Here are a few safety points to remember before attempting a trim.
- Make sure that the horse is comfortable with having his feet lifted and cleaned.
- Get him used to all the positions that you need to hold his feet.
- Use only professional quality tools.
- Practice on a tame horse if possible until you get smooth at handling feet and tools at the same time.
- If in doubt, wear a riding helmet to protect your head.
- It helps to have a horse or two around with correctly trimmed feet so you have something with which you can compare your work.
- Don't be afraid to ask your farrier or veterinarian for advice.
- Take a break if the process is taking a long time. Just try to leave the hoof reasonably level
before quitting. You don't have to do all four feet in one day.
- Don't try to lift the legs too high, especially with burros. This can cause discomfort and
the animal may try to take his leg back.
- Be careful not to rotate the legs too far to the side. This may be uncomfortable and could cause
the animal to lose his balance.
- If the front feet are too high you'll likely poke the horse in the belly with your tools.
If the front feet are too low, the horse may try to take them back. Reason through this process and find
a good hoof position.
- Trim when things are quiet and the horse is most likely to remain calm.
- Don't make trimming a struggle. The horse probably can make things harder on you than you can on him.
- Remember that you are learning, the process won't be perfect and it will probably feel awkward
at first. Stay patient and in "learning mode."
Teaching "lifts" to a wild horse
Hand contact with the rope
Hand lifting alone
Trim completed with horse off lead