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Preparing your horse for AEP or barefoot trimming appointments

Updated: Jan 18, 2019

In order for your hoof care professional to provide the best possible service for you and your horse, it is important to be prepared for your appointment. The following article will help you and your horse stay safe and happy as well as your barefoot trimmer, podiatrist or farrier too!

Trimming a properly prepared transitioning barefoot horses hoof during AEP consult

How to prepare your horse for Applied Equine Podiatry (AEP) or barefoot trimming appointments

1. Know what to expect from your hoof care professional (DO YOUR HOMEWORK) Holistic Reflections are happy to provide a free 30-minute consult on the phone and/or email to help you choose the right service. Our AEP consults offer a holistic and proactive approach which requires commitment from both consultant and horse owners and we want you to be 100% satisfied that you and your horse are receiving the right service for you.

2. Give yourself sufficient time to prepare for your appointment and for the completion of the appointment.

We suggest you allow at least 30 minutes before your appointment to prepare your horse and the working area. On average, our AEP consults can last between 45 minutes and 2 hours, depending on what is required.

3. Ensure you have the right equipment for your appointment

Have a suitable area prepared for your horse (see 5 below). You may need mobile lights. Have on hand a hoof pick and grooming equipment. you may also need a hose or bucket of water and sponge to wash your horse’s legs and hooves and a towels to dry your horse. In inclement weather you may need dry rugs too. A poop scoop and brush are handy to clean up after your horse too.

4. Choose the best appointment time for you and your horse

Tired, hungry or stressed horses (and people) are more difficult to work with. Try and choose a time where the yard is quiet, and you and your horse are able to focus.

5. Ensure you or a competent handler are available to hold the horse for the entire appointment.

We prefer owners to attend their consultation, so we can complete the spectrum of usability. If this is not possible, owners can consult with us by phone or email before and after the consult and arrange for a competent handler to prepare and hold the horse during the appointment.

6. Prepare the working environment

Hoof care providers require sufficient working space around the horse which should be at least 2 metres, depending on the horse. The working area should be sheltered from wind, rain and the sun. It must be clean, level, firm, non-slippy and free from hazards. It should also be well-lit and well-ventilated. In addition, there should be an area to assess the horse’s gait in walk and trot. Ideally this should also be clean, level, firm, well-lit and free from hazards and at least 10 metres long.

Trimming a properly prepared lame barefoot horse

7. Prepare the horse for the appointment (mentally and physically)

This means making sure the horse is not only trained appropriately to be handled, assessed and trimmed but also clean and dry. It is unpleasant and often dangerous to work on a wet and/or muddy horse and it is not the responsibility of the hoof carer to mentally and physically prepare a horse for trimming. Horses need to be relaxed and balanced to stand properly for a trim. Some horses require feeding prior to an appointment and some cannot focus if they are fed during a trim. Get to know your horse and your hoof carer to ensure your horse is ready and focused. We have found that some horses are more relaxed following exercise or when they have a hay net or if their owners tie them up instead of holding them during the appointment for example; it really does depend on the individual horse, owner and professional involved.

Properly prepared barefoot horse during AEP consult

8. Be prepared to be flexible

Life happens, and sometimes inclement weather means it is simply not safe or sensible to be under a horse. Or if there is an unexpected disruption on the yard which creates stress and tension. Be prepared to reschedule an appointment if it means you and your horse stay safe and get the service you deserve.

9. Help the hoof care provider do their job

Assessing and trimming require physical and mental focus so unnecessary interruptions and distractions are not only time and energy consuming but also potentially dangerous. Conscientious horse owners like to ask questions and we encourage it, which is why we offer educational talks for yards as well as horse owner courses on hoof care. Our website is also full of useful information and links to other sites of interest. We provide continuous support to our clients and encourage questions and feedback after sending AEP reports, photos and AEP spectrum of usability forms after AEP consults.

10. Be responsible for your horse’s hoof care between appointments

Holistic Reflections provide spectrum of usability forms following AEP consults and these provide guidance for horse owners to help them care for their horse’s hooves. It allows for proactive rather that reactive hoof care which unlike AEP; cannot possible facilitate the maintenance of dynamic equilibrium or balance between trims. Proper preparation for appointments therefore really means being responsible for taking care of your own horse’s hoof care between trims!

Spectrum of Usability Part 1 for proactive hoof care

Spectrum of Usability Part 2 recommendations for proactive hoof care

If you would like to learn more about our top quality holistic hoof care services, would like to maintain or improve your horses performance or would like to book an AEP consult with Beccy, please feel free to contact us today!

We also welcome feedback or comments so please feel free to leave a message.

Warmest well wishes,

Beccy Smith BSc(Hons) EBW DAEP

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