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Trimming feet

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#1 Mominis


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Posted 13 October 2010 - 06:52 PM

The farrier was just here yesterday to give Shake his 'trim.' Every time he comes to the farm I get more and more irritated with paying $40 a shot for a rasp job. It's not that he's not a good farrier, but all he has to do to maintain Shake's good feet (and I'm thankful he has such good feet) is rasp him, which I have done every 2-3 weeks, though it may go a touch longer now in the fall and winter as his hoof growth slows down.

I think only once in 6 months has the farrier had to use the nippers and that was with me being exceptionally picky with his length right before Nationals. Despite the many, many times I've discussed it with my farrier, I still don't like the angles he has Shake at. I guess I'm terribly picky, but I also guess I'm the one paying the bill. I figure it's my right to be picky.

I have had horses for over 30 years now and I've had the priviledge of working with some outstanding farriers in that time. I have always held my own horses, watched the farrier work asked a lot of questions, and done a lot of research on shoeing. I have had to learn to pull a shoe, fix a bad clinch, and other basic stuff like that both for Pony Club as well as on an as-needed basis for horses I've had over the years.

I have done my homework and I'm giving really serious thought to ordering the tools and starting to do my own trimming. Which brings me to a few things I'd like to ask you guys that do your own trims at home: Have you done your own on a regular basis? If so, what things did you find that you were most unsure of? What things surprised you by being more difficult than you thought? If your horse got the same trim that you give him but you had paid someone else to do it, would you be as happy with the work? What resources did you use to learn to do it yourself? Do you have any book titles (my poor old copy of Maximum Hoofpower is alomst worn out...lol) or websites that you can share with me while I make the decision about doing my own?

I sure appreciate your input!
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#2 kaykay


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Posted 13 October 2010 - 06:54 PM

This is why we started trimming our own. I do get help from a farrier for 2 of the harder ones but the rest we do.

The whole hoof/pasturn angle is a hard concept for many farriers. I really dont know why but it sure seems to be. I know some that think just because they are miniatures or ponies they dont need a "real" trim. Drives me crazy.

#3 coopermini


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Posted 13 October 2010 - 07:15 PM

Started doing our own several years ago as the farriers we tried didn't really like to do minis and it showed. I got a lot of advice from Linda Best when I started. Sounds like you already have a lot of knowledge on what you expect for a trim so I don't think you'll have any problems. Worst problem with being your own farrier is scheduling, it's way to easy to put things off.
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#4 chandab


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Posted 13 October 2010 - 07:25 PM

I do have a good farrier, finally, but I also trim some myself. I have two saddle horses, and prefer the farrier to do them, as I can hardly get through their hooves with the nippers. I have 10 minis and 2 saddle horses; farrier comes every 4 weeks and has a 4 horse minimum to come. He comes every 4 weeks as he's been working with a couple with laminitic issues and the one has needed trimmed every 4 weeks til this last time, she is good to go 8 weeks this time around, yeah! Anyway, we rotate the horses, he trims 4 every 4 weeks (different horses each time he comes, except the 2 with issues, as they have been going every 4 weeks), and I trim the "normal" horses in between. So, he does the normal horses 2-3 times per year, I do them the rest of the time; and he does the horses with issues all of the time (he does my two saddle horses every 8 weeks, and my husband's horse every 12 weeks). It took me quite awhile before I felt comfortable doing horses myself (i've had horses for over 20 years, minis the last 5), I started out with jsut a set of cheap tools, as I wasn't doing the work very often, then eventually bought a better set of tools. Where I live now, farriers are few and far between or lousy at their job, so I've had to do them more often the last 10 years, until I found my current farrier. I sprained my wrist this summer, so he did more of them this year, than usual.
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#5 Lizzie


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Posted 13 October 2010 - 08:55 PM

I think if you have a good farrier and watch carefully what he does, it's possible to do a respectable job in between his visits. We had a little rescue here for a while, with a nasty club foot which had had no care for years. Having the farrier out every two weeks to little-by-little adjust the foot, my daughter saw exactly what he was doing and decided she could do it herself. In time, the little mare had a really nice foot on her and went off to her forever home, in good condition.

I used to do my own saddle horses, many years ago. That was before my back gave out though. I was able to teach most of them however, to stand close to a bench, so I could put the foot in my lap while sitting. Still, I found it a difficult job.



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#6 MindyLee


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Posted 13 October 2010 - 09:13 PM

As a mini horse farrier for my county that I live in, I can say my horses are always done last! LOL But because I do my own they are kept up with and always look good. I understand the hoof, so when I see thrush or white line disease, I know how to properly take care of it as I have seen some terriable case where feet where rottening away. I do have 1 pointer to help when trimming your minis feet...

Besides the most common stuff...

