The professionals who look after our horses are integral to their health and happiness, so you want to keep them happy too! Here’s how to be a top client for your trimmer.
If you’ve ever wondered what your trimmer looks for in a client, what would make his/her day go a little smoother, or put a smile on his/her face, ponder no more. Some of our top hoof care contributors join us to share their answers to these very questions!
Johanna Neuteboom of BarnBoots, barnboots.ca
• Teach your horses to lift and hold up their own feet at the snap of a finger. It’s easier than you think with clicker training or similar methods. Not only is a great discipline for your horse, it will help you as well as your hoof care practitioner. Win-win-win!
• Educate yourself on the details of hoof care. Please don’t just hand over the entire responsibility to your hoof care practitioner. Ask questions! The more interested and invested you are, the better the results are for your horse – and that allows us to provide much better service.
Lisa Huhn of Equinextion, equinextion.com
• It’s nice to have the horse caught, brushed and feet cleaned by the time I arrive. In the summer, it’s also nice to have the hooves soaked if possible – in my arid climate, feet get very hard and challenging to trim because they are so dry. It’s awesome if young horses are given a little run before trimming, so they are settled without any pent-up energy.
• I ask people to stay plugged in after their horse’s trim by continuing to clean the feet, paying attention to diet, and spraying the feet with “magic spray” (organic apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil). I am not just a “trimmer” and none of my Equinextion Associate Trimmers are either – rather, we continually educate our clients. We encourage them to participate in hoof (and horse) care any way we can.
Sherri Pennanen of Better be Barefoot, betterbebarefoot.com
When I first meet my clients, I ask two things of them, and I believe this makes them good customers and committed caretakers:
1. Always be honest with me. No matter what happens or how, I can better serve you and your horse if you tell me exactly what has happened and under what circumstances. Jot down any events along with times and dates, and be sure to give me any and all information you can. I will sort through it and ask any additional questions I need answered when planning for your horse. Together, we can take action. But if I don’t know all the factors, contributors and events, I can’t be as good for your horse as I’d like to be.
2. Please do as I ask once we agree on a plan of action. I understand that I may be asking you to commit time and resources, but if we have a plan it is important to follow it to the best of your ability. This is not for me – it’s for your horse. If you have questions about what to do, I am always happy to take calls to explain. A friend of mine is a medical professional for people and she tells me this is an issue with her patients as well. If you take the time and pay the money to get my opinion and treatment plan, please follow my advice and call me if you are having doubts or trouble.
Obviously, I ask you to do other things like feed your horse well, give him lots of turnout, and follow a reasonable trim schedule, but without that trust between us, your horse will not have the full benefit of a natural balanced trim, or the emergency care I can provide for him.
Anne Riddell of Canadian Barefoot Horse Association, barefoothorsecanada.com
• I think every trimmer appreciates clients who are on time and have their horses ready and waiting in the barn. Most of us are travelling to several barns in one day. Having to wait while someone goes out to bring in a horse from the field or paddock can be time consuming.
• Please, no muddy legs or wet blankets – it’s not nice to have to trim when you get wet shirtsleeves and feel chilled.
• Prompt payment is always appreciated – nobody likes to have to chase clients for pay.
• Some trimmers like the client to supply fly spray in case the horse has allergies to certain products. That being said, I prefer a natural/non-toxic product. Fly spray makes the trimmer’s job safer since it helps prevent the horse from kicking at flies. On hot days, a large fan can help with flies, and make your horse and trimmer more comfortable.
• When a normally well-behaved horse starts snatching his feet away as I’m trimming, it’s a major sign that he may be sub-clinically laminitic and his feet are sore. If your horse suddenly acts differently while being trimmed, pay attention – this is a red flag that something more serious might be going on, and is not just your horse having a “bad day”.
• If you have changed anything in your horse’s diet or program, please let your hoof care practitioner know!
So there you have it, straight from the horse’s…er…trimmer’s mouth! Try implementing some of these tips and see if your own trimmer notices.