What are some good tips and sources for someone who wants to learn to trim?
I see it very commonly on this forum - People who are learning to do their own hoof trimming and have questions, and will ask one here and one there. You'll see tips on a person's first trim, and photos and angles - And while all of that is dandy, it would be nice to have some good info for someone who is wanting to learn and has no idea where to start! (at least I didn't find one in my quick searching)
So. I am one of these people. I would love to some day learn to trim on my own, and ideally take a class on it some day but I don't think they offer those here. I'm hoping maybe the farrier that does Clementine's hooves could help me out. It would save quite a bit of money to do my own trims unless there's a major issue that needs a farrier.
Before we start, I know that trimming is serious business. If you do it wrong, you can seriously screw things up. I would never even start trimming without a farrier present to make sure I'm doing it right the first few times at least, and I plan to read up and watch as much as I can before even THINKING about trying - and everyone else should, too! I'd much rather read up as much as I can, watch videos, watch my farrier and have him explain what he's doing to me, and be supervised and whatnot before giving it a shot.
For someone who has never trimmed before? What's a good place to start looking? What are some good websites, some good videos to watch? how did you learn to trim, and is there a good person online to learn from? Tips of the trade? Anything, really! I'd love to learn as much as I can before talking to the farrier!
Buy a textbook. Read it, thoroughly. I started with Pete Ramey's book: http://www.amazon.com/Care-Rehabilitation-Equine-Foot-Ramey/dp/0615524532
I took an "Intro to Farriery" course at the big university that has equine studies. I learned all about shoes, shoeing, trims, etc. I watched a farrier custom make 4 shoes, hot fitted them to a horse and nail them on - all in an hour. I watched him make MANY shoes over the course of class, but this was more for my own education. I don't know how commonplace a class like that is. He didn't go over barefoot trimming very much.
Then I approached my farrier and asked if she would be willing to help me - she agreed! I started looking at hooves, touching hooves, really watching how horses move. I started holding horses at my barn (much to my BO's delight since it freed her up!) and asking questions as my farrier worked.
I am more concerned about MY horse, so we took more time with him. At some point I think she felt I was getting educated, so she started 'testing' me. We would look at my horse's hooves one at a time and I had to tell her my thoughts. She'd correct me, expand on things, and then she'd do the trim. At this point, I am 'in charge' of one of his hooves and she does the other three. The one hoof I am responsible for doing when she's there. She hasn't corrected me on his hoof in the past 2 trimmings and on the next, I am moving on to two hooves.
I'm not looking to trim for money - I just want to be able to manage my horse. I'd still have her look at him every so often though once I'm up to all four hooves on my own. I still help with the other horses and ask questions.
Thank you! That's very helpful. I do have one book, about hoof problems (this one http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hoof-Problems-Rob-Van-Nassau/dp/1905693001). It's honestly scared me quite a bit - giving the notion that if you do ONE THING wrong you horse will go lame and his hoof will blow up.
I'm not looking to do shoes. I would not want to do those myself, and I would rather leave it up to my farrier, was I ever to actually get a horse shod. But I have the same idea, I'd like to be able to just trim my own horses. I do like your system of being in charge of one hoof while the farrier does the other three - But I must say that textbook is EXPENSIVE! I think I might look for a slightly cheaper option, I can't spare that much on a textbook right now.
How about videos? Is there any good ones I should look into? I don't want to just start watching them only to find out that they aren't doing it right.
How big are you? Trimming requires some serious muscle power. Try holding the back hooves in the farrier position and see how long you can last.
The only reason I recommend studying hoof care is because you need to be able to tell if your farrier is balancing the hooves correctly. Lots of farriers leave the heels uneven/heels to high etc. I can trim, but it is too difficult for me since I am only 115lbs. I always check my farrier's work and give touch ups as/if needed. It's also a good idea to learn to pull a shoe.
If you are serious about trimming you should find a university/clinic to get some hands on experience.
I do hope I can find a clinic or something that I could learn from. She's due for a trim, so I plan on talking to him about it when he comes down.
Honestly what got me interested in hoof trimming in the first place was a nice Lady's channel "thehappyhoof" on youtube. It'll take days but seriously, watch as many videos of her as your can, yes including all the dissections of the messed up/foundered/laminitic hooves as you can, in the order she posted them in. You get to see her go from teaching a basic trim to trimming for rehab purposes and she explains every. tiny. detail. about why she is trimming this such and such a way and why so and so horse went lame and needed to be euth'd.
Now I'm not saying I agree 100% on everything she does with her most recent trimming method, but that's the beauty - she explains it so well you can decide for yourself what you'll take away from it. I learned (and am still learning) a ridiculous amount from her channel.
Shoebox, offer to be a free helper to your farrier. I knew we'd be moving to an area there may not be a farrier so I learned all I could. It made the farrier's job easier too as I already had a lot of horse experience.As it turned out I wound up trimming her hooves for 3 years before a farrier came along.
Fitness and flexibility is important not mass - I am 105lbs and I trim everything from mini donkeys to drafts for a living. Unfortunately doing your own one or two horses will not keep you fit enough for it not to be physically hard.
Buy professional grade tools, the cheap nippers they sell at tack stores are useless, and the knives they sell are too straight and will not hold a good edge.
You are best to learn hands on with someone on regular basis, next best is a short course (I think Oklahoma does a 2 week program?), internet is great for concepts but no subsitute for physical presence.
I trim and I'm only a 5'4", 54 yr old chubby housewife. I even trimmed my drafts.
A hoof jack helps tremendously with the holding.
Good tools are a must.
Jaime Jackson's books helped me tremendously. Nice clear pictures.
Also a recalcitrant donkey who was not about to forgive or forget made me take the plunge. His reputation as a stinker had traveled so far that I couldn't get a farrier within 100 miles to touch him.
You can also do a search of farrier schools that travel to different areas. The school I attended was a crash course in trimming and shoeing. A great way to learn some basics, then see if you can find a farrier who will let you tag along. As for someone mentioning being strong, I suppose thats true to a certain extent. But do yourself a favor and buy a hoof jack. It has a cradle for the hinds. I bought one over 10 years ago and I wouldnt live without it. And I have never seen a horse not get comfortable with it, only takes about 30 seconds and they are more than happy to rest on something sturdy, its a huge back saver! Best wishes to you!
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