Trimming your our horse's hooves. - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 69 Old 06-01-2012, 12:31 AM
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I'm sorry, I haven't taken the time to read through everyone's posts, but here is my experience with trimming;

I've owned my mare since she was one, and she's had the same farrier since. I really love our farrier, he is firm, yet understanding with the horses, makes a very balanced hoof, and finishes his job by always making the hoof look very tidy. Not to mention, he is the go-to guy for one of the best local vets, so you know he has to be decent!

When she was two, I really started getting interested in alternatives to shoeing. As I was just starting to lead her on the trails, I noticed that her feet were chipping little bits at a time; hence, I googled trimming and maintenance between trims. I studied hoof angles, frogs, and whatever else you can imagine about horse hooves. Then I brought up the idea of rounding the edges to our farrier, and he really recommended that I take a rasp between trims to help keep the edges from chipping.

For about a year, I did this routinely. Still gobbling up information meanwhile, and I finally decided that I wanted to try trimming her feet. Terrified, I took the rasp and 'had at it'. Well, it wasn't all that bad, the farrier was out soon after to help critique me. For several months we went back and forth, me doing a trim and them him. As my comfort grew I started making the time in between his visits longer and longer. Now, 4yrs later, I plan to have him out 1-2times this year.

He has been very supportive and seems to think that it's wonderful that I trim my mare's own feet. Of course, when he does come out nowadays, he gets a bit of a tip or a hat, just something as a thanks, because I now he didn't have to be that AWESOME about the whole thing.

I now enjoy taking care of my horses' feet. I know how she moves, and I genuinely care about her. To keep them short and in good condition, I trim them about every three weeks. And, to this day I am always learning. My mom must think I have a hoof fetish, because I always have screens of hoof info and pictures on my computer!

Long story short, I do not think it is something you can just jump into; however, talk to you farrier and ask if he could show you how to do little touch ups in between. If you're serious about learning, then maybe a year or two down the road you will be trimming your horses own feet. If it is the money concern though, I do not recommend it. you have to be invested and actually want to help you're horses, not just try to save a buck!

"May your trails be crooked, winding, crooked, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view" -Edward Abbey

Last edited by AQHA13; 06-01-2012 at 12:33 AM.
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post #22 of 69 Old 06-01-2012, 09:18 AM
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I'm copying this from Wikipedia.

History of the "Big Lick"
During the late 1940s and early 1950s, when Walking Horses enjoyed a surge of widespread popularity with the general public, exaggerated front leg action, especially at the running walk, drew spectators to horse shows and helped increase the popularity of the breed. This action was also rewarded by judges. This began the rage for "big lick" movement. While "lite shod" horses with naturally good movement could comfortably perform this crowd-pleasing gait at the time, it took both natural ability and considerable time to properly train and condition the horse.
Some individuals, wishing to produce similar movement in less-talented horses or in less time, borrowed practices used by other breeds to enhance movement. This included action devices such as weighted shoes, "stacks" (stacked pads), and the use of weighted chains around the pasterns, all of which, within certain limits, were allowed.
As these methods produced horses that won in the show ring, and as ever-higher and more dramatic action was rewarded by the judges, some trainers turned to less savory methods to produce high action in a hurry. These methods including excessively heavy weighted chains, use of tacks deliberately placed under the shoe into the "white line," or quick, of the hoof, trimming the sole of the hoof to the point that it bleeds or is bruised, increasing the weight of the stacked pads by driving in a large number of concealed nails and the controversial practice of "soring," which is the application of a caustic chemical agent to the pastern of the front legs to cause pain when the chains bang against the pastern with every step. The outcome of these practices is so much pain in the horse's front hooves that the horse snatches its feet off the ground as fast as possible in an attempt to alleviate the pain. Correspondingly, the horse steps under itself as far as possible with its hind legs in order to relieve the forelegs of weight. This results in the "squatting" body outline (hindquarters extremely lowered, forelegs flung very high) typical of the "big lick" horse. Such abuses are illegal under the Horse Protection Act, but are still practised.

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.
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post #23 of 69 Old 06-01-2012, 09:44 AM
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I do have a Natural Trimmer, and have used him for a year now. My 15 yr old mare was lame on her front when I got her and after 3 visits from him she was completely sound and still is. Another friend had a Morgan mare that had a hair line crack in her front hoof since she had ever owned the horse 9+ yrs. She started using "our" farrier and no more crack after 4 trims.

While I would happily shoe a horse that needs it and find a certified farrier to do it, I dont have that need. I do like in Oklahoma there are several farrier schools and I have learned whih ones to avoid students from and which ones put out knowledgable farriers.

Mark- If I lived anywhere near you I would be chomping at the bit to get on your client list! But my horses needs would most likely be different then too.
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post #24 of 69 Old 06-02-2012, 10:40 PM
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Well, I trim my mare's feet out of pure necessity - she kicks at farriers. I would dearly love to just return to watching someone else do it. My horses have been barefoot for years now - but always professionally trimmed prior. But, in a way I am thankful for being "forced" to study and read....its a fascinating area of study. It is shocking how many differences of opinions there are - when one considers that the horse has been domesticated for thousands of years!

