Amateur level horse shoeing knowledge

Hi all!
I recently moved myself and my horse for graduate school. The transition has been working well apart from an issue with one of the farriers. My mare is an older,healthy model, who because of school is in light work right now. The barn has two farriers and the owner recommended one over the other. Not knowing the area well and having it be a very small horse community, I was not presented with many options. After seeing this farriers work, I elected to go with the other farrier, whose work seems more like what I believe is “correct”. The horses done by The first farrier had peeling hooves and trouble keeping shoes on. One of the other owners switched to the farrier I use and her mare has been (seemingly) completely fixed. My question is, does anyone have a resource for amateur owners about feet? I felt like I knew the horses that I saw looked incorrect and uncomfortable, but I couldn’t tell you what the problem is or how to fix it, whereas with some basic health issues and vet care I’m a little more confident (not by any means an expert). It seems like it’s a little bit of a touchy subject, most feel like the farrier has had the training and no questions should be asked, but it would be nice to not feel completely ignorant, or have something happen to my horse, that could have been prevented. Thanks in advance!

Dr. Stephen O’Grady is a renowned equine podiatrist. Hopefully you can get some answers searching thru his web site:)

Kudos to you for looking for answers:). If you decide to keep your horse barefoot while in school, you may get fed up enough with poor farrier’s to learn to do the trimming yourself:):). That’s how many folks started trimming:)


Other than published and online resources, you might look for a trimmer who is willing to spend an hour or two with you to teach you the basics. My trimmer decided to host a half-day clinic because she had a few clients (including myself) who like to trim a bit between regular trims. I have one horse whose hooves grow much faster than my other two, so it’s inconvenient to bring her in every time he needs a little filing. I also did a hoof dissection clinic last year to learn more about hoof structures. The trick for you will be to find someone who trims well to teach you. Good luck!

Pete Ramey has a fb page called Hoof Rehab that is a very fabulous source for learning! Lots of diet and hoof health knowledge to be shared. I’ve gotten a few fabulous books off Amazon, I’ll have to look at the one I have to recall the name, but it’s white, with a picture of the underside of the hoof on the cover. That one is a great, it really breaks down anatomy and the function of the hoof parts in an easy to read format. Good luck, I tell everybody they’ve now fallen down the rabbit hole, LOL. Be prepared to get overwhelmed at times, it’s a lot to take in!

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If your farrier feels no questions should be asked, I’d find another farrier based on this alone. Any farrier worth their salt should be happy to share the reasons behind what they do, how they do it, and what they hope to achieve.

When screening a farrier, I like to ask them how many quarter cracks they’re treating. Then I ask how long they’ve had the cracks and how long the farrier’s had that horse. If crack developed under this farrier’s care, it’s a good likelihood they’re not creating a balanced foot :wink:

Also, if you’re in a boarding barn situation and you’re seeing many underslung heels, long toes and suspensory issues, I’d opt for another farrier. Regardless of what the fan club says.