Natural Horse World

Learning Hoof Care

Hoof trimmer
Trimming your own horse can be hard physical work but very rewarding.

Is learning hoof care on your radar? For some, caring for their horse’s hooves involves the occasional check, clean, and a visit from the farrier/barefoot trimmer/equine podiatrist every month or two.
Many owners are now trimming their own horses to either save money or be more responsible for their horse’s care overall.

Whatever role you have, I encourage you to become more educated about hoof care in general so you can know if your trimmer/farrier is doing a good job or is able to perform the best trim possible to keep your horse’s hooves and body balanced and healthy.

While it is possible to pick up a lot of information from books, DVDs, and online, nothing can take the place of practical hands-on learning with a reputable organization.
Then it’s a matter of practice, practice, mentoring with skilled professionals, and more practice! especially if you want to take your new skills to the level of professionalism!

Below are some of the best options for studying hoof care in Australia and overseas.  These courses cover much more than trimming as you will find horse care and nutrition play a vital role in hoof care. All offer a level of certification enabling trimmers to become professionals.

I can highly recommend Pete Ramey’s DVDs and courses- he has produced the most comprehensive series on how to deal with a wide range of hoof pathologies and his new book, Care and Rehabilitation of the Equine Foot has to be one of the best textbooks available and a must for every serious student.

Australian Courses: 

Wild About Hooves – Jeremy Ford and Jen Clingly offer 1-day workshops around Australia and are also teachers for the Certificate in Equine Hoof Care below.

Australian Certified Equine Hoofcare PractitionersCertificate in Equine Hoof Care – is one of the best and most comprehensive courses designed for aspiring professional hoof care practitioners or fastidious home trimmers.

Diploma Course in Equine Podiotherapy – for a career in specialist equine hoof care.

Andrew Bowe – the Barefoot Blacksmith offers trimming workshops, and a rehab center, and is one of the teachers in the above diploma course.

International courses:

Institute of Applied Equine Podiotherapy – with KC La Pierre based in Europe and offering online learning options.

The Equine Sciences Academy – based in the USA

Institute for the Study of Natural Hoof Care Practices – with Jaime Jackson in the USA and Europe

Hoof Naturopath – Equine Soundness has certificate and diploma courses.

Online Learning:

Hoof Help Online – with James Welz. A membership site with a huge amount of resources.

Okanagan School of Natural Hoof Care – Kristi Luehr is a Natural Trimmer and founder. She holds certification with the Canadian Farrier School as well as the Oregon School of Natural Hoof Care.

Wild About Hooves – Jeremy Ford and Jen Clingly teach hoof care basics in their new online course.

Text Books

I can highly recommend Pete Ramey’s DVDs – he has produced the most comprehensive series on how to deal with a wide range of hoof pathologies and his new book, Care and Rehabilitation of the Equine Foot has to be one of the best textbooks available and a must for every serious student.

  • – Cheryl Henderson offers the ABC Hoofprint trim training manual.
  • A Lifetime of Soundness by Dr. Hildtrud Strasser
  • Horse Owners Guide to Natural Hoof Care by Jaime Jackson
  • Making Natural Hoof Care Work For You – Pete Ramey
  • Feet First – Barefoot Performance and Hoof Rehabilitation by Nic Barker and Sarah Braithwaite
  • Laminitis – Understanding, Cure, Prevention by Remco Sikkel
  • A Book On CD: Hoofworks Barefoot Basics by Peter Laidley – a reference book on CD that allows interactive learning complete with short video clips to demonstrate various trimming techniques. Read a review here or purchase from the Natural Horse World Store here.
The Barefoot Horse BookThe Barefoot Horse: An Introduction to Barefoot Hoof Care and Hoof Boots by Lucy Nicholas. Lucy is the co-proprietor of Trelawne Equine, the UK distributor of EasyCare Hoof Boots.
With 94 color pages, it is an easy read and covers a considerable amount of information including the history of hoof protection, hoof anatomy, various trimming methods, what to expect while a horse is transitioning out of shoes, and the key components that lead to successful management of a barefoot horse.
One thing that sets this book apart from the others on my bookshelf is the detail it goes into regarding hoof boots. It begins by discussing the benefits of hoof boots, then outlines how to choose the right boots for your horse, and concludes by discussing common booting problems and their solutions.

Another handy bookNatural Barefoot Trimming – the Hoof Guided Method
There is a great variety of hoof-trimming theories and many people hold strong convictions about which theory is best. This book is yet another resource for the hoof-a-holics out there.

If you are new to barefoot, I believe you should study as many of these theories as you can and in time you will learn to take bits from each based on what works best for your horse(s).

From the Author: The Hoof Guided Method is truly a ‘less is more’ method based on the theory that a barefoot trim should mimic – or simulate – the action of the ground on the hoof, and that the true purpose of the trim is to stimulate the foot to grow healthy. Simulate and stimulate. Learn to stop micro-managing the hoof and work with nature instead of trying to force man’s ideals onto the hoof. The hoof responds to everything it experiences, and that includes trimming. By trimming only what is indicated, then waiting for the hoof to respond, the foot is allowed to transform itself.

If you’re not sure whether it’s possible for you to learn to trim your own horse, here’s a post with some more easy ways to learn hoof care.

2 thoughts on “Learning Hoof Care”

  1. Cynthia

    Hi Carol,
    I didn’t include the Equine Podiotherapy course because I was told they are full for 2013. I have included their info on the Bowker Lectures and am always happy to include workshops and clinics that people let me know about.
    I am sure the info on the Equine Podiotherapy course is available through Andrew Bowe’s Barehoofcare website which was linked to in the Bowker Lectures info.

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