Can I learn to trim hooves?
I have been curious in seeing how difficult it would be for me to learn to trim my own horses hooves. I leave them barefoot and natural, so only the basic trim is necessary. Should I take a class or can I do it from videos and books? Just curious to see what you all thought and any suggestions of good reference material.
Your best chance of learning how to do things correctly is to find a qualified individual and ask them to teach you.
This is not something you can learn from a book or a video alone.
ITA with Alwaysbehind. Presumably you have a farrier now, I would suggest starting with asking them to work with you and "coach" you along if he/she is willing. You (and, most importantly your horse) will have the benefit of their supervision and input as you learn.
Look around for a school or class. Sometimes you can find them that are a week long and last a few hours per day. Those are good because you get to work supervised and you get to trim a few horses with different feet. The best way to learn is to have it explained, then do it and have your work critiqued. If someone is right with you all the time you don't learn as much. I learned alittle differently. I started shoeing my own horses and if a shoe fell off I had to take the time to put it back on. So I learned pretty quick how to get the hoof flat so the shoe would stay on. Then I worked on figuring out how to improve the look of the hoof and shoe and get it right as opposed to just getting it on. I'm still not great but I have managed to keep my horses sound and useful for a few years now.
I saw from your other thread that you keep your horses barefoot and that's fine but you should remember that the basics of trimming are the same rather you are going to leave it bare or nail a shoe on. You need the hoof balanced front to back and side to side and the heels need to be the same hieght and at the proper angle. If you do a barefoot trim and you couldn't nail on a shoe with minimal change then you dodn't do a good job. That WILL happen when you first start out but don't let it bother you. Your horse will not be crippled with one bad trim. Try to do better the next time. If you only have one horse you should try to find someone that will let you trim thier horses and get them spread out evenly on a schedule. Otherwise you will have a hard time learning much because you will only be working on it every 6-8 weeks. If you muck with your horses feet too often you can end up doing damage that will require a few visits from a pro so I would recommend waiting six weeks at least in between trimmings.
Don't be afraid to try nailing a shoe on either. It's not that difficult after you get the hang of it and it is much harder to hurt your horse than it looks.
^^100% agree. Books, videos, even attending clinics only take you so far. To actually learn what's best for your horses, like kevin suggests take a class or some training courses if they are available. And have a farrier continue to work with you and your horses while you are learning - not something to dive right in blind!
I got lessons from my boss who is the back up farrier for the local one when she goes on vacation or something. I just did my first round of unsupervised trims and it was great. As long as your horses have normal hooves with nothing seriously wrong with them then learning to trim them should be very easy. I think that it is something everyone should learn to do, just in case, but of course that won't happen. :)
Just want to say though, that when it comes to your tools, you DO get what you pay for. Cheap rasps don't last long and cheap nippers dull fast. You don't have to have the top of the line tools, but not the cheapest stuff either. Good luck!!
I've learned through the internet and dvd's. There's lots of barefoot websites out there with lots of good articles in em.
Make sure to check out Pete Ramey's website. I ordered the dvd's he put together, "Under the Horse", it's a 10 disk set.
Look at as many hooves as you possibly can. Even if you don't trim the hooves, simply cleaning em out with a pick and looking at the hooves will help ya cus you'll get to see lots of different things.
And if you go the self-educated route, I'd say be prepared to spend a lot of your time learning and reading and watching and asking questions. I've probably watched my Under the Horse dvd's 5-6 times.
Also if you can get ahold of cadevar hooves to practice trimming on you'll learn quite a lot quickly.
But I wasn't able to get cadevar hooves nor was I able to look at a lot of different horses hooves. But I know it would of helped me learn quicker.
Here's some websites. And there's some mentions of a barefoot trim on the sites, but I would advise against trying to do a trim from reading about it. But I'm a visual type of person, and I needed to see it done.
Barefoot for Soundness
Pete Ramey hoof care heals founder in horse’s navicular disease farrier
The Horse's Hoof, News for Barefoot Hoofcare
The Horse's Hoof, News for Barefoot Hoofcare
Check youtube for some barefoot trimming stuff. But I still didn't have confidence to do it myself until I watched my dvd's from Pete Ramey. And I never had a trimmer help me in person. So I have learned through reading and watching and it can be done. Although it is never advised, and if you can get personal help you will learn so much faster.
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