Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: In Sunny, HOT and HUMID S.C.
I learned from barefoot trimmers. It's really not hard to learn. Took me about a week with some follow up checks when I started doing them on my own.
In reality you don't need nippers. If you're doing the trimming you should never have enough hoof that you couldn't do it with the rasp just as easy and with less chance of a mistake. The best use I've found for my nippers is for timming the ergots and hind leg chesnuts when they get real long :))
Get a good rasp/file. You'll end up very unhappy and wasting money if you don't a good one. Should run in the $20-$30 range depending on where you buy. A good set of hoof knives. I like Dick's (pronounced with a long "e" sound....it's German). They come sharp and hold the edge well. Should run under $30 (left and right handed comes in handy) A sharpening stick (you will eventually need it) You can do it without a hoof stand (I still will for quick jobs that just take a minute), but I've never regretted mine. When you get older you appreciate anything that makes it easier on the back. Teaching your horse to stand well will allow you to sit on a stool to work the hoof on the stand and not have to bend over so much.
I've found that if I trim as/whenever needed that the main use for my knives is to cut away old frog and trim the bars. Hoof wall is taken care of with the rasp and file. I ride on the road (a LOT....on pavement almost every day) and it tends to make their feet get pretty hard after a year, so using a hoof knife becomes more work on the hoof. That leaves the rasp and file as the easiest option.
Of course I know a guy who uses a grinder and it works. While it would make the harder hoof easier to do, it's a bit more than I want to deal with. I'm more comfortable with the rasp and file, even if it is more work, because it's easier to avoid over doing it.