Preparing your horse for trimming appointments
Barefootworks trimmers aim to make trimming appointments a pleasant, relaxing experience for the horse, and informative for you. We appreciate you taking the time to help make this happen as trimming is a seriously physical job and your preparation can make the difference between a sore body and a happy trimmer! We will do our best to help, but it is your responsibility to please:
Give yourself enough time before the appointment to bring your horse in and relax. If necessary have someone else bring them in. Seeing a horse just being caught as you drive up adds an extra ten minutes to each appointment.
Feed, water, and thoroughly clean and dry your horses' legs and feet. Just hosed legs muddy legs are a health and safety hazard and leave your trimmer wet and muddy for the rest of the day. Hungry horses are often distracted and difficult to work with.
During the trim you need to stand with your horse, to help them remain relaxed and balanced. Yard jobs and grooming can wait. Your trimmer will work with you to help your horse learn to hold their own body up and assist with the trim process. It is not appropriate to distract the horse with food, or to attempt any kind of training during the trimming appointment without the agreement of your trimmer. Training, particularly using food reinforcement, takes your horses' focus off your trimmer and encourages them to change their balance and lean forward, putting more strain on your trimmer's body. You may feel it is good that your horse is focused on you but they need to be more focused on the activity and what your trimmer is asking them to do. The only thing a responsible handler needs to do during the appointment is to stand calmly and confidently to help their horse stay calm and relaxed.
Make sure your horse is calm and confident in a safe place to be trimmed. A gateway on the side of the road, a dirty stable, or a muddy field are not safe places for trimming. It is impossible to work safely in bad weather conditions, so in bad weather please ask to reschedule if you do not have anywhere indoors to trim. Your trimmer is within their rights to refuse to work under difficult or dangerous conditions.
Horses are social animals, having a friend nearby can be very useful in helping a horse relax. You can expect your horse to be distracted if they are in a busy area with lots of other horses coming and going.
It is well worth taking time with foals and young horses building confidence in haltering, leading, foot and leg handling at an early age. Your trimmer is very experienced in working with young horses and will be able to give you activities to do between trims so that you can enable your youngster to stay calm and learn to balance. Barefootworks trimmers are skilful horsemen, but they cannot be expected to trim scared or anxious horses in dangerous situations, and may refuse to do so or intervene as they see fit. Please give your horse the time and training they need to enjoy the experience.