Hoof trimming advice

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2006
Reaction score
In mid December last year my wonderful natural balance farrier left. Since then I have been through two different farriers and I'm still not happy. Here are some pictures of my mini/pony mares feet. They look awful to me and I don't know what to do to fix them or what to tell the farrier to do. All my horses feet looked so good with the natural balance trimmer and now they are all going to pot again.

This is the third trim she has had since my farrier left. She was last trimmed on April 14. Any suggestions as to what is wrong and what I can do or suggest the farrier do would be greatly appretiated. There are no other natural balance trimmers in my area and I am having heck finding somebody to do a good job!

Left front




Left hind




Right Front




Right hind




Both hind


Both front

I know exactly what you're going through. I had the same problem a couple of years ago. Are you considering trimming her feet yourself? I have gone to all kinds of workshops, seminars, etc. to learn how to do my own but since I have a great trimmer I don't have the need right now (or the time--I have six horses, 3 bigs, 1 pony, 2 minis).

It looks like her left hind is a club foot and she looks like she may have foundered in the past (left front).

It looks a bit dishy but it could just be the way she was recently trimmed. Her heels do look long on all feet. This is just based on all my studies and I'm not a professional, JMHO and knowledge of my six sets of completely different feet (including a foundered pony w/chronic laminitis).

I'm not much help to you...sorry.
I hope you're able to either find someone or learn to do your own. Good luck!
Too much toe in the front and he left too much heel behind! Plus four different angles. Whoever did this job shouldn't call himself a farrier! The feet do look a little dry and hard but that is NO excuse for such a poor trim. If you want any help in how to trim pm me and I'll be glad to help. I am a farrier and I do not trim like that. Linda
Here is a picture when she was being trimmed by my good farrier. It is hard to see her feet and I wish I had taken some pictures specifically of her feet before he left. I will look to see if I have any other pictures of her where her feet are more visible.


But you can kind of see in the photo that her hind doesn't look clubby and her front foot isn't dished. My farrier never mentioned that it looked like she had ever foundered. I would love to learn to trim my own, but I want to learn the natural balance method that Gene Ovineck and Pete Ramey teach. I know some people don't like natural balance, but my horses feet were in such good shape when my old farrier was working on them. I am sold on it, for my horses anyway. I really can't take enough time off work and away from home to go to the school that Gene teaches in Colorado. I am at my wits end because all my horses feet are getting worse!

Too much toe in the front and he left too much heel behind! Plus four different angles. Whoever did this job shouldn't call himself a farrier! The feet do look a little dry and hard but that is NO excuse for such a poor trim. If you want any help in how to trim pm me and I'll be glad to help. I am a farrier and I do not trim like that. Linda
I asked him to take more heel off the left hind, but he said he couldn't take any more heel off. I really do want to learn to trim my own. I am soo frustrated. I don't know if I have the strength to do my big horses, but I really want to start doing my minis. My poor little gelding is getting clubby feet too, and the "rescues" that came from the auction really need to get a good trim or their feet will never improve. I will pm you tomorrow, getting past my bedtime tonight!
Goodness - what a mess!

I'm so glad my hubby has been taught how to trim. He is so slowwwww, but so careful. As good as any farrier.

It's worth learning, if you can find someone to teach you. Good luck.
Ive seen and heard all the horror storeys both here and in person, and it continualy reminds me of how lucky we have been. our ferrier has always been on time, trimmed the way we would want, is kind to our horses, and as he is getting up in age is teaching me how to trim. Hes the first one we found when we moved to this area. my only advise is keep looking the good ones out there!

Linda (Fred) is right. Four different angles. Needs heel off and dish off the toe. One foot looks club there's so much heel.

You can learn to do this yourself if you can't find a good farrier.

Soak those feet in water before trying or they will wear you out. They look like concrete right now. While it's no excuse for the poor job that was done, it's a lot easier for us to do a good job if the feet aren't that hard when we start.

Please feel free to pm ( though I'm sure you've already gotten instructions from Linda ) me it you'd like.

I am NOT a farrier, but I AM experienced at trimming my own miniatures, having done ALL I've owned since late '84, after close study --I agree 100% w/ Fred and Journey's End!

I have a gelding who has one hind that 'wants to' grow a higher heel; it is VERY possible to deal with that properly; it may require more frequent attention to the feet, to keep that tendency 'under control',so to speak. One thing that can help, and which I have done, is to make sure that a horse w/ these tendencies(I also have a small mare who has one front that 'wants to' grow more heel than the other one)--is to make sure these kind of horses are on 'non-abrasive' footing in their daily life. Years ago, we'd added crusher fines to the powdery-when-dry, GLUEY when wet, adobe clay soil in their runs; for these particular two horses, I have made sure that they DON'T live where there is that fairly abrasive surface! It does help; the tendency is lessened.

I see a LOT of minis with overall, too much hoof-the whole THING is just too long, and resembles a 'piece of pipe', IMO. I hate to say it, but in many cases, it is because their feet aren't being trimmed often enough, IMO (and that's the owner, because the owner has to CALL the farrier to come....)When a horse's hooves have been allowed to get LONG, it is usually NOT a good idea to try to return them to a proper length in ONE trim; they may need several trims at CLOSER time intervals, to gradually take the length back to what is proper---and THEN, they need to be maintained at the PROPER intervals! However, I have also seen a lot where a FARRIER did not take off enough hoof, and a lot where the HEEL is left too high, as in your 'after' pictures....it is VERY frustrating to see. I have personally seen the work of only ONE area farrier (ironically, the son of my EXCELLENT farrier from LONG AGO(35 years or so), who shod my 'big' horses for years until he moved to Scottsdale(MORE $$$ from clients over there!) The son is GOOD, but I was told just the other day that he was going to 'quit doing minis' because his bad back(or knees?) couldn't take it anymore....I would be VERY concerned if I were his clients, because it is really hard to find a competent farrier for minis around here, it seems!

Good luck, Lisa! I'm sure Fred/Journeys' End can be of help; if you and I both end up at an ADT sometime this year, I'd also be happy to discuss what I know with you!

The sad part is the last two trimmings for the minis was at four week intervals. With my old farrier they would go at 8 week intervals and they never had problems growing too much heel or getting the "pipe feet" (a very good description by the way). I thought that maybe getting them done more often it would help. No such luck.
I only tried 2 people to trim my horses. The first was a man and even though he was gentle. But, the mare didn't like him and he was crippling her. The last straw with him was when she bit him and drew blood then he slugged her in the ribs. I do not care what my horse does to you, don't EVER slug my horse. So he was gone. The second, one time she did real good and the next time there were problems. I gave up and do it myself. I learned to trim about 20 years ago so even though I have 4 horses, when it comes to trimming week I do 1 horse a day. I can't do more then that with my injury.
Oh my...the picture of her previous trims is encouraging. So glad to hear she has "normal" feet when trimmed properly. You have gotten great advice from the others. I hope you summon the courage to trim your own; it sure beats having someone else ruin your horses! Good luck and keep us posted.
Oh, how lucky I am....Journey's End is my farrier. Take her advise because she has done wonders with my horses and corrected some really bad things done by a previous farrier.
Please post your state and zip code and I will be happy to do a search in my files and try to

locate you a natural barefoot trimmer
You can see in the photo of her "good" trimming that she tends towards having a club foot on the left back by the squareness of her coronet but has been trimmed to diminish it as much as possible. Your new farrier has not been doing your horse any good at all. The long toe on the front is causing flares in the quarters and you could be in real trouble fairly quickly if you don't find a new farrier soon.

Latest posts