Horses Need Their Hooves Trimmed
Every six to eight weeks, a horse needs to get their hooves trimmed up just like we need to get our nails trimmed.
The bottom of a horse's foot is round with a soft pad in the center called a frog. The frog absorbs the pressure of the ground and keeps the circulation going through a horse's leg and body. The hoof surrounds the foot and keeps it safe and protected. It keeps growing and needs to be cut every few weeks.
A person who trims horses' feet and puts shoes on them is called a farrier. Around here, a farrier costs about $40 to trim each horse.
A Workbench Full of Tools
The farrier brings along his own tools for doing his job. The shoeing box is full of the tools which includes tools like a rasp which is used for filing down the hoof after it's been trimmed, a nipper for cutting off the long part of the hoof, and a crease nail puller to pull the nails out of the hoof. Farriers will usually come in a truck with a lot of tools and supplies but won't need many of those unless your horse has special hoof needs or shoes put on.
Using a Disc Base Hoof Stand
Wide Base Hoof Stands
A hoof stand supports the horse's foot. The wide base keeps it steady and let's a farrier have both hands free instead of using one to try to hold the hoof. It also helps to save the farriers back and knees.
How often do you have your horse's feet done?
How often should I have my horse's feet done?
The general amount of time between trimmings depends on the time of year and other factors such as the horse's age and what type of ground they spend the most time on. We stick to every 6 - 8 weeks during the summer but the horses can go longer between trimmings in the winter.
Be Your Own Farrier
Not everyone is cut out for being a farrier but if you are someone who is, check out these books! I prefer to call a professional but it's a skill that's good to know in case of an emergency. One of my horse's shoes came loose one night and it was important that we knew how the shoes were put on so we could easily take it off. You might be able to find local classes to learn how to do your own work for profit or just to save yourself some money or for the case of an emergency but these classes are getting harder to find in many areas. A local barn might be able to help you find one or they might have a farrier who can teach you some skills.
Learn how to do your own farrier work
Here's a great horseshoeing guide. It will show you what to do and answer lots of questions. Knowing the basics is better than knowing nothing at all. It might come in handy more than you expect it too.
These are the basics of horseshoeing. It's something good to know in case you find yourself in an emergency situation. If you really want to take the time to learn indepth farrier skill, this book will give you lots of insight.
If you have your own horse or you own a boarding facility, you should keep a kit handy just in case. You never know when there's going to be an accident and it's good to be prepared. Knowing the basics about how your horse's feet are trimmed can be very helpful if you're unable to get a hold of your farrier for a length of time.
My horse had a shoe coming off one time and the farrier was coming the next day. I couldn't leave it the way it was so we were at least able to pull the shoe off and he was okay until the farrier got there the next day. I was glad that I had taken a short course on how to do farrier work so I wasn't completely unprepared.
Keep This Around the Barn In Case of An Emergency
This is a great kit to have on hand at the barn. It comes in handy in the case of an emergency and saves you money if you know how to do the trimming yourself.
For More Information
If you are looking for more information about farriers or how you would go about becoming one, or if you're just trying to keep up with the latest farrier news, check out these informative sites. They share the latest educational news and lots of resources that will help you.
- American Farriers Association
The American Farriers Association provides all kinds of different information to farriers and people who would like to be one.
- American Farriers Journal
This is the American Farriers Journal. It's a paid publication but you can still find some great information about farriers. It never hurts to learn a little bit more about your horse and how their feet and hooves work.
This is a great site with lots of awesome information about taking care of your horse's hooves. Your horse's feet aren't usually the thing that you are thinking about as you saddle up but you should still know basic anatomy and care.
See What Farriers Do
Farriers are Important People
As you can see, a farrier is an important person in your horse's life. Make sure that you have a good one because a bad one can ruin your horse as easily as a good one can correct serious conformation problems. It also helps to have one that is nearby in case of an emergency but don't let that be the only reason that you choose one. Someone who is a little further away might be better and if it's only a matter of a few minutes difference in distance, I would choose the better further away one.
Please leave a comment below so I know you were here! Also, if you have any experience working on horses' feet, please leave a helpful tip or suggestion.