Anyway, I have my farrier "check" my work. In fact, I would currently like a "check up", but she isn't available right now - not b/c she has other customers that take presidence over "self trimmers", but b/c she is out of town.

As far as self trimmers being any threat to the profession, I look at it a bit differently than Mark above. When autos first became common, some of those that produced just buggy whips went out of business - some did not b/c they changed their products to meet the "changing times" - and continued to make buggy whips, too.
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There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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post #25 of 69 Old 06-03-2012, 12:17 AM
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Lets look at why I trim. Ive said it before so ill say it again. After years of struggling to get farriers to show up despite being paid well and on time, tipped and taken care of on a regular basis..I got lamed horses, deep sulcus thrush being called normal and no big deal, horses being quicked on every foot, the best farrier in the area starting off awesome, shoeing every 5/6 weeks as needed and the quality STILL going downhill along with a 20K andalusians hoof health as well as his ability to show up and return calls for an easy job with guarenteed big paychecks...well...seems there is a spot to fill.

Owners want quality hoof care (sometimes just ANY hoof care at all would be nice eh?) and sorry to say it ISNT available in many places. When you cant get care, no matter how good of a client you try to be or the level of care just flat out sucks, you look for options. Sometimes you just take the best of the worst because you dont have a choice...unless you learn to do it yourself. Its not like you can just NOT trim them when a farrier wont show up or all of them in your area suck right?

Ever wonder WHY the barefoot movement is taking such a strong hold? If it was just some hardcore naturalists, well, it would stay in that realm and not go very far. It grows because there is a need out there that is not being filled with quality work from good farriers no matter the cost in many many many areas. People are trying to fill a need and basic (and even some corrective) trimming is easy for people who want to learn, apply themselves in a good program and show up to do the work. Sure some of them suck but some of them are just as good also and filling a real need. What is needed is a centralized certifications course to practice for trimmers also that isnt just some made up thing.

Ive started delving past simply trimming alone now realizing how limiting it is in some cases and that boots have limitations, but I do not want to deal with metal shoes, forge work and the costs that come with it. Ill let some other person fill that role and get that paycheck. It isnt for me. If you dont like my choices? Oh well I guess. Good thing its a free country where we can make our own choices as we need to.

Married to my One! 10-11-13 Steampunk style:)

Last edited by Trinity3205; 06-03-2012 at 12:24 AM.
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post #26 of 69 Old 06-03-2012, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Horseman56 View Post
<snip>One of the more common adages shared among farriers and vets (albeit seldom heard by customers) is... "it's not my job to subsidize your hobby". While some customers may take offense to such a notion, make no mistake, horses are a luxury, an expensive hobby and frankly, not for everyone. <snip>


When there aren't any decent "farriers" around, you do what you have to. And when asking for help learning, getting your "talk" really bites.
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post #27 of 69 Old 06-03-2012, 01:26 AM
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I agree that having a great farrier is worth their weight in gold. I am lucky enough to have a great farrier who used to work on the R.C.M.P. horses in the area. He is semiretired and is a great resource for me. He has shown me a lot as I like to understand as much as I can about my horses and their care. To that end, I wouldn't do the shoeing on my own. My BO has helped with that in an emergency until our farrier can come out. I only keep their feet free of burs and try to maintain the shape he has kept them in, in between trims. Thanks for all the great info on this thread.
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post #28 of 69 Old 06-04-2012, 07:49 PM
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I finally got some pictures of my Percheron, Ahab's hoof crack. It took me three tries and they are still crummy. Hard to hold that huge hoof AND a camera! My husband helped with one picture, so the hairy arms in one picture aren't mine --- just wanted to make that clear.Attachment 100897Attachment 100898Attachment 100899Attachment 100900Attachment 100901Attachment 100902

Last edited by Captain Evil; 05-13-2016 at 08:46 AM.
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post #29 of 69 Old 06-04-2012, 08:13 PM
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I'd be inclined to keep his toe right back, starting a strong bevel somewhere in the vacinity of the green line. Did the farrier open up the length of it, or is that the way it grows? Thinking latter. I'd probably think about opening it up a bit more at least, to ensure I could treat any infection and think about putting a brace across it.
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File Type: jpg Hoof Sole 2.jpg (51.9 KB, 249 views)
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post #30 of 69 Old 06-04-2012, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Captain Evil View Post
I finally got some pictures of my Percheron, Ahab's hoof crack. It took me three tries and they are still crummy. Hard to hold that huge hoof AND a camera! My husband helped with one picture, so the hairy arms in one picture aren't mine --- just wanted to make that clear.
Captain, what are your expectations/goals/hopes regarding the damage in this horse's hoof?

What have attending vets/farriers suggested can/cannot be done with this hoof?

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