As of the 10th of April I am a forty two year old trimmer that has owned horses for 15 years and worked with horses for 25 years. I have been trimmer for 5.5 years so far and what a journey it has been. I have always kept my horses unshod because it was natural, then I owned a 25 year old pregnant mare I was riding on the roads and after a while I thought just maybe I should put steel shoes on to protect her feet. I was amazed that in 6 weeks the shoes destroyed the hoof walls in a variety of ways. So off came the shoes again, I then started thinking about making a better shoe, some thing more natural and protective. 5 years later I got some emails from Chrisann Ware that talked about shaping the feet more correctly than is currently done in traditional farriery. This fit with my original ideas and John Gorman came to trim my foundered mini after 3 traditional farriers ran a rasp around the edge and called it done. John spent over and hour on this minis little feet looking for the true foot.
Then there was an invite to do a training course with Martha Olivo. This woman is amazing she has worked with Jamie Jackson, done the Dr. Strasser course and then opted out of certification. Plus years of her own study has made her a mastermind in the field of barehoof care. Her teaching methods are interesting too, she teaches you how to think about trimming rather than how to trim. The teaching is not rote learning or ideas but how to read the hoof to learn what it needs.
This meant that as soon as I finished the course I came back home and trimmed my mini stallion to really get his feet on the road to recovery, a huge improvement was evident. The training that Martha gives is world class and it was great to be able to be the best trimmer for my mini stallion. The results on my own horses encouraged others to try this new barefoot stuff and it has been a very busy 5.5 years.
In the first six months I noticed that the work I was doing at hoof level was really changing muscles in the upper body and making horses capable of moving better and freer. I then realised that hoof care is so powerful that you need to be a massage specialist to understand exactly what the hooves are doing to the upperbody. So taking that thought to the extreme I have done a TAFE Diploma in Horse Industry Management which covers Diploma level of the subjects studied by Cert III Farriers except for Welding and Forging. During this time I started the TAFE Diploma of Equine Massage to learn what the education system can teach about body work and conformation. I now realise that textbooks and education have slipped into many routines that are now being shaken by the benefits of barefoot trimming. What was once thought to be conformation problems can now be proven as posture.
As for trimming style (a valid question asked by many), I can only say I trim with my own style based on the physiology of the horse. Having the adavantage of multiple directions of training I can first look at the muscles of a horse to tell me what has gone wrong and when it started. I have studied with Martha Olivo, Pete Ramey and looked into Dr. Bowkers research as well as that of many others. Each has good points and bad, having spoken to Pete and Dr. Bowker after their clinics, I have found they are only human and looking for answers in what they see. I can be considered a little radical in my trimming based on how bad a foot has become from incorrect trimming but it is not a standard practice. Some clients have been dubious about where my trimming started from on a very bad problem even as I explained what I was doing and why, but the results seen in 2 weeks compared to years of no results soons gives them the trust in what I am doing. Due to my education from many sources I can easily predict what will happen with a horses feet and muscles, though being biological entities the timing is random.
Having brought many horses back from the grave gives me confidence to get things right at the right time. It is all about understanding the horse and how they are put together. I am also very good with horses in their responses and handling, having a deeper undestanding of how truely inteligent a horse is gives me an ability to work with that inteligence.
I specialise in tricky cases like founder and navicular, both of which are very misunderstood maladies. Once the cause of lamitis is removed founder is simply a distorted hoof capsule and easily fixed. Navicular Syndrome is a horse with sore feet mostly due to horse shoes (Peripheral loading devices) and a lack of awareness as to what a horse needs.
Iaac Newton had a saying I take to heart, to see further than anyone else in a given field you must stand on the shoulders of giants. They have done the hard work to get to see as far as they can, if by standing on their shoulders you can see that little bit further and pass the information back, everyone will grow in knowledge.