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Hoof Trimming Practicum

Originally published on April 19, 2019

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

My back hurts, but that’s a good thing! Today I put into practice what I learned from the hoof clinics from Metta Equus. If you missed my reviews of the two first levels, here are Level 1 and Level 2. For my hoof trimming practicum, I chose to trim my husband’s gelding Obélix because he has great feet and is really patient.

Before we trim

My teacher for the day, Maia started by running through what she usually looks at when she trims a horse for the first time. We discussed the list and took the time to thoroughly look him over for any oddities.

During the exam, we noticed that his chest and shoulder muscles were overdeveloped on the left side (the right side of the images below). He is returning to work slowly, but it is something we would keep in mind while trimming his hooves. Not to mention that, for the moment, this horse cannot pick up the right lead at a canter. We are working on it though, but it was interesting to pick up a few more pieces of that puzzle. He also holds his tail to the right side.

The plan was for me to trim two feet, one fore and one hind, and for Maia to do the same on the other side. I had a great time discussing Obélix’s hooves with such a knowledgeable and patient teacher. Maia suggested I start trimming with a rasp and avoid the nippers so that I was less likely to take off too much. We did a conservative trim and discussed the different parts of the hoof and how he was using his feet. It was interesting to note that despite his apparent crookedness, he is wearing his hooves evenly.

In the end, we felt confident that I could trim Obe’s hooves alone in three weeks and that Maia would take a look when she was in the barn next.

Next Steps

I also have takeaways now that I have taken a closer look at my hubby horse. He had a previous shoulder injury and a bone chip floating around in there, so it isn’t surprising that the opposite shoulder compensated and thus muscled differently! Now I will investigate how to muscle him correctly and gently to help him feel better in his body.

And I’ll be trimming him in a few weeks!

Practicum Review

This practicum and many more trims with Maia’s guidance complete the Hoof Clinic series from Metta Equus. I cannot thank Maia and Catherine enough for their patience and time. They are excellent teachers who are patient and eager to share their knowledge. During this practicum, I was able to put to use the knowledge in Level 1 and Level 2 and gain a true appreciation for their work. If you are interested in attending one of their clinics, check out their website.


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