This Warmblood was barefoot until the owner was pressured into putting shoes on. He was worked on for the last 10 years by a Master Farrier in Germany.
- Becoming a Master Farrier in Germany is a lengthy and highly regulated process that requires passing exams.
- It starts with becoming an apprentice and learning the trade for 3 years, while attending school about twice a week.
- After passing the final exam, one obtains a Bachelor’s degree in blacksmithing.
- Only after additional training and passing another exam is it possible to obtain a Masters Degree.
Regardless, the farrier work caused considerable imbalances and the horse started to have lameness issues…
The picture on the far left show the angle changes on the right front hoof (top and bottom photos are the same, except the top row is marked up to show the angle changes better).
- Horse was diagnosed last fall after extensive diagnostics in a clinic with ‘turning pain’ , meaning he presented with lameness turning to the right.
- He had developed a bulge above the coronet band that was presumed to be from arthritic changes, yet aspiration and x-rays were clean.
- Hind hooves developed a negative plantar angle (photo next to x-ray) that also created hindend problems
- Owner got a different farrier after the diagnosis who has been trimming the hooves according to my guidelines.
The horse has been sound for the first time in a while since end of last year and continues to do well.
Feedback from a peer :
I had a farrier trained in Holland .. certified and all, did the 3 yrs schooling and apprenticeship and was certified. After nearly 2 years of consistently having my horses lame, tripping and clicking their feet while walking after trimming with recommendations of shoes and a shwack ton of money spent only to have my horse trip and nearly kill me; Then when I asked him what was wrong with my horse and why his frogs and feet looked misshapen (contracted heels) he was unable to answer my questions or provide me with any recommendations other than shoes.
My poor gelding was dead lame and couldn’t even walk across grass after he trimmed him and he was tripping over himself. So armed with only a few rasping skills and 33 years of watching, some basic information from barefoot/natural hoof trimmers online and my photographic memory from the days when an old “hoof trimmer” used to come trim my horses (my horses never took a lame step in the 12 years he came to trim my 20 some different horses over the years) I began trimming my own horses.
3 months later I was able to ride that “dead lame, tripping gelding” on a 12 mile trail ride. He was so full of himself my kids couldn’t ride him. So … sorry to say but after 22 years of experience with different farriers who only seemed to bugger up my horses feet and couldn’t tell me what a healthy hoof was supposed to look like, even though I “knew” it was wrong, I have little faith in what a “certified farrier” can do for my horses. I will continue to trim my own horses and I’m not a farrier! And all of my horses are sound and can trot on gravel right after a fresh trim. Good enough for me!