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TroubledTB 09-19-2009 08:27 AM

Would you or have you shod your own horse?
I was recently informed by someone that they (as in not a farrier) will be doing a natural trim on their horse from now on. A trainer apparently advised this after their attendance at his week long clinic, and in that time was able to instruct them on how to do this. I don't believe this was an in depth topic that was the primary focus of the clinic, nor do these people have any previous experience with shoeing, or trimming as I suppose is the case. Has anyone else had any experience with keeping a horse barefoot without any farrier's aid or advice? Of course there may be the few pasture pals who go without frequent farrier visits, or the farriers who own horses, but I am talking about people who had no professional experience who plan to trim their own feet on a pleasure/trail/arena wtc mount. Of the many jobs that I have become experienced in, I have always felt farriery was better left to those who are well educated in the art or disastrous results may occur. It is the one area I feel that there is no quick fix for damage that can be done by improper trimming. For those of you who have either done this, or have been advised to do this, how do you feel about it? Also, how much education do you feel is necessary to insure a horse will not be injured by this process? I know there are schools for farriers, and aprenticships are often a good way to break into the business, but if a clinician told me I should begin immediately trimming my own horse I would probably laugh in his/her face and never attend again. Am I wrong to think that kind of advice is dangerous?

Vidaloco 09-19-2009 08:48 AM

When our farrier was pregnant she she started tutoring my husband on doing a trim. She was taking some month off after delivering so we would have to do a couple of trims ourselves.
I think you need to have a knowledgeable farrier come check your work once in awhile. Its not something we would want to do on a regular basis, its back breaking work. So I guess I would say, yes. If someone has taken the training and they can have a farrier come and check their work, no problem.

FjordFan 09-19-2009 08:58 AM

I don't know about the rest of the world but it is illegal to shoe your own (or anybody elses) horse in the UK unless you are a registered farrier. Saying that anyone is allowed to trim their own horses hooves (and others) so long as it is not in preparation for shoeing. i.e. you can do maintainance/barefoot trims.

I know plenty of people who trim their own horses hooves and a few others that have set up a business as barefoot trimmers. The people I know do a good job, they have taken guidance from a farrier who showed them what to do and their horses are fine, are not footsore, suffer lameness etc. The breeder of 2 of my youngsters trims her own horses feet, she is self taught and her horses have excellent feet but as she and others say it is hard work and takes a long time to get it right.

Thats the good side, the bad side is there are some people that don't get it right and the horse suffers. People who have a go at trimming their own horses hooves or use a barefoot trimmer. Barefoot trimmers in the UK are not regulated and anyone can call themselves a barefoot trimmer and set up a business (and usually charge significantly more than farriers for their service). A lot of them do an excellent job, some not so good. It is down to the horse owner to do research and find the best person for the job. Also I would like to add I have come across qualified farriers who haven't done a very good job. One inparticular almost crippled a horse and it took a barefoot trimmer to put it right.

My farrier is also a barefoot advocate and he has taught me so much my horses feet and the importance of nutrician. Would I trim myself? I don't know, I think my farrier is too good to lose.

Appyt 09-19-2009 09:21 AM

If I could not find a qualified trimmer I would trim mine myself. *did i just say that?* I'm spoiled with Barefoothooves excellent trimming work. It is very hard work for someone who is not used to using the tools so I would much rather pay my trimmer. ;) I have 7 horses and I would have to do 2 hooves a day. LOL

But, I do believe most people who are interested in doing so can trim their own horses. It isn't rocket science, but it is important to do a good job. There are so many great resources out there for those who just cannot find a qualified trimmer. I would not pay someone who can't trim the way I want it done. I've seen some pretty crappy work by "schooled" professionals. I'm sure more horses are lamed and/or ruined by pros than by their owners in this field.

TroubledTB 09-19-2009 09:46 AM

I agree, I have had horses come with horrible shoes thrown on over no trimming, and in fact was prepared to fire the current farrier until he complained about the atrocious work that had been done when the horses were not at our farm. I had not said anything while he was shoeing that day, but was prepared to inspect the work as soon as he left. He began commenting to me as to who would have done such a horrible job on the horses. When he explained that he had not put the shoes on, nor did he have any control over who did, I was double happy, triple when I realized I hadn't gotten foot in mouth falsely accusing him. But what I am hearing from your responses is that most of you would have a farrier examine your work, after serious counseling over what you will be expected to do. This is not the case in this situation. I hate to be judgemental, but these people have very limited experience with this one horse, and I know the instruction couldn't have been more than a few hours with the trainer, while the shoes were still on. They said, they have been taught, but I don't feel like they see the forest for the trees in this scenario. Also no farrier will be checking their work or has as of yet. My one relief is to see that the horse doesn't seem sore from not having shoes, but I almost wish he had, so they would forgo the idea all together. I suppose that my concern isn't so much that the horse will sustain damage, though it might, but that a professional after a one week clinic, would tell someone to just pull his shoes and do it themselves. He doesn't see or monitor the horse after doling out such advice, yet after a week of knowing them feels that they are prepared to take on shoes? I can face clip, body clip, braid, show groom, polo, bandage, give an IV or IM shot, pull a mane, but I wouldn't really trust my best guess at what a good trim is over a long period of time. These people have their horse pull away and get lose once a week, is that the kind of person who should be advised to do their own trimming? I was trying to stay neutral, but I suppose my true rant come out now. Don't let my bias deter you if you really feel this is safe advice on something even a novice horseperson can be expected to do.

Vidaloco 09-19-2009 09:50 AM

Is there a way you can diplomatically suggest they have a farrier check their work once in awhile to make sure they are doing it correctly? I know this can be difficult since some folks don't take well to advise.

TroubledTB 09-19-2009 11:54 AM

It's difficult, they don't take anyone's advice, especially mine, since they have been there longer, they don't feel someone like me has the right to give them advice.

Appyt 09-19-2009 12:21 PM

but that a professional after a one week clinic, would tell someone to just pull his shoes and do it themselves. He doesn't see or monitor the horse after doling out such advice, yet after a week of knowing them feels that they are prepared to take on shoes?

There is a difference in my mind on trimming vs shoeing. I would not want anyone who has not been taught how to nail a shoe due to the damage that can be done if the nail goes wrong. I would also prefer an instructor/clinician walk me thru a trim on my horse before turning me loose, of course. However it's possible he gave them very very good advice on what not to do. I am glad to hear that the horse is not tender. It means they didn't do too much.

PiggyPablo 09-19-2009 01:00 PM

If it was a desperate emergency somehow, I would have no choice. BUT I want my horses to have the BEST and I give them the best by having a certified farrier who went to a prestigious academy shod/trim them. It is very hard to undo poor farrier work and takes a while to rehabilitate their hooves when such has been done. I certainly wouldn't seek any advice from a clinician who says "do it yourself" after no or very little training. That's unfair to the poor horse and would cause tremendous pain/lameness in the long run if you don't know what the heck you are doing :(

Peacefuldweller 09-19-2009 01:47 PM

My husband and I are pretty new to horse-ownership, so we'd naturally never dream of trying to take care of our horse's feet on our own (even though ours are barefoot). We get a farrier to come out and he does an excellent job.

We do have a very close friend of ours who has owned and cared for horses almost his entire life who could take care of an emergency for us if we needed him to, but even still, we'd prefer to have the farrier come out if possible.

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