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Basic Farrier Tool Kit & Hoof Trimming

by Diamond Farrier Co

Not only does trimming your horse’s hooves help keep them healthy, it’s also a good way to connect with your horse and further establish the bond between you. It’s not difficult, but it does require both practice and patience to make sure that the process is as pleasant as possible for both of you.

The basic tools you’ll need:

  • Hoof Knife
  • Nippers
  • Rasp

Knowing the areas of the hoof:

  • Wall – the outer edge of the hoof.
  • Sole – the flatter section inside the wall.
  • Frog – the V-shaped inner section at the heel.
  • Collateral Sulcus – the grooves on the outer section of the frog.
  • Central Sulcus – the indentation in the center of the frog.

The first step is to cut off the excessive, flaky material that’s exfoliating on its own.

Hold a wide blade hoof knife, palm up, with your thumb on the end. Using your thumb as a driver, go in a circular motion around the sole, trimming off the excess until it appears glossy.

Smooth it out, being careful to inspect the bottom of the hoof for any defects.

Then trim the frog. Hold a narrow blade hoof knife, and work from the toe back, trimming both sides. Also take this opportunity to clean out the Central Sulcus in the middle of the foot 

It’s best to be conservative – taking smaller cuts, and more of them. That way you minimize the risk of cutting too deep.

After the sole has been cleaned of all excess material, take the nippers and begin working along the base of the hoof wall. Place the edge flat against the hoof and squeeze the nipper reins together – taking a bite out of the base of the wall. Move the nipper slightly and repeat – working your way in small steps around the hoof wall.

Once complete, use the coarse side of the rasp to begin smoothing it out. Moving away from the handle, make circular motions around the hoof to flatten it up and remove any rough marks left by the nippers. The goal is to make it as level as possible.

Stop occasionally and tip the foot down to gauge how much farther you need to go to ensure it’s smooth 

Once the rough work is done, flip the rasp and use the smooth side to make any other small adjustments. Then tip the rasp up and use the smooth side to take the sharp edge off the outer part of the hoof wall.

This is a good time to return to the hoof knife and ensure that there’s no sole at the same level as the hoof wall. (When applying the shoe, you don’t want any pressure on the sole because it could compromise circulation.)

At this point, the hoof is ready to be shod.