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Three top tips about horse hoof trimming every horse owner must know

Horse hoof trimming, human holding the hoof up and showing the sole view.

Hooves are a one of the most important parts of a horse. They can quite literally make or break a horse. As a horse owner, it's your responsibility to ensure that your horse's hooves are in the best possible condition, and in this post we share with you three key horse hoof trimming tips that all horse owners will benefit to know. Follow these three things as part of your hoof care routine, and your horse will thank you for it!

Horse hoof trimming tip 1: Learn to recognise your horse's "normal"

Comparison that shows what a difference a weekly horse hoof trimming can make to a hoof.

Although the hoof care principles and anatomy of horses remain the same throughout, every horse is an individual. Observe their hooves and movement on a regular basis, so that you can tell as soon as something seems "off".

Taking hoof photos is an effective way to track hoof health. If you take accurate hoof photos, say every 2-3 months, you will be able to compare them and see whether your horse's hooves are improving, deteriorating or staying the same.

Horse hoof trimming tip 2: Recognise the earliest signs of laminitis

Laminitis is one of the most common hoof issues out there, and one that, unless addressed early enough, can become incredibly serious for the horse.

Horse hoof trimming tip 2: Recognise the earliest signs of laminitis

Although we've all seen or heard about horses with severe laminitis that "came out of nowhere", the world is full of horses that suffer from low-grade laminitis day in, day out, without it being recognised or treated before it becomes a catastrophic situation.

With a switched-on owner, no horse needs to go through a full-on founder or serious rotation of the pedal bone. If you can recognise the very earliest signs of inflammation in the hoof (such as a puffed up coronet band, mild event lines, digital pulses and heat in the hooves), you can take action quickly and stop the damage from getting worse.

We can teach you how to learn to recognise the first signs of laminitis, and guide you through effective ways to combat the condition.

Horse hoof trimming tip 3: Not all trims are equal

There are great farriers and barefoot trimmers out there, that do a splendid barefoot trim on hooves. Then there are others, who do a terrible job. And then there's absolutely everything in between.

A thoroughbred horse's hoof, on the left the hoof is shod and in poor health. On the right the same hoof after rehab and good barefoot trimming.

You might not want to hear this, but it's your job as the horse owner to evaluate the work your hoof care professional is doing, and determine whether your horse's hooves are getting the care they deserve. There are two main ways to do this:

  • Ask questions! Ask your hoof care provider what they see in your horse's hooves, what improvements are they trying to achieve and why. Any good hoof care provider will want to educate their clients and explain things to you in a way that you can understand it.

  • Educate yourself! Learn from many different sources. Listen to everyone, but judge for yourself whose teachings you want to follow. Gather at least basic knowledge about hooves and hoof care, so that you can understand what is happening with your horse's hooves, and why.

Horse hoof trimming can seem like a daunting subject, but it's nothing to be afraid of. Every horse owner should learn at least the basics of hoof trimming, so that they can make informed decisions about their horse's hoof care. No hoof, no horse is still true today, so why not join one of our courses and empower yourself with tried and tested hoof care knowledge!


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