I am in a few local Facebook groups and I often see people posting “in search of a new farrier.” But what is the difference between a barefoot trimmer and a farrier? I have asked around and I thought a few definitions might be helpful for owners to know.
So “hoofcare provider” is my term of choice because it encompasses everyone who works with equine feet. This means the person who is shoeing or trimming or booting your horse. This could be a farrier, a barefoot trimmer, or even your equine podiatrist. It’s the professional responsible for your horses’ hoofcare. There is too much hostility between farriers and barefoot trimmers, and it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, we’re all professionals.
A “farrier” is also a catch-all term. Traditionally people who shoe horses are called farriers, and people who solely trim horses are called barefoot trimmers. But the definition of a farrier is someone who trims and shoes a horse. Most of my clients call me a farrier even though I refer to myself as a barefoot trimmer, because it’s shorter and it’s the traditional term anyway. So technically a “farrier” could nail shoes on, they could just trim, or they could also do glue ones. I have seen some hoofcare providers (who mostly trim and don’t shoe) call themselves “barefoot farriers” as a combination term. I have started to refer to farriers who mainly shoe as “horseshoers” (thanks to the suggestion from a trimmer friend), so that there is a little less confusion when I am talking with owners.
Some horseshoers have switched over to being barefoot trimmers, so they know how to shoe, but their business model now revolves around mostly trimming. They may still call themselves farriers, because they are.
A “barefoot trimmer” usually focuses their education and attention on trimming and does not nail shoes on, though some occasionally shoe. Some barefoot trimmers will exclusively trim, while others experiment with composite shoes and different glue on set ups. Barefoot trimmers don’t usually call themselves farriers because we want to be clear to owners that we don’t usually shoe. So if someone is looking for a farrier, they may or may not need someone who shoes. If someone is looking for a trimmer, we know we could be a good fit.
So call your hoofcare provider whatever you want, just treat them nicely!
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