View Full Version : Alternatives to Tradition (Hoof Car

Lisa an Gypsie
31-05-07, 03:09 AM
Ok, what alternatives have you had sugessted to you regarding tools used for hoof care?

I have had a few suggested to me in the last few days which I thought I would share, some which would make life a little easier for those who have not got easy access to soaking their horses feet, and then having to deal with the foot being the consitency of the rocks around it.

1. Use a cold chisel and hammer to knock of any large lumps of excess sole instead for trying to hack away with hoof knife. Obviously you would do this very gently and not knock the chisel straight into the horses foot, you would definately have to lay the chisel on the correct angle and tap gently. Have seen it demonstrated and it worked VERY well and didn't leave any gouges like a slipping hoof knife can and you don't trim bits that you don't need to (ie you are trying to trim the bars and your knife slips and you take a chunk out of the toe instead).

2. Power tools, have seen the end results and I can honestly say I reckon it would be SOOOOOO much easier. But I have never tried it as I enjoy the process of trimming.

What other "unconventional" methods have you heard about? Would they work and have you tried them?



31-05-07, 05:21 AM

I started using the angle grinder and flap disk and it does do a beautiful, buffed job on your horses feet.

My biggest complaint is having to wear goggles (which fog up - even the swim goggles which I found to be the best) and it does get very heavy in your hand. I am more likely to put up and down my nippers several times whereas the grinder is so heavy you just want to put it down altogether. And, I got a very light black and decker too.
Anyway, I just found it rather fussy. I use it now for finishing off jobs only, (great for gently abrading away sole and you use a 'touch on, touch off' method so you dont just grind everything - you are checking every second your progress by look/grind/look/grind)

I honestly find it easier (because I am lazy) to just use nippers and a file and a plain ole knife.

I had my knife and nippers sharpened by my dad who used to do that professionally so he does a bonza job. You could take them to a scissor sharpener or similar. Either way, they cut through hoof like nothing else. I'm small but sturdy built with arthritis in my hands and find this works a treat for me.

Of course I also have a Hoof Jack which saves my also arthritic back and knees. Hoof stands of one sort or another seem to be de rigeur at the moment and no question why once you use one.
Hoof Jack was definitely worth the money. I can leave a horse propped up on it while I run to the shed to get another tool and they dont mind, they just fall asleep on it.
(I know, I probably shouldnt but the old ones do fall asleep propped up on it - who am I to wake them?)


31-05-07, 05:22 AM
Meant to add there is a Yahoo group if you are really interested called Abrasive Hoof Trimming group. They are extremely supportive, friendly and helpful.
Link below



31-05-07, 05:37 AM
I have heard that some people are using a driedel with great results. I think Pete Ramey is now suggesting them?? (Or maybe I made that up!)

The more I trim the less I touch the sole - so as the time has gone on I don't touch the live sole at all, just remove any big lumps of dead material with my knife, and trim the bars back. My sometime hoof trimmer Andrew Bowe has encouraged me in this. The dead stuff falls off of its own accord eventually, or if we do enough 'council trims'!

I do find the hoof wall a hard slog in the dry weather, so I am a bit tempted to 'go mechanical' for that.

Have done well with the hand tools so far, as long as they are really sharp. I am small, have small hands and have had carpal tunnel release on both, and have a touch of arthritis. (whinge moan -gawd getting old is a drag!) In the long term I hope some-on will purpose design a power tool for us.


AKA Rope Twirler

31-05-07, 01:42 PM
You guys are an inspiration for me right now. I've been watching farriers work on my horses for more than 20 years and finally plucked up the courage to enrol in a Farmilo course being run in a few weeks time. I only have one horse to trim and shoe and think I have a pretty good idea how difficult it may be to take on the responsibility of caring for her feet but am determined to give it a go. any advice for a wannabe one horse farrier or do you think I've done my dough taking this course?

01-06-07, 05:55 AM
Even if you never pick up a tool, you won't have done your $$. So many of us believe we have the best farrier in the State (at least!) only because we haven't a clue what a healthy, well ballanced, fully functioning, shod or unshod foot should look like.

