10 Questions to Ask a Barefoot Trimmer

The following article is written by Joe Camp, author of the best-selling book, The Soul of a Horse–Life Lessons from the Herd.  Joe is also a film writer, producer, director, passionate speaker, and the man behind the canine superstar Benji.  This article is reprinted, with permission, from his website



My ten questions to ask a natural hoof specialist – a trimmer – before you hire him or her:

One: Are you exclusively barefoot? This will not set well with some trimmers but I believe strongly that if he or she does not so passionately believe in the history, the genetics, and the scientific facts of the wild horse trim and lifestyle that he or she would never nail a metal shoe onto a horse, then he or she is not a hoof specialist I would hire. When we moved to Tennessee I never got past this question with several that I interviewed. I just walked away. The best natural hoof professionals I know are passionate about being exclusively barefoot because they know a barefoot horse with proper diet and lifestyle will be a healthier, happier horse.

Two: Do you exclusively follow the wild horse model?  Unfortunately there are a lot of folks who claim to be Natural Hoofcare Professionals who do not have a clue (or the wrong clue) why it works or what the wild horse model is all about.  They might be okay, but probably not. So I wouldn’t risk my horses well being with one of these. I would pass them by.

Three: How important is diet and lifestyle to a successful barefoot experience? If they don’t say (as do Eddie Drabek, and Pete Ramey, and so many others) that diet and lifestyle and movement are as important as the trim, then walk away.

Four: Do you incorporate the mustang roll? Eddie and Pete and others say this is the most important part of the trim. Must be used. Follow the wild horse example.

If the answers to the above are all positive, then continue:

Five: May I have some references? Call clients of the hoof specialist and engage them in conversation. Get a sense.

Six: Where did you get your training? There are no right answers here, but very important. Still it’s a judgment call, combined with all the other answers.

Seven: How long have you been natural trimming? Important, but not the end-all. But if only a short time it makes all the other answers even more important, especially the next two.

Eight: What sort of continuing education do you do? There is no right answer, but listen and be a good judge. If they say I don’t really need any, walk away.

Nine: Who are your mentors or instructors you can go to when you need advice about a specific problem. Very important.

Ten: This one is not a question per se but very important: If the person gets irritable or defiant because of these questions, or if you feel like the answers are BS, avoid this person like the plague.

Bottom line: You must find a trimmer who knows and understands how to help the horse grow the foot his genetics know how to grow, not someone who wants to “cut” the foot the way he thinks it should look… and it must be someone both you and your horse feel comfortable with. Seriously. Listen to your horse on this.


For more natural horse health articles by Joe Camp, visit his website.  You can also read my interview with Joe here.


Hi! My name is Casie Bazay. I'm a mom, a freelance writer, and a certified equine acupressure practitioner.

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