Orientation/Course Introduction

  • Orientation & introduce lecturers
  • Overview of course
  • Changing conventional thought processes
  • Code of Conduct
  • Career opportunities
  • Healthy hoof vs. unhealthy – recognise benefits of barefoot trimming, foundation for sound hooves, natural environment, wild horse relevance and evolution

Extreme Environment hooves

  • Wild horse research
  • Relevance to domestic horses – competitive and high mileage barefoot horses in domesticity
  • Understanding evolutionary needs and development of the horses hoof


Hoof mechanism

  • Identifying parts of the hoof
  • Function of the hooves
  • What is a healthy, sound hoof?
  • Characteristics unique to a sound hoof
  • Hoof anatomy - dissections.

Shoeing or Traditional Methods

  • Overview – history of the metal shoe
  • Types of shoes
  • Comparative studies of shod and barefoot
  • Pulling shoes
  • Tipping barefoot trained racehorses – overview – current rules

Tools / equipment

  • Useful and necessary tools
  • Developing safe skills
  • Cleaning, sharpening
  • Importance of good equipment
  • Safety equipment

Hoof protection

  • Hoof boots
  • Other options
  • For working horses through transition period/horses with poor hoof form
  • For rehabilitation – i.e. pads
  • Boots available in the market and their features
  • Sizing and fitting boots
  • Booting as part of a business – client skills

What is a correct hoof trim?

  • Trim principles and procedures – Non invasive trimming
  • Specific trimming requirements – foals, donkeys, etc.
  • Ensuring optimum comfort levels for horses prior, during and after trimming
  • cadaver leg trimming
  • live horse trimming
  • reinforce horse and manual handling
  • Record details of trim

Horse handling - Practical

  • Understanding horse behaviour and communication between horses
  • Dealing with problem horses safely
  • Safe hoof and leg handling
  • Balancing the horse for trimming
  • Handling stallions, young stock, mares in season and unhandled horses, foals
  • Donkey handling
  • Ensuring horse and trimmer are in relaxed and safe surroundings
  • Suitable equipment
  • Recognising problem horses. Whether to refer to educator.
  • Working on both sides of the horse

Manual handling - Practical

  • Trimmers body posture and correct stance
  • Fitness - exercises, and stretches for optimum trimming fitness

Assess Conformation

  • Understand conformation in the horse
  • Conformation abnormalities

Assess Movement and soundness

  • Recognise heel first landing, break-over
  • Understanding and learning gaits of the horse
  • Identifying lameness
  • Body mechanics relating to hoof form – Good and Bad
  • Problems from hoof related issues
  • Performance horses and their requirements

Optimum environment for healthy hooves

  • Conventional boarding v natural environment
  • Simulating natural conditions which include companionship, freedom of movement, natural forage feed, water, shelter.

The horse above the hooves - The holistic horse

  • Overview of the whole horse
  • Nutrition and digestion brief overview
  • Relevance of teeth and good dentistry
  • Body work i.e. chiropractic and sports massage for performance
  • Saddle fit
  • Understanding role of trimmer in network of horse industries

Hoof pathologies and rehabilitation

  • Principals to natural healing
  • Understanding radiographs and their interpretation
  • Recognising hoof pathologies and incorrect hoof form including:

Foals with special trimming needs
Pedal osteitis
White Line Disease
Other - club foot, long toe/underslung heel, quarter cracks, flat feet etc)


  • Transition both towards healthy hooves and those regressing through neglect/delayed trimming (transition being where hooves are unhealthy or less than optimum hoof form for performance.
  • Abscessing
  • Soaking boots and poulticing
  • Foals with special trimming requirements
  • Live case studies
  • Assessment and examination of the horse
  • Working with veterinarians – when to call the vet
  • Monitoring vital signs (hydration, heart rate, pulse, temperature etc)
  • Caring for injured lame horses
  • Horse first aid kits – to travel with.
  • Pain management (conventional and alternative)
  • Common health problems:

mud fever
back pain
joint pain
skin conditions – rain scald

  • Worming
  • Alternative therapies:

Determine horses condition and nutritional requirements

  • Effect of feed on hooves. - signs and symptoms
  • Reading food product and what s in it?
  • Types of feed and grasses
  • Poisonous plants
  • Natural feeding position 
  • Basic digestive anatomy, stomach capacity etc
  • Body condition scoring
  • Feed requirements for performance/exercise, breeding stock, young
  • Assess pasture feed – know species and safe grazing times
  • Arrange supplementary feed- knowledge of minerals
  • Manage the feeding of horses – consulting clients
  • Monitor the feeding plan

Provide basic First Aid

First aid for the Trimmer – Senior First Aid Certificate

  • Customer service (highlighting horse/client relations, education)
  • Respond to customer questions – be able to source information
  • Establish pricing
  • Identify customers special requirement, strategies for negotiating resistance
  • Public speaking, developing a presentation strategy – industry promotion is practiced at all available opportunities
  • Business Management.
  • Marketing and promotion (personal presentation, business image, advertising your service, marketing tools, continual review of service, building repeat clientele, selling your service, public relations)
  • Book keeping
  • Record keeping & scheduling – Time management
  • Territory management
  • Maintaining customer base
  • Safety principles with horses
  • Sexual harassment
  • Health issues – transmitted diseases
  • Safety equipment and tools used effectively
  • Assignment – hazards to people and horses associated with trimming
  • Reasons for good equipment and first aid kit
  • Develop product / service knowledge
  • Advise and market boots and tools
  • Recommend specialised products and services
  • Collect information
  • Process workplace information
  • Maintain information systems
  • Maintain accommodation
  • Monitor and maintain a program
  • Implement and advise on health maintenance program
  • Implement a program of care and maintenance for the hoof
  • Manage the care of the horse applying knowledge of animal anatomy and physiology