I posted one such blog last month (its here in full if you haven't seen it).
As ever, I was amazed at the reactions it prompted from some trimmers and farriers who went immediately on the defensive. I really don't understand why because in fact what I'm posting isn't controversial. All I ever ask in these posts is that they stop leaving horses lamer following a trim than before they were trimmed.
Is that really such an astonishing or unreasonable request? I don't think so - in fact if we are going to get technical we could cite the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This clearly states that:
"a person commits an offence if an act of his causes an animal to suffer and he knew or ought to have known that the act would have that effect or be likely to do so".
My understanding would be that if you are going to trim a horse and leave it lamer you are causing unnecessary suffering because I've never seen a horse get sounder in the long term as a result of being lamed in the short term. It doesn't make sense and it doesn't happen in practice.
So if its counter-productive (not to mention unethical, illegal and unprofessional) to over-trim horses and render them less sound why do I keep banging on and on about it on the blog?
Because it keeps on happening.
I did my first posts on this topic back in 2011 (there are links here to several earlier posts) and I really expected that I wouldn't need to post about it again. However the post last month was (yet again) prompted by an email from someone whose horse had gone lame following a trim and sadly this person was not alone.
Since then (and we are talking about a timescale of less than 4 weeks) owners have reported the following to me:
- 2 horses which were so badly lamed by a trim that they were effectively immobile;
- a yard of multiple horses which have been repeatedly left lamer after regular trims;
- 1 horse left bruised and sore following a trim which was done in the name of "rehabilitation";
- 1 horse which is being repeatedly "re-balanced" by a trimmer who is (equally repeatedly) ignoring the horse's frantic attempts to replace the support he keeps trimming away*.
All these trims were performed by "qualified" trimmers or farriers. So I make no apologies for yet another post and I will keep on posting while this keeps on happening.
One more time, folks - a trim is not a good, safe, effective, balanced trim if it leaves your horse less sound.
- Its perfectly possible to trim a horse and leave it as sound, or even more sound, than it was before the trim.
- The REALLY good trimmers and farriers (the ones who are the most experienced and knowledgeable and have the highest numbers of performance barefoot horses on their books) will regularly monitor, but rarely trim, a working barefoot horse.
If you are an owner and your horse is less sound after a trim please make this clear to your farrier or trimmer. You have a responsibility to your horse to safeguard them from invasive and damaging trimming.