I’m a firm believer in the knowledge and understanding of horse owners. I’ve always been passionate about educating my clients, because they’re doing the daily hands on care. They know when something isn’t right, especially if they are in tune with themselves and their horses.
I can’t tell you how many new clients have pointed to a hoof and said, “it just doesn’t look right!” Even when we don’t have the technical language, we can notice. Nothing is more fun than me getting to validate that – “you’re absolutely right! What you are seeing is…..”
HOWEVER. I am confident in the hoofcare and trimming advice and approach that I offer *because* I am seeing the horse in person and can ask the owner lots of questions during our appointment if I need more information. I can see their environment, their boot fit, their nutrition, their movement, and much more.
This scenario does not apply to online hoof groups.
When I am teaching clients to trim, I gently suggest they stick with what we’re working on together before seeking out alternative philosophies in hoof care groups online. I don’t care if people end up going a different direction later, but it gets too confusing in the beginning. You need a foundation, a base first. Then you can add and subtract as you like. But if you don’t know general hoof anatomy or how hoof and body interact or general trimming principles, you’ll get lost and overwhelmed.
There are some hoof care groups online that are better than others.
Things to look out for:
⚡Dogmatic – my way or the highway type attitude.
⚡Rude or condescending to beginners.
⚡Emphasis on *always* or *never* in statements.
⚡Always available for online advice – begs the question how often they’re actually under horses working…especially if it’s free advice.
⚡Constant “fire your farrier” comments – the HCP who is seeing your horse in person has the potential to be the answer to your questions first and foremost.
⚡Offers free or paid markup photos on how exactly to trim – this is something I would only do with paying clients who are in my care and under my supervision, on horses I know. Also, photos do not tell the whole story.
⚡Constantly critical of other equine professionals – they alone have all the answers.
There are cult like dynamics in the horse industry just like anywhere else.
If you’re online looking for answers, it’s because you want to do well by your horse. It is challenging to find the right farrier in some areas. And there are excellent helpful hoofcare groups online you can use as a starting point. It’s just much easier if you can find someone who will coach you one on one on anatomy and trimming. I only give trimming advice based off of photos now when a current client learning to trim sends me pictures.
Because I know them and their horse, I can help. I have seen trimming advice given online that would absolutely cripple some horses I work on. They are all individuals, not formulas to be solved. Keep that in mind as you look for answers. Best of luck!