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    Re: [RC] trimming your horse - Ed and Wendy Hauser

    When I got my first horse 30 years ago, I did not have the money to hire a farrier on a regular basis.  I got a couple of books on triming and shoeing from my local tack store.  Bought the tools and started in.
    At the time my theory was that if I sored the horse I could not ride him for a few weeks.  I also decided (like has been mentioned in this thread) that I could go back and trim more later, but it was hard to go back and trim less.  Since I have a weak back, I would only trim 2 feet per horse per day.  Not practical for a farrier, but works for an owner.
    In addition to what is said in the books my guidelines are:
    1. Generally, it is better to hire a farrier.
    2. Regular  trims are better than no trims.
    3.  The books tell you to take off way to much of the sole.  Just remove the very loose stuff.  It is better to remove less tha more.  Extra sole actually helps if you ride on rocks and gravel
    4. Look at your horses feet when a farrier has done a good job.  That is the angle and balence needed.
    5. Use a hoof guage to get the angles the same on both sides (much more important than actual angle), and get the angles the same as the farrier set them.  (write them down so you don't forget)
    6. Look at the feet and trim job when you are done they have to "look right"
    7. With the nippers, start from the toe and go towards the heel.  Do not take much if anything off of the heel.  It is easy to nip the quarter to far down.
    8. Trim the minimum off of the frog, but if you live in a wet area and/or have a horse that is susceptable to thrush, you have to clean out a groove to prevent infection.
    9. If you are competing hire the best farrier you can find.
    I have also replaced shoes and nails in shoes.  This is much harder than doing a trim, but can sometimes save a ride.   Anyone can tighten clinches and get another 25 to 50 miles out of a shoe.  A wise investment.  Sometimes a very worn shoe can be convinced to stay on a few more days by replacing a nail or two.  File off the clinch, use a nail puller to remove the nail, then put another IN THE SAME HOLE, bend, cut and clinch. 
    I had a farrier give me a short course in nailing, so I could add a nail when needed.  Well worth the time.  It takes a feel to make the nail come out where you want it. (I have a bout a 60% success rate)
    Lost shoes can also sometimes be reset using the existing holes and get you through a ride.
    It is my experience that most women do not have physically large enough hands to use the nippers.  Quite a bit of strength is required.  That said, one of the best farriers I have seen is a worman.  If you want to do it try it and see.
    Most horse people would probably be well advised to never trim a hoof. 
    The one thing every horseperson should know is how to pull a shoe that is half ripped off.  Your farrier will normally be happy to show you.  He/she doesn't like to salvage a hoof ripped to shreads by a loose shoe departing "naturally".
    How to get started?  If you live in a part of the country where there is 5 months of no rides you can start by pulling and trimming at the end of the season.  Perhaps you have a retired horse to practice on.  If you trim a minimal amount no great harm will be done.
    PS.  The opinions above are mine, and I take no responsibility if you wade in and mess up your horses feet.  Trimming can be done by non professionals, but horse feet can be messed up during the learning process.
    Ed and Wendy Hauser
    1140 37th Street
    Hudson, WI 54016

    [RC] trimming your horse, Paddi