GLOVES & BLISTERS!!! I, like most woman, have small hands BUT to find a pair of gloves the properly fit is'nt happening so, accross all my right hand fingers (I'm right handed)(not including the thumb) I tape them with white bandage tape that you can get in the bandaid lane at the local Rite Aid or Walmart. And boy dose it save my fingers from blisters. I do use gloves when fileing but not while trimming.

Sounds like to me if he's getting $40 every 2-3 weeks. He's makeing a killing off your pocketbook. I dont even trim my founders that often (every 30 days for them). Sounds like you yourself can do the fileing in between his visits to trim and save yourself LOTS of $$$ by doing that.

#7 Kim~Crayonboxminiatures


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Posted 13 October 2010 - 10:15 PM

I've been doing my own for years now, I've had a farrier out in the beginning every few trims to make sure I was on the right track. I started doing my own when I felt he wasn't getting the angles right on one of my mares,but he did a good job in helping me get started. I read Well-Shod (A Horseshoeing Guide for Owners & Farriers) Western Horseman Books by Don Baskins, it was mostly about shoeing, but had a very good section and very simple on understand on trimming and angles. I also had a video, but I let someone borrow it or lost it along the way and I don't remember what it was called. I have also googled barefoot trims and taken bits and peices of information here and there. I'm not always 100% happy with my trims, but I learn a little more each time I do one. :)

I think the hardest for me was learning how much to pare out of the sole to set the nippers, how to set the nippers to trim flat and even all the way around(I still do a lot of rasping to even it up sometimes) and just the strength it takes to actually nip, the hooves get pretty hard!

It is not one of my favorite things to do, but I do like that I can keep after the foals feet right away as they grow.
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#8 Minimor


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Posted 13 October 2010 - 10:58 PM

I've been doing all our trimming for many years now. I started out on the big horses after our good farrier retired; we tried a couple other farriers but didn't have good luck at all. One guy trimmed them all so crooked--I paid around $200 to him and then had to fix up 6 of the 8 horses. The remaining two were trimmed so very short I couldn't do anything to fix them until two or three weeks later, after they grew back some hoof so I had something to work with. One mare was trimmed so bad that she couldn't walk 3 steps without tripping. I tried a couple farriers after that, thinking it was easier to pay the money than to do all that work myself. I was wrong. One farrier was interested only in the money, he had no real interest in horses and the horses didn't like him at all. One guy was a mean SOB, especially when he was hung over from the party the night before. I have no problem giving a horse a smack if he forgets his manners, but one smack is all it takes--this guy got all set to lay a licking on one of the Morgans, and that horse hadn't even done anything bad--he'd been standing good and then shifted his weight some, and that's when the farrier got mad. He caught himself before he actually got started--lucky for him, because I'd have taken his rasp away if he started whaling on the horse with it. Hung over & cranky? Then stay home until you're over it. I didn't have him back. Tried one more but that guy complained so much...."it's soo hot" "ugh, this is HARD work" and on & on....for the entire time he was trimming. I said you know what, I don't need to pay someone to listen to them complain....I can do the trimming myself & do the complaining too, at least it won't cost me anything. I had another farrier out once after that, to put shoes on one of the Morgans. He looked at the feet, asked who had trimmed the horse & when I said I did he asked what did I need him for, if I can trim like that. I told him shoes--I don't do shoes. That was about the time we got the Minis, and since then I've done all the trimming, and haven't tried any more farriers.

Farriers are scarce & overworked here, so not easy to get them, and from what I've seen from looking at some other peoples horses, the majority of them don't take much care with angles or straightness. I've watched them work and they'll trim around the foot, put it down & move on--they don't stop to size it up for angle or check to see if it's trimmed level (and often it isn't)

I can do some corrective trimming, and am pretty good with foundered horses--I learned to work on them many years ago when one of our Morgans foundered very bad. Our farrier at the time, a good one, and our vet worked together on the horse one day, and I watched & asked questions & took it all in and learned a lot that day.

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#9 Leeana


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Posted 13 October 2010 - 11:26 PM

I trim my broodmares and maintance horses as needed, I am not a professional and have not been to school and to be honest I am not really tallented at it - But i can trim them good enough to keep them confortable and keep the hoof looking right. My farrier trims our show horses and growing horses. Then I have a friend that is at most of the shows that can trim or touch up as need pre show. But I can do my own, my tools are not fancy...i have the smaller nippers from TSC and an older rasp, hoof knife and pick. I make it work........I will have my farrier do the broodmares if I need him to. He is great about that.

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#10 Mominis


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Posted 13 October 2010 - 11:29 PM

There are some great tips here! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think I'm going to go for it. The small investment of the tools isn't much when you add up the farrier bills over a year. I'll check out the books that you reccomended, do a google search on the darefoot trims, and anything else you guys can think of so that I'm fully prepared.

I notice that almost everything I need is at Ozark Mountain, I already have a rasp, but they don't seem to have a hoof stand. Is there such a thing as a mini hoof stand? If so, where would I find a good one?
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