Hey painthorsemare, not meaning to pick at you personally, but your post has a number of details in it that I find could use more info, or are possible misconceptions or such, so picking bits out of it to reply to - don't take it personally!
Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares View Post
After I had him check my work a couple times, I've been on my own.
While it's not rocket science, there are a lot of specifics that do need experience, and a 'practiced eye'. When only working irregularly on one or few horses, it is also easy to jump to incorrect conclusions. It's also easy to gradually go astray without realising when you're not very experienced... even some times when you are. People tend to need more than a couple of 'checks' to get it right, and I would strongly advise people keep getting a *good* trimmer to check their work, at least a couple of times a year.
- If you do them every 4 weeks, you can stick with the rasp and forget about ever needing nippers.
Generally right but depends how much work they get & how quick the feet grow. I suggest for learners, to do it every week or even more often, so there is very little to do to keep them in check - much easier on the learner too!
- Concentrate on the toes....I've only seen 2 horses that didn't just wear their heels enough naturally, and I've seen lots of horses sore from having their heels trimmed to much.
??!! Feet need to be well balanced. You need to concentrate on keeping the whole foot balanced, not just shortening toes. Frequently yes, toes are left way too long & 'stretched' forward, but I would say just as frequently heels are left too long. Often it's both on the same horses. It seems people are largely ignorant of this and the problems it causes. Many people intentionally keep their horses high heeled, in the mistaken assumption frogs must be kept off the ground, or to 'improve angles' or such. Horses who have been left with high heels, or who otherwise have sensitive heels will not be likely to wear their heels down naturally, because they 'tippy toe' due to the discomfort. This can lead to other serious issues, including 'navicular'. A good rule of thumb(there are many good guidelines, but rarely without exceptions) is to trim the wall of the hoof, right the way round, to the same length, being at or near the level of the sole plane. Generally it's never a good idea to rasp into the sole, but it's also not good to leave the walls protruding much from it.
Unfortunately most domestic horses don't get to develop strong, tough heels/digital cushions regardless how they're trimmed. It's generally to do with management & environment. This is the big reason for sensitive heels - and a big reason for people treating it symptomatically by raising heels further from the ground. Unfortunately, if you don't use it, you lose it, so the underused heels are taken further out of a commission & become even weaker, more sensitive. Along with the other problems, which are associated with toe first landings.
So.... to develop the digital cushion, to be capable of supporting the horse, they need to be in a position to provide support - low heels, wide, flat heels. They also need to be well conditioned on hard ground. BUT to force a horse with weak heels to walk on his frogs will cause him pain, cause him to tippy toe & not use his feet properly, starting the ball rolling to weaker, more problematic feet. That's why boots, pads, whatever form of hoof protection is a good idea, at least in the early days, to allow the horse to move *correctly* & comfortably while his digital cushions are developing. With a horse who is very sensitive in the heels or has been allowed to grow high heeled, it is often not a good idea to take too much off too quickly, so for these horses, it may be best to leave them a little high heeled until they improve, but use frog support pads to ensure the frogs are still getting stimulation.
- Get a good look at your work when the horse is standing on level ground. At least to me, it's harder to gauge what needs to be done while looking at the bottom of the hoof.
Get a good look at your horse, before & after trimming, from a variety of angles, including watching him move. It's also a good idea to take pics and make a note of angles & lengths of various bits. While I don't agree with trimming to proscribed angles & the likes, it is good to give you an idea, and also to judge how & what you may be changing.
- If you didn't trim enough, no problem...you can just go back another day and get a
While I find that it's generally the case that people don't take off enough, I reckon this is good advice for learners, because you can always take some more, but you can't put it back if it shouldn't have been removed
. On this note, if one heel's short enough for eg, but the other one is shorter, don't try to take more just for the sake of balance. Wait a week or so until you can take some more without biting into the sole too much.
- The more you ride, the more they'll wear and the less work you'll have
If you can ride some on asphalt, it's rough enough to do a great job of trimming for you.
Depends. The more you ride(or otherwise exercise the horse) the quicker & stronger the hooves tend to grow(if they're functioning well), so it could mean the more you need to trim. But yes, if you ride a lot on hard surfaces, they will 'self trim'. If you're only riding on level stuff like bitumen tho, it's likely you will still need to 'scoop' quarters and give the hooves a mustang roll.