Barefoot Trimming Help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 03-03-2013, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Question Barefoot Trimming Help

So I don't know much about hooves. So when I had a new farrier come to my barn I was slightly confused when she said, " I am not a farrier, I am a barefoot trimmer. It is very different" I was kinda nervous because I didn't know what she was going to do with my horse. I soon figured out about barefoot trimming and that my mares feet were TERRIBLE! (said by the trimmer) She told me to do some research on it so I can get to know it better. So what are the Pros and Cons of Barefoot trimming? Whats all involved? How does it benefit my horse in the long run? Is there anyone on the forums that get barefoot trims?

Thanks so much!

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post #2 of 25 Old 03-03-2013, 02:11 PM
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It is a big debate however a barefoot trimmer is farrier that only trims hooves and does not put on shoes. Any farrier that can shoe a horse is also a trimmer, they don't just put on shoes.
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post #3 of 25 Old 03-03-2013, 03:12 PM
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It's a different style of trim but not terribly different. I imagine any farrier worth their salt can listen to an explanation of the differences, watch one foot get done and do the second foot with maybe a minor correction.

Quite a few natural hoof (barefoot trimmers) in my area are actually trained as farriers first. Some of them still shoe and others have given up shoeing all together. My old farrier is one that has given up shoeing horses, he says he's making just as much money trimming as shoeing and it's a bunch easier on his body.
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post #4 of 25 Old 03-03-2013, 03:34 PM
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The difference is the way they are trimmed. A farrier trims for a flat hoof, so a shoe will go on. regardless if they are putting a shoe on or not.
A barefoot trimmer does not. They trim like a wild horses hoof would be naturally worn. The sides of the hoof are dished so you could probly slide a credit card under the side when the horse is standing. And they bevel the edges around the hoof to allow a nice break over to prevent cracks. To me there is a big difference and since I have switched to barefoot, I have never had a lame horse, and no cracks .
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post #5 of 25 Old 03-03-2013, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Spotted View Post
The difference is the way they are trimmed. A farrier trims for a flat hoof, so a shoe will go on. regardless if they are putting a shoe on or not.
A barefoot trimmer does not. They trim like a wild horses hoof would be naturally worn. The sides of the hoof are dished so you could probly slide a credit card under the side when the horse is standing. And they bevel the edges around the hoof to allow a nice break over to prevent cracks. To me there is a big difference and since I have switched to barefoot, I have never had a lame horse, and no cracks .

So you would recommended Barefoot trimming? Is it nicer for the horse?

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post #6 of 25 Old 03-03-2013, 04:20 PM
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There's actually a big difference and a lot of nuances.

A farrier has gone to school usually but not always. They have learned some black smithing, making shoes and manipulating existing shoes. They learn corrective shoeing. They also learn to trim.

A barefoot trimmer is someone who may or may not have gone to school. They don't typically know shoes - only trimming. They're no necessarily bad.

Realize that in most states, a person can just call themselves a farrier or barefoot trimmer and open a business as one and its not illegal to do so.

Generally speaking, farriers are more educated in terms of hooves, shoes and trimming.

Now, a bad trimmer or a bad farrier can both damage the horse. Some people like to give a blanket response as to whether shoes are good or not. My blanket response is "it depends". If your horse can function in the way you want, comfortably without shoes then go barefoot if you're comfortable doing so. Not everyone is. Not all horses need shoes in all circumstances. Some horses need shoes always, some do fine without any ever. You have to do what's best for the horse. If your horse is barefoot and is comfortable then consider keeping her that way.
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post #7 of 25 Old 03-03-2013, 09:13 PM
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So you would recommended Barefoot trimming? Is it nicer for the horse?
The nicest thing for the horse is getting a balanced trim. Look at many many pictures on line and get used to spotting a balanced trim vs a poor trim. Barefoot or shoes depends on what your horse needs. If you ever have a farrier for a trim, just ask him to bevel the edges.

But get some education first. Any idjet can walk up to an owner and say "I do a great job" or whatever it takes to get the job. An owner needs to know enough to make sure that their horse is getting a well balanced trim.
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post #8 of 25 Old 03-03-2013, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DancingArabian View Post
There's actually a big difference and a lot of nuances....
Generally speaking, farriers are more educated in terms of hooves, shoes and trimming.
I like your response generally Dancing, but IME a *good* farrier & a *good* trimmer will trim a bare hoof essentially the same way - & that will also depend on terrain, etc.

And IME I'd have to say farriers(even the 'qualified' ones) are generally far LESS educated when it comes to hoof form & function and balanced trimming, than a *good* trimmer. Of course they're far more educated about applying shoes, tho hoof boots seem to confound many! Of course there are also many great farriers out there, & many bad trimmers, to muddy the waters further...

So OP... you can see there are a few different opinions here - it's one of those 'cans of worms' - so the best thing you can do for your horse is learn as much as you can yourself, so you can make more informed decisions about his care & the 'experts' you employ. Hopefully the thread link below in my signature will give you a good start...
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post #9 of 25 Old 03-05-2013, 09:29 AM
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Something quick I wanted to add on here - I have seen pictures and heard stories of bad barefoot trimmers, usually they don't realize the bars need to be trimmed and the toe backed up (not just lightly beveled), things like that leading to lameness. Things to watch for! But in my very VERY limited horse world experience so far over the last two years, I've met 3 professional barefoot trimmers who were all excellent, and 2 farriers who were horrifying - one of which said my horse would recover from founder faster if I let him carve out concavity in my horses (At the time) flat soles. I do not call that more knowledgeable! It depends entirely on that individual wanting to continue their education or not.

Another scary tid bit for hoof people on here - I recently attended my province's annual veterinary conference at which their equine vet gave a lameness seminar. What was one of the major causes of lameness in horses according to this man? Low heels. God help us all if that's the 'educated' information going out! And no he didn't give a reason, it was mostly slap-a-shoe-on sort of solutions to everything....
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post #10 of 25 Old 03-05-2013, 09:34 AM
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honestly, it really puts me off someone if they refuse to shoe a horse. i get the barefoot thing, i really do, but some horses just need shoes, and if someone is too close minded to do what is best for the horse, i just dont trust them.

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Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein
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