With the natural hoof care movement growing by leaps and bounds, many horse owners are seeking out barefoot trimmers. But just as in all professions, there are good and bad. Many people latch on to the first practitioner they find (kind of like I do with boyfriends) without having any idea what to expect from this person.
Below are some things to look for in a qualified trimmer.
An educator as well as a trimmer
Professional hoof care practitioners realize it is important that the horse owner understands the basics of how the hoof works, what common ailment might appear and why, and especially during the transition process. You should always feel comfortable to ask questions. If the trimmer has an issue with this, you should be concerned. Remember this is a partnership with the goal of a healthy, balanced horse.
They realize they don't know it all and is always a student of the horse
A giant ego has no place in natural hoofcare as there is not one answer for every horse's needs. Successful trimmers always seek out new information and are open to other methods even if it is different than the training they have had.
Has basic working knowledge of the "whole horse"
Just as you don't expect your dermatologist to know anything about orthopedic surgery, you shouldn't expect your trimmer to be an expert in all facets of horse care but they must be aware of the aspects that affect not only the hoof but over all health of the horse.
Must possess great stall-side manner and gentle horsemanship techniques
Inappropriate handling is detrimental to your horse's well-being and will cause more issues in the future. There is a big difference between being assertive and being aggressive. If you are not comfortable with how your equine partner is treated during the trimming session, find another trimmer.
Looks at each horse and hoof individually
The goal for a trim is not necessarily four perfectly shaped hooves, but soundness. There are no exact measurements that dictate balance. Ultimately, the horse is the final judge. If you find your trimmer is forcing a certain shape or angles that result in soreness after every trim it is time to find a new trimmer.
Is respectful of your time and strives to stay on schedule as much as possible
On the same token, it is your responsibility to have your horse ready for the trimming session when your practitioner arrives.
Where to begin your search for a natural trimmer
Although there are numerous programs out there teaching barefoot trimming, just because someone is certified or taught that method, does not guarantee they are qualified or the right trimmer for you and your horse. There are some wonderful practitioners who have learned from various people and through hands-on experience that are highly qualified. References from people who have been getting great results are extremely valuable as well as social networking such as chat rooms and blogs.
EasyCare has a Hoof Care Provider list available on our website. These people will be happy to consult with you on your trimming needs as well as aid you in finding the best Easyboot style and size for your horse's needs.
As always, please feel free to call our customer service at 1-800-447-8836 with any questions you may have.
If you call the customer service help desk, you’ll probably get me on the phone! I process repairs, returns, credits and exchanges that come into EasyCare.