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Barefoot trimming - Good idea or better left to experts?

This is a discussion on Barefoot trimming - Good idea or better left to experts? within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    01-03-2010, 03:06 PM
Wow, I never even thought of Youtube, great idea! I don't expect to be professional over night, but I think it's such an expense, especially when I never do anything to damage my horse's feet. And she's got fantastic, hard, and naturally well shaped feet. So I'm still deffinitely considering it.
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    01-05-2010, 02:24 AM
I trim my own horses - I used to have a clientele, but quit since I found I hardly had time for my own critters!

Its really not hard to learn - Pete Ramey's DVD set is good, but not the ONLY answer either - I understand your problem, we don't have a lot of barefoot trimmers around here either - if that's the route you want to go. Keep in mind there is a difference between a high performance "natural" trim and a farrier's "not shod" trim.

Keep looking around, try youtube and even search groups if you are on facebook or yahoo, there are quite a few support forums that can help put you in contact with someone in your area, or who can help you out by providing support with critiques on your pictures, etc - hooray for digital images!

I learned from a trimmer who is not certified, but had years of experience - in my mind, a peice of paper doesn't make a difference, but make sure that the person you learn from at least has lots of experience and most importantly - sound horses!

Good luck!! I think you'll find learning to trim to be a rewarding experience for you and your horses.
    01-05-2010, 06:17 PM
Wow thanks, I'll deffinitely look through those sites :) I've had a look on youtube briefly, but already things have become clearer. http:// < do you think this is worth getting if I do learn barefoot trimming, if not can you post some links of equipment you'd recommend?
    01-05-2010, 06:57 PM
My boy, Sunny, is also barefoot. In fact, I don't think he ever had shoes...(he was a rescue, so his past is somewhat blurry) Anyway, he has really beautiful feet, hard and solid, so I leave him that way (not to mention my farrier refuses to ever shoe him, saying this type of foot is rare, and he will not "mess with perfection"!) I only have to have the farrier out two or three times a year to trim and file Sun's feet, at $35 a pop, that's not bad. I have seen what happens to a horse when his feet are trimmed wrong, and it can actually cause major damage to hoof and spine, legs, etc. Not worth trying it yourself, IMO...besides, the dogs love it when Jim comes out! Nommas for everyone!
    01-06-2010, 10:44 PM
Couldn't open your link for some reason...

Myself, I like to use Save Edge Rasps, Hall drop blade hoof knives, and I have a pair of GE Nippers, but really, if you are a regular trimmer (which is the best way to be! Little and often trimming yeilds the best results) you shouldn't actually need to get any nippers at all. A hoof stand is nice too - I actually love these but they are expensive - I use a regular hoof stand that my dad actually made me, modelled after the Hoof Jack but not quite so refined :P

There are lots of sites out there to help you out, but keep in mind too that there is a big difference between "barefoot or Natural" trimming and a farrier's trim - the regular farrier (and I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule) does not trim the same way as a natural trimmer does, they are quite opposite.

Some of my favourite sites are these guys sell the best hoof boots in my opinion, and they have lots of barefoot info and links. is a good one too, lots of information and photos

The lifestyle of the horse is also crutial to your barefoot success - I do firmly believe that every horse can go barefoot, but not every owner can. You'll find lots on that as you read up too :) Best thing I did was put down lots of gravel around my horse's sheds, so that they can condition thier own feet to the terrain I ride on (quite rocky!)

I think it certainly is worth you purchasing the DVD - start just with the rasp, and if you are nervous about using the knife, I learned to cut properly on a potatoe - its got a similar consistency to dead sole and frog materials. Helps as you practice to make sure you are cutting straight and not "scooping" creating divets in your horse's hooves.

Lots of opinions out there - be prepared to have an open mind, but also to defend your reasonings. One of the worst things about my transition to barefoot was having so many people tell me "You can't" and trying to make me feel as if MY choice to look after MY horses was not correct.
    01-07-2010, 07:40 AM
Ooh sorry about the link, I'll try and post it again, thank you for all those links, I'll be snooping around those later hehe

Here's that link again, hopefully it will work this time: riders rasp, the riders rasp, safe hoof rasp, new hoof rasp, rasp
    01-07-2010, 07:43 AM
Haha just realised I left the http:// thing in, so it had 2 lots in the first link, as you can probably tell, I'm not always the brightest bead on the bracelet!

Ooh, about the hoof stand, it looks really useful,both my Dad and my Step-dad are handy men, so I'm sure I'll be able to get one of them to make one for me!
    01-07-2010, 02:38 PM
By the way, I don't think I will use nippers, not just yet anyway. There is too much that can go wrong. But I'm still seriously considering rasping and doing the frogs. Also, just wanted to know, do you have to trim the actual sole of the foot, not just the frog? Sorry, I know I probably sound silly, but on some places I look it only talks about doind the frogs, but in others, it says about doing the actual soles too :/
    01-07-2010, 11:13 PM
Originally Posted by HollyLolly    
Also, just wanted to know, do you have to trim the actual sole of the foot, not just the frog? Sorry, I know I probably sound silly, but on some places I look it only talks about doind the frogs, but in others, it says about doing the actual soles too :/
Trimming the sole or frog is mainly done to clean up potential bateria/fungus areas. I rarely use a hoof knife on our mares and I suggest avoiding trimming sole at all. Trimming too much sole and making your horse sore is a common complaint that barefoot owners have about many farriers.
    01-07-2010, 11:44 PM
The best way to learn is to study and watch. Study books, online, video, etc. on hoof structure and how a healthy hoof is suppose to look. This gives you a solid basis of what the finished hoof should look like. Then you can study a bit into HOW to make the hoof look like what it should a.k.a. Healthy. Lol then the best thing you can do is pay close attention to what your farrier does...even if he isnt open to teaching you just watch very closely and you can learn alot.

My horse gets trimmed for free because I work with the guy who does them...I exchange random odd jobs whenever he needs them done for him trimming lol BUT I do rasp and keep up with my boys feet between all jason has to do when he comes is make sure his feet are balanced an he is the one who has been doing the corrective work on my boys flares (all are gone except for a bit on one of his hind feet...yay!)

So can learn how to rasp and keep up with your horses feet but leave corrective work to the pro's lol I believe the most important thing is to make sure you know proper healthy hoof structure and how far to rasp the hoof off...this will prevent you from doing to much and messing up your horses feet...

Good luck to you!

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