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HHO Homepage poll re: owners trimming their horses' feet

suebingham

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21 September 2006
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White Mountains of AZ (USA)
I was surprised by the number of "NO" responses in the hoof trimming poll.
Many of us in the US do our own trimming and shoeing. My horse is not shod and I have a farrier in every 8 weeks to maintain appropriate angle, wall-height, and alignment. Even so, If I see a crack starting while picking between visits, I'll rasp it down to keep it from growing. Many of my friends are much more capable than I am and so do more.
I am curious why so many folks here felt that trimming should only be done by a professional. Your thoughts and opinions, please.
 

Tempi

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Parisienne Dressage
because of all there cruelty cases that have come to light over the strassar method..............its just awful what some people who havent a clue (or maybe they actually dobut pretend they dont) do to their horses/ponies feet............
 

PapaFrita

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Argggggentina at the moment
When PF was unshod, I also used to rasp a bit if I saw a flake or crack. Just to tidy up and prevent further damage. I don't think I would attempt any foot reshaping unless I'd had proper instruction, even though I think I have enough common sense not to do anything stupid that would hurt PF.
Fabian does most of the shoeing at the yard, and he does a better job than some 'proper' farriers I've seen. Having said that, I still get the properly qualified one to do PF because of the amount of work she does and the rather poor quality of the school
 

Nailed

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As a person hoping to be a farrier someday.. and a horse owner. I am more shocked that people want to trim there horses feet themselfs! I think it is dangerous as it is a very skilled career.
lou x
 

brightmount

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25 January 2006
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My EP left me with an old rasp to smooth off any chips between trims. They can only use a rasp for about 10 trims, so he has a supply of old ones. He told me not to take anything off from inside the white line though, as I could really mess up the structure if I got too rasp-happy.

I feel so cack-handed trying to rasp off chips though that I wouldn't dream of attempting anything more major.
 

Sooty

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Brussels sprout country
I guess it goes back to the old saying 'no hoof, no horse'. Hooves are just too important to be faffed around with by enthuiastic amateurs, and once damaged can take ages to rectify. However, if you know what you are doing then that is a different matter.
 

suebingham

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21 September 2006
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White Mountains of AZ (USA)
[ QUOTE ]
I feel so cack-handed trying to rasp off chips though that I wouldn't dream of attempting anything more major.

[/ QUOTE ]

That's me in a nutshell too!!! LOL! Even though my girl is much more patient with me than she is with the farrier, I'm too klutzy and slow to take on anything very substantive.

I've never heard of the strassar method -- I'll have to look it up.

The only "fault" that I can see with some of my cowboy friends' shoeing efforts is that sometimes they trim the hoof back to fit too small a shoe. To be fair, I've seen farriers here do that too -- I'm only guessing but I suspect that has to do with a western preference for teeny little QH feet. (I had this on-going gripe with my old farrier years ago when I had a TB; sometimes -- to me at least -- he'd trim and shoe her and it looked like her legs just ended in little round nubbins, completely wrong for a 16hh horse!)

Thank goodness my current girl's got rock hard feet and can go barefoot. So much easier on all of us!

THANK YOU for all your input.


 

suebingham

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White Mountains of AZ (USA)
Good heavens! I just looked it up and while it actually sounds pretty similar to what I do with my mare (please don't flame me here just yet), citing Pryor Mountain Mustangs as an example to emulate for ALL horses certainly could be problematic. Mustangs are naturally selected for hard tough hooves and most for wooly warm coats-- those that don't have'em, don't make it to reproductive maturity. Leaving some horses turned out 24/7 and going unshod is nothing short of cruelty. There are no one-size fits all answers.
 

Gillb

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25 September 2004
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136
Its fine that all of us who can't do it don't do it.

I have no problem at all with those who CAN, doing their own trims. Why should they not if they have trained and have the skills? For every media hype on a case gone wrong there are hundreds of other folk doing a good job.
 
Joined
11 November 2004
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Scottish Borders
I'm a frequent visitor to the USA and to be honest and as a generalisation, I'm absolutely appalled at the state of the majority of horses feet there.

With decades of ownership and training horses, I ordinarily ALWAYS start looking at a horse at its feet and if the feet are poor I can't get past them.

As someone else said "no foot, no horse" . As a 3rd generation trainer, that's something that was drummed into me and the full poem was even on our kitchen wall when I was a child.

However in America I have to force myself to stop looking at feet first, because to be frank its just too damned upsetting.

The lack of regulation with regard to farriery is in my opinion detrimental and the prevelence of owner/trimmers is really bad news for horses.

I've never in my life seen so many horses with trims that are absolutely horrific - long toes, contracted heels, hoof cracks you name it. And ordinarily with owners who haven't got a clue that the foot balance that they have IS NOT the norm and indeed if it was over here they'd be facing prosecution for causing unnecessary suffering.

