Mini horses are no different then regular sized horses when it comes to hoof care. They need to have their feet trimmed ever 6-8 weeks so what better way. Trimming your own horses hooves is almost never a good idea as you should leave it to the professionals. But if you can learn how to do this correctly it can be a cost saver along with being able to touch up your horse or repair right when needed.
Sometimes it can even be hard to get a farrier to do minis as most don’t like them at all.
So how do you trim miniature horse hooves?
Trimming mini horses isn’t any easier then regular sized horses and many farriers will tell you it is actually harder. That is why you are best off following a farrier around and learning right with them for an apprenticeship. Trust me they will love the help.
Here is a list of tools you need to practice trimming first:
- Farrier Rasp
- Hoof Tester
- Hoof Nippers
- Farriers Knife
- Hoof Stand
- Hoof Gauge
- *Riders Rasp
You can go out and watch some videos like the one below as well, but just don’t go out there and start trimming away as you can really cause some damage to your minis feet.
You can also look into what is called a riders rasp that is simple and straight forward for using on horse hooves. We are a little reluctant and showing you this since it can still cause some damage to your horses feet.
Full List Of Farrier Tools For Your Mini
- Farrier Rasp
- Hoof Tester
- Hoof Nippers
- Farriers Knife
- Horseshoe Pullers
- Farriers Nailing Hammer
- Nail Clincher
- Nailing Or Clinching Block
- Hoof Stand
- Hoof Gauge
We love our minis and want what is best for all minis. But don’t take our word for it we have gone out and found responses from actual mini owners on the same question of how to trim your miniature horses feet and if an owner should be doing it on their own. There are of course different circumstances, but your horses feet can be a double edges sword meaning if they are trimmed wrong it can hurt your horse and if they aren’t trimmed at all it can hurt your mini horse.
We curated this information from several different horse websites and sub reddits.
Trimming Your Minis Feet
1. ChanDab “Start With Touchups” – Over the years, I have always watched my farrier trim my horses hooves, trying to learn all I could just to have the knowledge. Never really wanted to
trim them myself, but had the tools for touch-ups and mishaps (such as pulled shoes, just in case). then, I moved to an area with bad horseshoers and no horseshoers, so started trimming out of
necessity. Then I got the minis, and had a really hard time finding someone who would even work on minis. I did finally find a farrier that is worth his weight in gold, which is a heck of a lot; and
so he trims the three saddle horses (I have a hard time getting the nippers through their hooves, but can do them in a pinch), the minis with issues and the others as necessary to keep them
balanced (I trim the “normal” minis myself most of time, also trim a couple “normal” minis that have issues with strangers to reduce stress).
I know there are good books out there on trimming horses in general and even a few on trimming minis. I have a VHS on trimming minis, but I haven’t even watched it, yet; I planned to
2. MuffnTuf – Learned from my farrier.
3. MiniMor “Learned from a good farrier” – How did I learn to trim feet? I learned on my big horses, and I learned from a good farrier that we had many years ago. I also learned from a vet
who worked on a badly foundered gelding that we got years ago–we took him in for x-rays and the vet explained to the farrier how to trim (farrier at that time had never worked on a badly
foundered horse before). I learned a lot from that situation.
Why did I start trimming feet on my horses? Because our good farrier quit and the farriers who we tried after him were nothing short of hopeless. In one case the fellow trimmed 8 horses and the
next day I had to fix 5 or 6 of them–it would have been all 8 but the others were trimmed so short I couldn’t do anything for them until their feet grew out a little. One mare was trimmed so
crooked she couldn’t walk 3 steps without tripping–once I straightened up her feet she walked without any problem at all. All of them were trimmed crooked–one heel long, one heel short….one
quarter short, one quarter long…so each & every hoof went long heel, short quarter, long quarter, short heel. I was more than a little disgusted and decided there was no point in my paying out
that kind of money for that kind of work and then have to fix it up myself when I could save the money & just trim everyone myself in the first place.
Now I trim all of our own horses plus a few outside horses. I’ve turned away other people that have asked me to trim for them, because I just don’t have a lot of time to spare. I also limit my
services to Minis; I’ve had several big horse people almost beg me to go & trim for them but I refuse–big horses are just too much work & my back really isn’t up to it.