01-06-07, 06:17 AM
So true gdh! How many people have actually told their trimmer/farrier that they have done something wrong or have done a poor job? Everyone should have the knowledge to be able to recognise what has/is being done to their horses hooves.

Lisa an Gypsie
01-06-07, 06:32 AM
I have told my farrier the toes were too long, heels too long and that the foot looks wrong :)

Dun't think that they like me pointing things like that out :)


01-06-07, 06:47 AM
I've had some good farriers that I trusted in the past but I've had a run of incompetent and/or unreliable ones lately and just don't know what else I can do to ensure that my girl gets the best attention possible. As drb pointed out - knowledge is power - if the farrier is doing a lousy job then you should at least be able to recognise it before any further damage is done. Too easy to just hope that the farrier has your horse's best interests at heart - some of the worst ones appear so sincere and persuasive - then 3 months later you realize your horse's heels have contracted.

01-06-07, 08:15 AM
Baby boomer go for it.

Ages ago I suspected my farrier wasnt 100%. Another farrier said something which I put down to maybe professional jealousy. But then I had to do a vet / farrier check pre ride and THREE independent farriers said the same thing - which was all the same as the first guy and same as my concerns also.

Having exhausted my local supply of farriers (who all wanted to wack my remedial horse), I decided to take my horses feet into my own hands. At least if something was gonna happen it would be MY fault. No one elses.
I have read HEAPS on the internet, had the guys at abrasive hoof help me and I also have a trainer who is a certified farrier checks my work every other week, gives me tips and sometimes I have lessons with him also just on feet trimming.
I also want to do some courses, but they arent in my area very commonly. But definitely on my 'to do' list.

You CAN do it. My remedial horse now stands very calm and quiet because I am pretty calm and quiet (he kinda shoots down all those theories of owners getting their horses all worked up for farrier/clipping/vet). He has NO problem with any leg now and I can even walk away for a moment to pick something up and leave him propped up on my Hoof Jack.

You go for it! It aint rocket science. Especially if like me you have only a couple of horses and have had specific training on each of them. Of course if I got another horse, I would go back to square one by having a qualified person assess him/her and walk me through first trims, keep checking on my work etc.

But having said that I am now at the point where they check my work and go 'fine'. If I can do it - anyone can.


01-06-07, 09:57 AM
OK! I CAN do this. (Squares chest, juts jaw out).
I've just googled 'Hoof Jack' and it looks like I don't even have the excuse of not wanting to do my back in anymore - have also joined the Yahoo abrasive hoof group - haven't bought so much as a rasp yet but thought I'd wait til I've done the course to learn what tools I need. I'll probably be back here in a few weeks begging for advice - many thanks for the encouragement.

01-06-07, 10:05 AM
This is my "GG Stand". You go to Supercheap Auto and buy the car stands, and a couple of axe-handle savers from the hardware (Bunnings).
I use it all the time and it's a cheap way to save your back.

01-06-07, 11:32 AM
OMG! thankyou GG, I owe you several rounds - you just saved me about $250+ - there's Supercheap store not 10 minutes drive away

01-06-07, 11:43 AM
Just a question - did you add anything to the top of the stand to fit the handle protectors to. From what is shown on the bare stand at the rear it is hard to imagine them just fitted to that.
P.S. have just added the centre agitator from an old washing machine to my hoof stand collection. Works a treat and light to. But do like the car stands so look forward to yout reply.

01-06-07, 12:28 PM
No didn't add anything. The handle protectors are a real tight fit, so I soaked them in hot water and they fitted on snug. The handle protectors have holes already through them, so I just threaded some light tie-wire through them and twitched them up tight underneath. Hasn't moved!
You can cut the handle protectors down a bit, if you like.
I find the hoof cradles nicely on V for doing underneath the hoof. And sits nicely on top for rasping. Keep a foot on the base when doing anything for stability.