It also seems that in general there is a higher proportion of the horse owning public in America that is willing to give regard to a lot of the junk science and anecdotal "evidence" put about by barefoot fundamentalists who have minimal training and who expound theories on why all owners should have the right to undertake their own trimming - and even farriery.

Fortunately in the UK we have different expectations, regulation and general levels of awareness and its recognised that trimming a horses foot is SO important and SO highly skilled that its not the sort of think to mess about with.

The preference is to rely on highly trained, regulated professionals and not have so many horses wasted and crippled through ignorance.
 

Doublethyme

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7 July 2005
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I think in an ideal world educated owners should not be stopped trimming feet, but sadly, by allowing this, you have to allow everyone and you will always get the idiots. Therefore I do think there should be regulations in place to prevent it, BUT, I don't think that should mean just farriers, absolutely not.

My mare's feet have never looked so good as they do nowadays and she has been under an EP for 12 months. It would be a devastating set back if these guys were banned from practising.
 

suebingham

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White Mountains of AZ (USA)
Initially I thought _Tom1 was a little harsh in his assessment of US hoof-care practices but after thinking about it, I don't know where he has been and what he has seen. There are some show breeds where intentionally long and unnatural hooves are the norm. I found myself wondering if he had seen some of those animals. And of course at the other end of the spectrum, there are neglectful, ignorant people who have horses, who shouldn't be allowed to keep goldfish. The fact that I had never even heard of the Strasser method after 40 years of horsemanship probably says something about its popularity here for those of us in the horsekeeping mainstream. When I see my farrier next, I will ask her about it and I am sure she will have some opinions -- probably strong ones at that. I will keep on rasping (with my farrier's blessing
) chips and small cracks because little problems can turn into big problems if left unattended. I also got to wondering -- could it be you see less hoof cracking (and resultingly less need to rasp) in the UK because your environment is generally wetter and more humid????

In any case, this has been an eye-opening thread to me -- had NO idea that it would be such a hot topic. Thanks to all who replied.
 

Tia

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21 January 2004
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Keeping hooves looking good in North America is NOTHING like keeping them looking good in England. The extremes of weather and the humidity all make it much more difficult so yes I do agree that you are making sweeping and harsh comments.

Have you EVER kept a horse in North America? Did you notice how much easier it is to have beautiful feet on horses living in England in comparison? Because I have.

My lot all have lovely feet - but this comes at a cost. Farrier comes every 6 weeks (which is a lot for barefoot horses), feeding expensive supplements and finding feeds which will help all add up and not everyone over here is prepared to pay for this privilege. Even the ones who are, don't necessarily have lovely feet because the environment causes so much havoc to their horses hooves.

Anyway - I do have to trim and rasp some of my guys once in a while as farrier does not come inbetween his 6 weeks as he lives a million miles away.
 

TGM

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[ QUOTE ]
I will keep on rasping (with my farrier's blessing
) chips and small cracks because little problems can turn into big problems if left unattended.

[/ QUOTE ] I think there is a HUGE difference between owners doing a little rasping of hooves or doing massively invasive trimming!

[ QUOTE ]
I also got to wondering -- could it be you see less hoof cracking (and resultingly less need to rasp) in the UK because your environment is generally wetter and more humid????

[/ QUOTE ] I've not experienced hoof condition in both continents so I'm not entitled to comment with practical experience. But, being interested in reading a lot about barefoot hoofcare I often seen people say it is MORE difficult to maintain good hoof conditions in the UK because of the wet ground conditions in winter
.
 

suebingham

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White Mountains of AZ (USA)
[ QUOTE ]
But, being interested in reading a lot about barefoot hoofcare I often seen people say it is MORE difficult to maintain good hoof conditions in the UK because of the wet ground conditions in winter
.

[/ QUOTE ]

Hi Mistletoe --


In some respects, you are absolutely right. For instance, I do not have to fight thrush nearly as much as folks in a wetter climate or folks that mostly stable their horses. On the other hand, there is something that I try to do that I would be very surprised if you felt you needed to do. That is: before my farrier visits, it helps a lot if I soak my girl's feet for a bit so they hydrate a bit and are easier to trim with the nippers. Lovely in the summer / not so groovy in January
 

Tia

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26,101
Yes I would definitely agree with that - in respects to thrush or mudfever and general conditions of the soft part of the feet, it is easier here in North America; however as we were talking about the trimming of hooves, I would for sure say that actually keeping the horn in one piece is FAR trickier over here in North America. Freezing temperatures, ice everywhere cracks and knackers the horn, and the hooves drying out is a huge problem in both summer and winter. I can't use any hoof preparations as they totally freeze in winter and melt in summer
.

So soft bits of feet are more difficult in the UK, but keeping the shape, moistness and stability of the hoof is easier in the UK. Just my opinion though.
 
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