Anya’s Dos & Donts
Do get your horses trimmed regularly. 6 weeks is the average. This should generally be considered the longest time frame between regular trimming. Rarely horses can afford to go a bit longer, but most need more frequent maintenance. We will discuss what may be an appropriate trim schedule for your horse. Frequently this is a transient thing, especially in the first months, or with badly damaged hooves.
Do your homework and be sure to consider all factors that are relevant to hoof health, such as diet, nutrition, management, exercise, environment, etc. Do think seriously about changing those factors that are currently unhelpful to your horse’s health & wellbeing.
Do aim to keep your horse’s feet in good shape, rather than leaving it until they’ve overgrown. Especially when hooves may be initially compromised, it’s important to keep them well maintained, because overgrown walls put a lot of extra strain on the laminae and potentially prevent the feet from functioning effectively. That means it can make rehabilitation difficult or impossible.
Don’t just accept ‘transition soreness’ & force your horse to ‘work’ if he’s sore, or ‘footy’ on certain surfaces. Not only is it unpleasant for him, but very possible that he will suffer further damage to his feet and even throughout his body, due to the lack of development of structures and moving badly. Comfort is very important.
Do be prepared to protect your horse’s feet with boots or such when asking him to work on surfaces he’s uncomfortable on. Whether it is due to sick or damaged hooves, or ‘just’ underdeveloped, unconditioned feet due to management and environment, most domestic horses will not cope well bare in some situations, on some surfaces at least, such as sharp gravel. They will benefit from extra support & protection in these instances. Again, comfort is very important.
Don’t just accept further sensitivity after trimming. This is not desirable, or acceptable as a rule. There are exceptions, but if your horse is sore or more sensitive post-trim, it could be farrier error. I want to know about this, not only to analyse what the problem may be and consider the possibility it was part of the trimming that was not right for your horse’s particular situation, but to help you make your horse more comfortable ASAP!
Do consider buying a rasp and learning to brush up the ‘mustang roll’ in between trims. This will help avoid hooves cracking and chipping. I’m also happy to instruct people who want to learn to trim themselves, but of course, don’t rush into it! - It’s imperative you have a good grasp of the theory & principles before beginning.
Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you want to know from me and don’t hesitate to tell me if you’re unhappy or unsure of the state of affairs for whatever reason. It may be that we have missed or discounted something that’s an important factor, that further analysis can sort out, or it may be that in a particular situation with a particular horse, something needs tweaking or changing. It may also be misconception on your part, but good communication gives the best chance of good management and there are no such thing as silly questions!