trimmed off. Just because it grows does not mean it is needed or beneficial in any way. The terrain the horse moves in is determining how much one needs to trim for the horse to have a healthy foot.