Barefootworks is a hoofcare co-operative devoted to developing equine potential and supporting horse owners. Formed in 2007 they are the first UK hoofcare practice! Their mission is to help horse owners make positive, informed choices about their horse’s hoofcare and management.
How to prepare your horse for hoof trimming appointments
Give yourself enough time before the appointment to bring your horse in and relax. If necessary have someone else bring them in. Seeing a horse just being caught as the trimmer or farrier drives up usually adds an extra ten minutes to each appointment.
Feed, water, and thoroughly clean and dry your horses’ legs and feet. Just hosed legs muddy legs are a health and safety hazard and leave your trimmer or farrier wet and muddy for the rest of the day.
Hungry horses are often distracted and difficult to work with so make sure your horse has had access to hay before hoof care commences.
During the trim you need to stand with your horse, to help them remain relaxed and balanced. Yard jobs and grooming can wait. Your trimmer and farrier should work with you to help your horse learn to hold their own body up and assist with the trim process. It is often not appropriate to distract the horse with food, or to attempt any kind of training during the trimming appointment without the agreement of your hoof care professional. Training, particularly using food reinforcement, takes your horses’ focus off the person attending to your horses hooves and encourages them to change their balance and lean forward, putting more strain on your trimmer’s body. You may feel it is good that your horse is focused on you but they need to be more focused on the activity and what your trimmer or farrier is asking them to do. The only thing a responsible handler needs to do during the appointment is to stand calmly and confidently to help their horse stay calm and relaxed.
Make sure your horse is calm and confident in a safe place to be trimmed. A gateway on the side of the road, a dirty stable, or a muddy field are not safe places for trimming. It is impossible to work safely in bad weather conditions, so in bad weather please ask to reschedule if you do not have anywhere indoors to trim. Your trimmer or farrier is within their rights to refuse to work under difficult or dangerous conditions.
Horses are social animals, having a friend nearby can be very useful in helping a horse relax. You can expect your horse to be distracted if they are in a busy area with lots of other horses coming and going.
It is well worth taking time with foals and young horses to build confidence in haltering, leading, foot and leg handling at an early age. Your trimmer or farrier should be very experienced in working with young horses and a good practitioner will be able to give you activities to do between trims so that you can enable your youngster to stay calm and learn to balance.
Barefootworks trimmers are especially skilful horsemen, but they cannot be expected to trim scared or anxious horses in dangerous situations, and may refuse to do so or intervene as they see fit. Please give your horse the time and training they need to enjoy the experience.
Find out more about Barefoot Works through our links page.