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Right & Wrong trimming habits – And 4 postures to make your life a lot easier.

 ¿Are you a professional hoof trimmer or farrier? ¿Are you using mainly one posture while trimming your client’s hooves? Then… Keep on reading, you’re in the right place! 

As you might know I worked and I still work as a professional hoof trimmer since 2008. I’ve got my first certification from the AANHCP in 2010 and there I learned a trimming posture for my daily job. But then I had the luck to travel around the world and meet other professionals and I realized that there’s more than one way to do the things. In fact, there are millions of options to do things correctly… I could say that as many as human creatures… In this article I’ll point you 2 things that normally we do wrong as professionals when using our body and I’ll show you 4 different trimming postures that will make your life easier and longer!

¿Let’s go?

1.- The main 2 things that most of us do WRONG when trimming.

Let me ask you 2 questions and what I mean will become crystal clear for you… 

  • ¿Are you using both hands and both legs symmetrically when trimming? 
  • ¿Are you constantly changing your body position when trimming? 

If you want to avoid pain and injuries and enjoy a long professional life, you should better start to use your body symmetrically in a huge variety of postures. But why is this so important?

When talking about trimming, injuries normally happens for 2 main reasons:

  • An acute strain like the ones that your body have to withstand when you try to stay in place while the horse is pushing and pulling you away because there’s a fly bitting him somewhere in the body.  
  • A chronic overwork due to a repetitive use of the same structures over and over again. 

If you want to be able to resist an acute strain, the best way to do it is to build up strengh in your muscles so they can contract and block effectively in an attempt to minimize the negative effect in your body… So… How could you build strenght? yes… Go to the gym and put some pressure on you! But this article is more related with the second type of injuries. Those that appears for a repetitive use of the same structure. So… How can you avoid overusing one part of your body?   

As easy and simple as using as many parts as possible at the same time or separately as a basic strategy to change the place that is receiving the stress. You see! It’s NOT rocket science! So focus on the following 2 strategies:

  • When trimming the left hooves of a horse focus on using your right hand & leg, and when trimming the right hooves focus on using your left hand & leg. When I say hand, I mean using all the tools with that hand! the hoofpick, the knife, the nippers, the rasp… 
  • Change your body posture several times for the same horse.  
This second strategy leads us to the following section of this article because you canno’t change your body posture if you only have one option!

2.- The 4 trimming postures.

Ok! I will explain you 4 different postures that you can use while trimming a horse. Although you can use them for the whole process I recommend you to create a sequence of postures so you maximize your performance. 

The next are the 4 trimming postures that I mainly use in a daily basis:


2.1.- 1 Knee on the floor.

I normally begin with this posture and I use it for cleaning the hooves and cutting the frog, bars & soles with the knife or a power tool if there’s a need for it.

2.2.- The hoof between the flexed legs.
This typical hoof trimming posture works great when the hooves are very hard and you’re not using a power tool, or to simply rasp evenly the walls down. I try not to use this posture or use it as less as possible.

2.3.- 1 hand semiflexed legs. 

With this posture I can use the knife and the rasp with one hand while the weight is going down through my elbow to the knee and leaving my back without stress. It’s also very useful for those horses that doesn’t like to have their hooves restricted between your legs. And it’s very safe because it gives you the freedom to step away anytime you need.

2.4.- Laptop trimming with flexed legs. 

This posture is mainly for front hooves and it also works very well for those horses who doesn’t like to have their hooves between your legs. The full flexion of your legs it’s basic for this posture and it will make them burn a bit… BUT your back will be very happy if you use this posture! You can also do everything with this posture, from cleaning the hooves, using the knife, rasping the walls…

If you have never tried one of those postures before… Today is the moment to begin! BUT! understand that because you’ll get out of your comfort zone, they can be a little bit tricky at the beginning and your mind will tell you that it’s a waste of time, that it’s so difficult and that is better to give up… Simply keep on trying and in few days you’ll see that you have a full control on them, that you work your body more symmetrically and that your lower back is receiving less stress. 

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