4. IslandMinis “I learned but still bring in farrier sometimes” – I learned to trim through instruction from a very good barefoot professional, but even then always brought in my trusted
farrier at least twice a year to make sure I was trimming correctly – with doing minis I am following the same track. They are just a bit different from doing the big guys.
5. TyeeRanch “Learned From 2 Farriers” – I started doing my own broodmares and such to save $. I have learned from two different farriers that we have had that were very, very good.
However, after moving to an area that is very focused on working cattle/ranch/barrel racing horses, I have had a hard time finding a farrier that will take my minis seriously. Especially one that
will work with a driving hoof or one that needs some correction. I have always touched mine up between trims and feel that unless a horse has some major corrective needs, I can do just as good
as the farrier.
6. Genie “Learned From Best Farrier” – I learned from the best farrier in Southwestern Ontario and have also been fortunate to obtain barracuda nippers. I worry that my nippers will break
and I won’t be able to find another set, since I am old and my arthritis is so bad that jar lids are getting to be a huge problem.
I trim for a few other mini owners when they are stuck. I don’t need any more work and will only charge a minimal fee.
7. Margo_C-T “Spend the money on great tools to save money long term” – In the mid-sixties, living in Safford, AZ, I got so frustrated w/ not being able to find a decent farrier that I
got an excellent book, read and studied it, bought a few elemental tools, and shod my own QH gelding twice, before we finally found another good farrier! It was VERY hard work, took me hours
both times, and due to my short fingers, the shoe slipped back just a bit during the nailing, BUT, he walked away sound, and the shoes stayed on properly during plenty of riding for the ‘standard’
of about 8 weeks!
Therefore, when I got into minis in ’84, I already had a knowledge base. I started doing my own mainly due to the cost, but also because I enjoyed it; later, it became clear that I could/would do a
better job that about 95% of what I saw professional farriers doing on minis(sad to say.)
Tip: Buy QUALITY tools! What I had originally bought were ‘one-side’cutters, and WAY too big for minis…blades too wide, handles too long. I bought 10’ ‘Diamond’ brand nippers at the first
AMHA Nationals I attened and used them for years, but never was too satisfied; though they’d been vended as being for use on miniature horses’ hooves, turned out they are in truth, made to nip
the ends off the driven horseshoe nails![IMG]When I finally spent the $$$ for some GOOD 12″ HOOF nippers, my job got a lot easier! GOOD nippers, a GOOD hoof knife, and at least DECENT
rasp are most important, IME. I do use a less-expensive, but short, hoof rasp…not very expensive to just buy a new one when one gets dull.
I still do the 5 minis I have; albeit I work even MORE slowly,usually am ‘up to’ only one horse/day, depending on how hard/dry their hooves are…but still do a better job than most I’ve seen on
8. Charlie Horse Acres “Trim some of my horses” – I grew up with horses and we have always done our own trimming. I use a ferrier to put shoes on or to trim a horse that needs special
corrections or if I am getting ready to show so they look nicer…..(or if I am feeling lazy…LOL takes a lot out of you sometimes when they are all ready for a trim at the same time!) I will also use
the ferrier on our rescue as it stresses him out so using the ferrier allows me to keep him calm while someone is working on him plus the ferrier can trim him closer than I feel comfortable and the
trim will last longer. One of his fears is allowing his feet to be messed with.
So I guess I learned from my mom since we have always done our own. But my ferrier will also talk to me about the horses because he knows I do some of my own so he can let me know if there is
something I need to watch on any of them.
I also did my own trimming on our goat but I found information on line and taught myself from that info how to trim them. I have never done my own shoes though. That is much more of a
trained skill that requires a ferrier I beleive anyways.
We would highly suggest against just going out and trimming your horses feet without first following a farrier around and getting some guidance. You can start with some videos to get the basics down then approach your farrier.
Even with the right tools you will still need some guidance to get it right. But learning this is a very time consuming and physical task that can save you money over a long period of time. As you get older though you may not want to perform this task at all.
We do not shoe any of our own horses we have a farrier come in. We do have a rasp and nips for in case of emergency situations but outside of that we leave it to the professionals for our minis and regular sized horses.
As we previously stated minis actually can be worse then full size horses just ask your farrier their opinion.