02-06-07, 01:52 AM
GG you are my new best friend! What a great idea, I'm off to Super Cheap right after work.

I used a cradle type at an Equethy hoof trimming clinic a couple of years ago, it was good but at the time too pricey for me.

I have the leg from an old TV, filed round at the end, glued upside down to round a piece of red gum for dressing the feet, made to just the right size for me (I'm built close to the ground). Works a treat, and came at the right price!

BTW, I happily recommend 'equethy' clinics; I did two of them, about a year apart, which really cemented my knowledge about what my horses' feet should look like. Their clinics are two days. Andrew Bowe also teaches trimmimg, again you get a theory sesssion, and to trim your own horse under his tuteledge. Coupled with reading every thing you can get your hands on, this is a great start. Taking a photo of your horse's feet immediately after a professional trim also helpe keep you on track. Google for Equethy, Andrew's place is called Mayfield Farm so you could google that too - sorry, I'm too lazy to look up the links!


Rope Twirler

02-06-07, 02:26 AM
Apparently Carola has taken up my idea for when she's travelling to clinics. Those hoof stands are a bugger to stick in your overhead luggage on flights ;-)

02-06-07, 04:33 AM
Chris - can you recommend any of the books you've read? My course doesn't start for a few weeks - maybe I could bone up a bit before hand.

04-06-07, 12:13 AM
No you won't have 'done your money' but just remember David Familio is a farrier and is very sceptical about barefoot trimming. I'll be interested to see his trims because I'm assuming they are different in that they plane the sole flat and (maybe) rasp the sole off at the toe.

Familio is changing his view very gradually but is dead set against barefoot trimmers who he thinks have no knowledge at all because they have not done master farriery courses. However, this is not the case. Many trimmers know lots more than many farriers about the hoof anatomy.

And the proof is in the pudding regarding performance. Horses are being ridden barefoot (and sometimes booted) in endurance over 80km and winning.

Winners include: Duncan Mclachlan and Cudgelbar Tarquin (ACT) in a number of 80km rides, and Gail Pound and TB Kyneton (arab) barefoot and best conditioned 80km in Vic last year.

So listen carefully when Familio condemns barefoot trimmers and then check out some barefoot trimmers and their results. .Also look for differences between the way Familio trims and the way the barefoot trimmers (trained by Ramey/Equethy/Olivo/Bowe/Gorman and not STRASSER-trained) trim. And look at the performance results. The method of the trim DOES make a difference. A huge difference. I know because I've trimmed and ridden my own horses hundreds of kilometres in endurance barefoot and my daughter has won barefoot 80km rides on her horse.

It's contentious. Familio WILL be able to point to seriously bad examples of barefoot trimming. There are good trimmers and bad trimmers. Just as there are good farriers (like Familio) and bad farriers.

all the best with it.

- Rebecca

04-06-07, 12:25 AM
His name is David Farmilo :)

04-06-07, 01:40 AM
I'm not really in a position to give an opinion about the pro's and cons of the barefoot vs shoeing debate. All I know is that it is getting harder here in the west to get someone competent to attend to my horse's feet. - most reliable farriers with a reasonable work ethic are heading north, and who can blame them? the money they are making is very good. The few that remain are mostly working where they can make the most ie racing stables and the more afluent amateur clients prepared to pay $120+ for their horses. I'm tired of being made to feel like some bloke is doing me a favour for just turning up for an appointment. It's made me determined now to work out ways of doing it myself, hopefully without doing myself or my horse any damage during the learning process.

05-06-07, 06:06 AM
There is a lot of information available on and downloadable from the web - you'll find quite a few links from the Equethy site: equethy.com. Some of the sites include instruction on trimming, with great pictures, but I would advise you not to try this until you have done your course.

One of the best books around IMHO is by Pete Ramey: Making Natural Hoofcare Work for you. hoofrehab.com is his site.

As declared, I am not a fan of the Strasser method, and not all 'Strasser' sites declare themselves as such. You need to make up your own mind about what is 'right' for you and your horses.


Rope Twirler