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I don't trim my horses' hooves, but may do a bit of rasping eventually. All I can say is that I think you should learn from a competent farrier rather than from videos, but I realize that's the exact root of your problem in the first place.

I have great confidence in my trimmer, so will not be stepping in to do her job anytime soon, however, since she has a couple of apprentices, I like to listen in on their conversations. I am always in awe of the breadth of her experience. This is something that's hard to teach, or hard to learn from watching a video. Each horse is going to be different, and is not only going to present differently, but is going to grow differently. We've realized that in the summer, my Arab grows really fast, so she needs to come every 4-5 weeks. My QH mare grows straight out, whereas my Arab's hooves spread. Their feet are quite literally a dynamic organism that is constantly changing and only through years of experience can you develop the skill to know what needs to be done as far as nipping, rasping, trimming the frog, and the bars when necessary. There is so much that can go wrong if you mess it up.

She has taught me so much, and not just about hooves. I actually think that of all the horse people in my life, she has taught me the most. She even hosted a hoof dissection clinic to help horse owners, and future trimmers, learn more about hooves. All for the price of 10$ to cover materials at our local vet clinic (this included our very own hoof to dissect). I now have a fuller understanding of how the hoof, bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles work together.

I say all this to express the fact that although a lot of people have bad experiences with farriers, that has not been the case for me. And also to express that it is the sort of trade that you should probably learn from a professional because you don't want to get it wrong. It might be worth signing up for a course at the nearest vet college if that's an option. Or keep looking, even if you have to go pretty far out, to find a really good one, and learn from them.
 

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Ah, a stand. Didn't think of that. I did without one for many years, but it does make the job easier, and a little safer. Just remember, if doing without, it's very easy for a horse to smash your knee with only a little jerk or paw. So DON'T put the hoof on your knee, but above it, and while it makes it slightly less stable, I always have it to one side, so when a horse does jerk back, it's likely to slip off your leg with nothing more than a bruise.

I adapted a telescopic car axle stand to make a comfortable, padded 'sling', with another... knobby bit that sat inside that for a stand. That did me fine until I was doing it for a job & decided to buy myself a purpose built one.

Yeah, Bassoli's tools are good quality, but I don't know Nordic Forge so can't comment on those. Angle of the nipper blades is another consideration - cheaper ones tend to be chunkier so harder to use - I suppose they don't make them as acutely angled because the steel's not so good quality.
 

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Great thread.

I started trimming for two reasons: the farriers did a terrible job and I kept coming across horses that the farriers wouldn't trim because the horses wouldn't stand still enough.

One of my mares has only been lame several times in her 26 years. A couple times it was from injuries, but once it was from a farrier. That is unacceptable to me.

Now I'd have a really hard time letting anyone else trim my horses' hooves. If you trim a horse for years, you soon know their hooves like the back of your hand. You know what things will worsen if you ignore them and what is going to be fine even if left for a couple more weeks.

You also can see first hand how the nutrition/minerals/supplements you are giving affect the hoof health and growth.

Here's a blog post I wrote about hoof trimming tools:
The pictures show the difference between a cheap hoof knife or rasp and a good one.
TRIMMING TOOLS | Round Pen, Square Horse
 

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Here's an inexpensive and safe hoof stand that can be built. Plus, my GE nippers have bee used for 3 years on 6 different horses off/on and have not lost any sharpness that I can tell at all. It is just very difficult to make a nipper with a hard cutting surface that mates exactly.

Make Your Own Safe Hoof Stand -


and.....if you can buy a good but old rasp for a $1 somewhere, try this. Might save enough money to get a better nipper.

 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I say all this to express the fact that although a lot of people have bad experiences with farriers, that has not been the case for me. And also to express that it is the sort of trade that you should probably learn from a professional because you don't want to get it wrong. It might be worth signing up for a course at the nearest vet college if that's an option. Or keep looking, even if you have to go pretty far out, to find a really good one, and learn from them.
I wish I had access to a vet college or even a competent-ish farrier, but unfortunately I live in an area where 'big' towns are two hours apart. Next time I go downstate to visit family, I am going to see if my old farrier could give me pointers, but that will be in a few months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Ah, a stand. Didn't think of that. I did without one for many years, but it does make the job easier, and a little safer. Just remember, if doing without, it's very easy for a horse to smash your knee with only a little jerk or paw. So DON'T put the hoof on your knee, but above it, and while it makes it slightly less stable, I always have it to one side, so when a horse does jerk back, it's likely to slip off your leg with nothing more than a bruise.

