How to keep your hoof care professional happy (and your horse, too)
It’s less work to keep your hoof trimmer happy than to find a new one!
It is not easy finding a good hoof care professional (or ‘hoof trimmer’, as we say around here in Norway). And most good ones have more than enough to do. In other words: if you make life hard for them, they may be tempted to drop you from their list.
If you – and your horses – are happy with the one you have, here are some tips on how to keep her or him coming to your stable:
- Train your horse to lift its feet and to stand quietly while trimmed. Need some help? See our tip, below!
Hoof trimming is hard and dangerous work anyway. Many barefoot trimmers will refuse to work with horses that are behaving badly, because it is too much of a risk – both for the trimmer and for the horse itself, which might get cut. Some barefoot trimmers will do such horses, but you can expect a hefty bill for their extra work and time.
- Provide decent working conditions: a level non-slippery surface to work on and good lighting. This will also make it a lot easier for the barefoot trimmer to do a good trim!
- Especially in periods with no rain (or in dry climates), hooves can get as hard as concrete. Many barefoot trimmers request that under such conditions hooves are soaked in water for at least one or two hours. Otherwise it will be almost impossible to do a correct trim, and the risk of cutting the horse is much greater.
- Be realistic in your expectations, especially if you have a horse with serious hoof problems. There are no ‘instant solutions’. A hoof grows about 1 cm per month. Therefore many problems will take some time to improve.
- Even the best trimmer can only do so much: it is your responsibility as the horse owner to provide the conditions for a healthy horse (natural living conditions, company, good surfaces and enough exercise).
- Last but not least: Pay your bills. Promptly!
You can train your horse to lift its feet by using a ‘lickable treat’ (like Likits). Let it lick the treat as soon as it does what you want. And take away the treat as soon as your horse stops cooperating. This can ‘work a treat’ for many situations!