2021 update of this article is complete!
If you’re interested in learning more about barefoot hoof care, if you are curious about different trimming styles, or if you’re gearing up to learn to trim your own horses, there are lots of resources out there. There is so much conflicting advice available, whether between barefoot trimmers and farriers, holistic vs. traditional mindsets, even within different philosophies in the barefoot camp, so don’t be alarmed if it gets confusing. Keep reading, keep thinking, and ask questions. An important part of this process is the journey to what works best for you and your horse, and that usually involves trial and error, experimenting, and slowly arriving at the conclusions that make sense to you, for this time or this season, and for each horse.
First and foremost, you should consider your local hoofcare provider as the best starting place for your questions and concerns. This is what we study constantly and do all day long. But there is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion or wanting to know more information for yourself. Some hoofcare providers offer excellent services but are not great teachers.
Here are some Facebook groups you could join for more insight and information. I’ll post separate articles about books, DVDs, and websites that are also great resources. Educating yourself is a huge step toward the best hoof care for your horse!
If you are going to post in one of these groups asking for advice, it helps to take clear hoof pictures at the right angles (read here on how to do that) and share all relevant information.
I have added a special feature: drama level rating. Some Facebook groups are just not worth it, so those included on my list here have no drama, low drama, or medium drama. I don’t recommend high drama groups, not good for your blood pressure.
Some Facebook Groups to Join
Barefoot Trimmers Only – all are welcome in this group despite the name, but it is a group promoting barefoot trimming, so you won’t find much advice on shoeing techniques here. This group is perfect if you want to post pictures and ask for advice on the current state of your horse’s feet, if you want your own trimming to be critiqued, or if you have questions relating to all things barefoot hoof care. Be prepared for completely conflicting advice.
Drama level: medium to high. Not every one is nice or gracious in this group and there is very little administrative involvement.
Barefoot Trimmers Connect – if you’re looking for a barefoot trimmer in your area, try posting in the above group and this one. It’s solely for the purpose of connecting horse owners to barefoot trimmers.
Drama level: none.
Hoof Rehab Help – *This group has been archived, so no new posts possible. Excellent resource for trimming, booting/padding, nutritional advice, and more.
Drama level: N/A.
Hoof Boot Exchange – join this group if you want advice on different boots or want to buy new/used boots. Lots of once used boots/wrong sizes available at discounted price.
Drama level: low to none.
Barefoot Method for Navicular – “navicular” is not a diagnosis you want to hear from your vet, but it is often used as a catch all term for heel pain. This group, run by my friend and colleague Alicia Harlov of The Humble Hoof, “was made to support those who have chosen to rehab their navicular horse barefoot. We encourage you to share stories, ask for advice, say what has worked (or not worked!) for your horse, or post barefoot related articles.”
Drama level: low, especially since trim advice is not allowed.
The Successful Hoof Care Group – this group is “is an open interactive team effort to help farriers, barefoot trimmers, hoof boot appliers and horse owners to take the best care of their horses’ hooves as efficiently and effectively as possible. Everyone is welcome to join and contribute their experiences, knowledge and, especially, tips for what is known as “best practices.” I haven’t interacted with this group much yet, but looks like another good resource where multiple voices/opinions are welcome.
Drama level: TBD.
Horse Vet Corner – I have a love/hate relationship with this group + had to leave eventually. Only approved vets are allowed to respond, so this is the perfect place to ask for a second opinion, get information about chronic conditions, or get emergency advice if necessary. However, I rarely saw any responses from a holistic standpoint, and barefoot is not promoted or even respected, but it can be a great resources for other topics so it’s worth a mention.
Drama level: medium, though any non-vet answers to questions immediately get deleted.
Veterinary Issues in Donkeys and Mules – if you have donkeys or mules, this group is a great resource for your questions. You should also follow Megan Hensley online at https://www.facebook.com/holistichooves if you need to find a kind donkey/mule farrier or want to learn how to trim your own. Drama level: low to medium.
Equine Biomechanics, Massage, and Chiropractic – chances are if your horse has hoof issues, they have body issues too. This is a great group to ask experienced horse people and professionals about how your horse is moving. Drama level: unknown rating so far, this is a new group to me.
Hoof Care for Performance Horses – this is not a barefoot specific group, but those owners with performance horses can utilize this group for questions about shoes, boots, alternative hoof protection options like glue ons, casting, etc. Drama level: medium, as observed so far.
Equine Cushings (PPID) – if your horse has been recently diagnosed with Cushings, you will want some support. This group can answer your questions about medication, lifestyle, diet and nutrition, bloodwork, etc. Drama level: unknown, I haven’t interacted with this group enough to know yet.
Did I miss any good ones? Let me know if you are a part of any hoofcare related Facebook groups that you love.
Find my post on my favorite hoof care and trimming books here.
Follow me on Facebook for lots of hoof pictures and educational posts: Sole Purpose Hoof Care.