Maintenance trimming - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-10-2019, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Maintenance trimming

I went to a one day workshop on maintenance trimming and it was super fun. We learned about hoof anatomy, ideal conditions for hoof health, and how evolution affected the hoof. We also did trimming on a cadaver and then our own horses.

Anyway, to get to the point. Do any of you do maintenance trimming on your horses? How often? And when do you get the professionals in - is it just when something like thrush or laminitis pops up, or do you get them in regularly to check how their feet are going? What are your opinions on maintenance trimming vs them being done every 6 weeks?

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post #2 of 13 Old 10-10-2019, 08:51 AM
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I don't think you're going to learn everything you need to learn in a one day seminar. I think you would want the guidance of a pro through several cycles. There is no set answer to how often as that is very individual. It depends on several factors. I have one horse that hasn't seen a professional farrier since I moved her here 20 years ago. She wears her hooves evenly so upkeep on her is very minimal. On the other end of the spectrum I have one that I retouch every couple of weeks and I bring someone in every 12 as insurance but he usually doesn't have to do much. The rest are all somewhere in between. I have one I don't do anything to as she has issues that I am not comfortable with - that one see the farrier more frequently. Age is a factor, wear is a factor, soils they are on is a factor. Diet and nutrition are factors. Hoof growth patterns, genetics and how they were raised along with current boarding practices (stall only, some turn out, turn out 24/7...).

There is no one answer.
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Last edited by QtrBel; 10-10-2019 at 09:20 AM.
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-10-2019, 09:49 AM
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One day isn't enough to be set loose on a horse. I didn't take any courses, but I spent a lot of time reading and working with people online and mapping feet before I took a rasp to them. The first time I took over the trimming of my horse entirely was when I was a poor student and farrier was one expense I could cut down on. That was a normal foot and still had the barn farrier trim in every 6mo (tho that was a waste, that farrier wasn't very good)

My now horse still sees the farrier regularly and is often shod. When he's not shod he will chip really easy, so I will clean up any chips during the cycle. Reduce leverage, smooth edges, ect. If I notice he's got some extra bar building up, I'll pull that off, ect. When he's shod I usually just keep an eye on any quarter cracks or flares on his hind feet as he's prone to those.

I only use a rasp and knife.
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-10-2019, 11:28 AM
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I am not confident enough to do anything other than clean my horses hooves. I've always had a pro come out and then I let the pro guide me on how long we can wait, etc. My barrel horses that I would haul farther than locally have always been shod. But even my barefoot horses regularly see someone. I would hate to miss something and have an issue be compounded by that. I think if you feel confident and have the guidance of a pro then it is awesome to be able to do that.

Actually I just started our two new girls with a new farrier (since I'm new to this area) yesterday. He was extra gentle with our new girl that has the cuts on her pastern. And he was super patient with my mare that is in heat and continually peed every few minutes and was acting ultra goofy.

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post #5 of 13 Old 10-10-2019, 11:54 AM
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While I can clean up a hoof if needed, my back appreciates that we keep a regular schedule with the farrier so that I rarely need to. We are on an 8 week schedule.

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post #6 of 13 Old 10-10-2019, 12:04 PM
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Yes i do my own trimming. Lori F does her horses and i believe knightrider on here is learning to do hers.

I call the farrier when i have a horse with issues that i am not certain how to address. For example one of mine has negative plantar angles behind. She also has very noticeable flares behind.

My old mare has one very flat foot and one very upright hoof. Now the old mare has always had different hooves, and always will. Given her severe arthritis i have been reluctant to use a farrier just because she really needs breaks between hooves. I've been trimming her laying down. It's easier for her and less work for me, but you still have to do some trimming with her standing up. I changed her pain medication to Aleve and it made a world of difference. Who new that expensive vet prescribed previcox doesn't work that well at controlling pain?

Trimming is easier on a horse with healthy feet that are already in good condition. If you do want to trim your own, start by shortening the toe midway between your farrier visits.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-10-2019, 12:41 PM
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I've done some reading, watching videos, and my old farrier showed me how to do it. I know enough to trim if they get long, and I can reset a shoe if need be, but other than that, I leave it to the pros. It is kind of a necessity in our area to at least know enough to trim or rasp down a hoof, as most of the farriers are awful, and those that aren't can be hard to come by. In the past when I had just one horse, I either had to haul him to another farm to be done with theirs, or do it myself as nobody would come out for just one horse. We have three now on the farm, and a farrier calls when she's in the area and stops by and does them if they need it. My Paso grows an odd front hoof and I do take the toe back on him about every two weeks in between trims.
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-13-2019, 07:22 PM
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I'll rasp feet in between trims every 6 weeks when my horse's are barefoot. That's usually from November to April. I leave it up to farrier the rest of year as horse's are shod.

Out riding my horse.
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-13-2019, 07:35 PM
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A rehab farrier friend of gives two day clinics on maintenance trimming, hoof mapping. She has lots of cadaver hooves for everyone to work on, which really gets everyone working hard on problem hooves. Most of the hooves have big problems, great experience.

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post #10 of 13 Old 10-13-2019, 07:39 PM
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Was it with Andrew Bowe? He's an awesome teacher, along with awesome farrier & horseman. Highly recommend his workshops.

I first learned to trim my own horses long before there were any 'short courses' like that. Went to the knackery to get hooves to practice on. Never imagined back then I'd do it for a job. I've taught many how to trim.

How often? I do my horses on average about 3-4 weekly. *Keeping* them in shape with a light rasping rather than wait for them to get overlong before trimming. Of course, life gets in the way & they might go substantially longer, but generally... If there are any issues - seedytoe, cracks, hooves are a 'work in progress' etc, best not let them get worse between trims & may even be best to do them more than 3 weekly, to fix the probs.

Some horses, depending on health, lifestyle, abrasive terrain etc, can go longer between trims. Most horses, depending, can go 6 weekly without significant problems but it is generally best for them to be trimmed more frequently so overgrowth & any iimbalance dont get out of hand.

I suggest, if you're just learning to do the job yourself you keep a good farrier on as well. While you're getting your skill up, start with them still coming 6 weekly, if only to check your work, then gradually stretch out the visits as you get good at it. As there are many little things about balance etc, I'd still advise having a farrier check your work every few trims for some time. Then just periodically thereafter.

You can learn a lot at a one day workshop & 'maintenance trimming' is not rocket science. But it's also important to appreciate your limitations. It takes a LOT more to understand all the factors well, that go into good trimming, hoofcare & especially managing problems. I'd absolutely suggest you call a pro for any issues you might encounter too.
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