Who Should Trim Your Horse?


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

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5 Responses

  1. Susan says:

    I loved reading this !
    I live on an island in the Caribbean and obviously there are no farriers so I have been learning and teaching myself. I had one farrier fly from France (!) To do my horse on Anguilla and then he serviced St.Barths and St. Martin too. But since Hurricane Irma he has not been around. So, here I am 5’1″ and not more than 115lbs. I follow and study everything I can online. I know my Dreamer inside-out and she and I trust and are a team / along with my Great Dane . Follow us on Instagram @wildblueimages

  2. Jürgen Grande says:

    Hi everybody,

    this issue’s headline is absolutely the right question.

    “I’ve heard many people say that owners could never possibly know enough to trim their horses’ feet–that they should leave hoof care to the professionals.”

    I’m a lay horse keeper in Germany, and I had a real good barehoof care pro over the last years until he got older and reduced his schedule. I did not trust anyone else, so I decided to start on my own. I knew a lot taught by my former trimmer, but I did things quite carefully in the first year. I also studied everything I could obtain, and after a while things became more complicated than easier: you can find some dozen “trimming schools” out there, and also dozens of contradicting notions about the “right way”.
    Meanwhile I mostly stick to Pete Ramey. His latest book “Care and Rehabilitation of the Equine Foot” is a treasure trove for beginners as well as for pros.

    If there ‘s anyone out there who’s doubting your ability then just hang on. It took me two years, and now my horses obviously get the appropriate trims by myself. No lameness, no abscesses or something similar.
    A big obstacle for your development might be your tendency to perfectionism. Don’t always think about to “do it right”. Prefer to avoid mistakes that can do harm to your horse.
    Just keep in mind:

    One size don’t fit for all.
    There are “summer” hooves and “winter” hooves.
    There are fores and hinds.
    Trimming less brings more success.
    And so on …

    Don’t try to treat laminitic hooves if you’re a beginner. This is for specialists only.

    And: learn, learn, learn …


  3. Clissa says:

    Since I was 14 I have done my own horses feet. As a jillaroo (female stockman) I had to know how to shoe any type of horse & control any temperament of horse to get those shoes on for cattle work.
    Now I am in my mid 60’s & slowing down fast.
    Some days the last thing I want to do is barefoot trim 3 horses, or even one horse for that matter even with the grinder. So it can take a week to get through the 3 aged pasture ornaments.
    No sooner have I achieved that momentous task, I stand up to straighten my failing back & the 6wks has flown by to stare me in the face yet again! lol
    Having always done my horses the way I know they need to be done, I am struggling with the notion of allowing some other person to take over.
    Will that person do as I instruct or tell me I don’t know what I am talking about & insist on doing it their way?
    One of my horses foundered due to the rich grass when I moved to this property 10.5yrs ago & took a few years to recover. During that time I tried a variety of fixes including shoes which I got a farrier to apply. He was apparently an expert in founder but all he did to my horse was make him so much worse. I then temporarily shod him myself for a far better result.
    Quality barefoot farriers are few & far between around here & charge a fortune that I really cant afford on my retirement income.
    This can keep me awake some nights when I am feeling decidedly fragile from old age!

    • Casie says:

      Maybe you could take on someone to mentor and teach them to trim–then they could help you out when you need it. Just an idea!

  4. Jo says:

    I’m thrilled to see so many horse owners trimming their own horses. I similarly ventured down this path about 10 years ago with no regrets. My three horses (Thoroughbreds!) are barefoot, one of which I use for endurance. Yes, a barefoot Thoroughbred endurance horse!

    A few tricks to make trimming easier: get yourself an Electric Hoof Knife to save your back (I’m in no way affiliated with the company). Use the flat rasp disks that they say are made for goats, not the rounded ones. Secondly, let rocks and stones do some of the trimming work for you. At a minimum, put a load of pea gravel around your water trough and barn. Even better, more pea gravel or maybe even limerock will solidify any mushy areas and self-trim hooves. Lastly, trim every 3-4 weeks instead of longer intervals. Taking less off is not only easier on you but beneficial to your horse.

    Consider having a professional farrier analyze your trims once or twice a year, just to be sure that you’re not missing something. Sometimes he/she will point out that you need to trim a little more on the medial, lateral, or toe. He/she will likely charge you minimally for this analysis, and it’s well worth it.

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