I adapted a telescopic car axle stand to make a comfortable, padded 'sling', with another... knobby bit that sat inside that for a stand. That did me fine until I was doing it for a job & decided to buy myself a purpose built one.

Yeah, Bassoli's tools are good quality, but I don't know Nordic Forge so can't comment on those. Angle of the nipper blades is another consideration - cheaper ones tend to be chunkier so harder to use - I suppose they don't make them as acutely angled because the steel's not so good quality.

I think I will eventually try to fashion some sort of stand, but for now, I think my horse is enough of a gentleman to stand nice and not cause any trouble. The farrier actually commented on how well mannered he was, and how they didn't get that too often... I don't know why people around here let their horses goof off for the farriers! When we first got our yearling, he ALWAYS had a rope halter on, and a longer lead, with a whip nearby, so if he would decide not to cooperate, he would be made work instead. After one or two appointments, we had a perfect gentleman for the farrier!
 

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In the meantime (before your visit to your family), if it's affordable, try to purchase a rasp, hoof knife (or knives if you're not using a loop), and a pair of nippers.

As long as you keep up with trimming every 3-4 weeks, a rasp should be all you need most of the time. That means I would put my big money into the rasp and buy a set of nippers on the low end of the medium price range for now.

You could either post picture or PM them to loosie for guidance. Sometimes PM'ng pics for instruction are better. While we all mean well, you only need to be listening to ONE person when it comes time to hold a rasp and start filing and that person needs to be a qualified professional:)

It's that old adage that never goes out of style, "Too many cooks spoil the broth":)
 

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I started when my horse tried to kill the farriers. She was so intent on NOT allowing anyone but me handle her feet, I was told I was going to have to get her to a ranch some miles away, because they had a hoist there, and they could tie up her feet and do them while she was off the ground.


I didn't have to trim much, just shape a bit. Gave up the idea of shoeing her, but all the riding we did (the area was un-built-up at that time, lots of open space to cover) ---all the miles kept her feet pretty short.


I still tend to the horses' feet about every week or so, a little at a time, but once or twice a year I have a farrier come, to check up, maybe correct something that's been going askew.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
So, before I make my big purchase, here are the tools I picked out:

Bassoli Hoop Knife
Bassoli 14" Doppia Rasp
Wooden Rasp Handle
Nordic Forge 14" Semi Polish Racetrack Nippers

Does this seem like a good starter set, mostly regarding the nippers?
 

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So, before I make my big purchase, here are the tools I picked out:

Bassoli Hoop Knife
Bassoli 14" Doppia Rasp
Wooden Rasp Handle
Nordic Forge 14" Semi Polish Racetrack Nippers

Does this seem like a good starter set, mostly regarding the nippers?
Yes, those seem like good quality tools to start out. The nippers are in the range where they are sharp, more balanced and have the thin blades that will cut more easily. Low quality nippers are dull and unwieldy.
 

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Here's an inexpensive and safe hoof stand that can be built. Plus, my GE nippers have bee used for 3 years on 6 different horses off/on and have not lost any sharpness that I can tell at all. It is just very difficult to make a nipper with a hard cutting surface that mates exactly.

Make Your Own Safe Hoof Stand -


and.....if you can buy a good but old rasp for a $1 somewhere, try this. Might save enough money to get a better nipper.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOP9vW7OZGY
I am scared to do this to my old rasp! Even though it is a great one, has lasted me for 2 years trimming 4-8 horses.. I did get worried when ACV spilled all over it, as it became rusty, but it still works.
So with this acid trick, might not be the worst if the hooves are rinsed with ACV and then I rasp them? I mean it wouldn't damage the rasp?

I am worried to try this with that rasp, because it is my only one, and I can't afford a new one now.

And oh yea, I really want to get some GOOD nippers. The ones I have are a piece of junk... makes me work so hard..
That reminds me, gotta go sharpen the knives..
 

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I'm an engineer, so I love learning to do things myself. All my horses have been in the "pretty easy" category for trimming, and I do my best to keep knowledgeable on any signs that I might need to call in a professional.

Trimming yourself is a HUGE time saver. It gets you out of the time-sucking logistics (phone tag, scheduling, bill paying, etc.) inherent with having somebody periodically coming to do things for you. Finding a good farrier is hard and time consuming. Most with a great reputation are full up on clients and aren't interested in adding more. The ones taking clients are (completely literally) questionable. You don't know if they'll be great, or be not-so-great, so you have to take time to talk with them and inspect their work long enough to know you can trust them. I recognized that once you've already learned enough to inspect a farriers work, I realized it wasn't much harder to do the work myself.
 
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