KBR Horse Health Information

Care AND Prevention

Trimming Wild Horse Feet
Part Three

Trimming a wild horse "off lead."


This feature is not intended to dissuade you from using a competent and trained professional farrier. It is intended to serve as a guide if you cannot find one to do your horse.

Here are a few safety points to remember before attempting a trim.
  1. Make sure that the horse is comfortable with having his feet lifted and cleaned.

  2. Get him used to all the positions that you need to hold his feet.

  3. Use only professional quality tools.

  4. Practice on a tame horse if possible until you get smooth at handling feet and tools at the same time.

  5. If in doubt, wear a riding helmet to protect your head.

  6. It helps to have a horse or two around with correctly trimmed feet so you have something with which you can compare your work.

  7. Don't be afraid to ask your farrier or veterinarian for advice.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Trim when things are quiet and the horse is most likely to remain calm.

  13. Don't make trimming a struggle. The horse probably can make things harder on you than you can on him.

  14. 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

We have found that preparations such as "Quietex" can help settle down edgy horses. Focusing techniques such as clicker training also help keep these guys on track.

Continue to Teaching Your Horse to Stand Calmly for the Farrier

Continue to The Wild (Feral) Horse Hoof and its Natural Balance

Return to Part Two

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KBR Horse Health Information, 1997 Lamm's Kickin' Back Ranch and Willis & Sharon Lamm. All rights reserved. Duplication of any of this material for commercial use is prohibited without express written permission. This prohibition is not intended to extend to personal non-commercial use, including sharing with others for safety and learning purposes, provided this copyright notice is attached.
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