Neglecting to properly care for your horse’s hooves means asking for trouble. As the saying goes, ‘No hoof, no horse.’ So, if you’re asking yourself, “How much does it cost to trim horse hooves?” then you’re headed in the right direction.
You could attempt trimming the hooves by yourself. But make no mistake about it. Trimming horse hooves is demanding and time-consuming. If you have a large herd, the task might stress you out.
Even worse, not properly trimming the hooves could leave the horse in much pain. Plus, fungal infections and even lameness could result if trims are done carelessly. So, yes, it’s all good to want to save some costs. Looking at the bigger picture though, hiring the expertise of a good farrier may be less expensive than risking your horse’s wellbeing.
Is It Expensive to Trim Horse Hooves?
It depends. There are usually several factors that determine how little or much you’re going to cough up.
The difficulty level
If the hooves are extremely dry and hard, trimming becomes a lot more difficult than usual. It may affect the total amount you pay.
The geographical location
In hot and humid areas, hooves grow a lot faster. If you’re in such zones, the time interval between trims is going to be short. Your horse may therefore need more trims than usual. And it’ll probably translate into higher costs over a period.
Cold weather on the other hand slows down the growth of hooves. You may therefore end up not spending as much as you would have over the same period in warmer climates.
The farrier’s skill/experience
If your farrier is very skilled, chances are that he’ll be in high demand. Like any other craftsperson, he’ll probably charge more because of his level of experience.
Application of keg shoes
If you don’t want your horse barefooted, you’re going to spend more to shod your horse after trimming.
How Much Does a Horse Farrier Cost?
A horse farrier will usually charge anywhere from $50 to $150 for a single horse. Of course, some may charge more or less depending on a host of factors.
For instance, the type of horse or service rendered may influence the total price charged.
Still, most farriers typically charge by the hour. And according to the American Farriers Journal, a full-time farrier spends an average of 41 hours weekly for foot-care work. In that space of time, he deals with about 32 horses on average.
How Much Does It Cost to Trim Horse Hooves?
A trim will cost you around $40, give or take. If you want just a trim for your horse, a full-time farrier will charge you about $43, according to a survey by American Farriers Journal. A part-time farrier on the other hand will take about $37.
What’s more, an application of four keg shoes plus a trim will cost you close to $132 at the hands of a full-time farrier. His part-time counterpart will charge take close to $95 for doing the same thing.
For re-shoeing, the typical full-time farrier will take around $125.
Are there extra costs?
A farrier may charge more depending on how distant your location is. The farther away you are from him, the more your fees. This doesn’t apply to all farriers though. But, a fuel levy, especially when you’re outside his radius is not uncommon.
Horses with diseases or some other conformation problems usually require special attention. To achieve a good foot balance, the farrier may have to do more for the horse. It may come with associated charges.
Is There a Way to Save Money?
For starters, you want to choose a farrier that’s close to you. That way he wouldn’t need to factor in his transportation costs.
Another way to save money is to find a good farrier and use him regularly. Loyalty discounts are a thing in the business and you may benefit from that.
Farriers are also likely to give discounts if they trim two or more horses. You may also benefit from discounts where you patronize a group of services aside from just hoof trims.
Lastly, it’s okay to find out from other horse owners around you what they’re paying for the same service. That way, you can know who is charging what you can afford. Expensive doesn’t always mean better. Still, a farrier with loads of experience will likely charge higher than a newbie.
How Often Should Horse Hooves Be Trimmed?
Generally, you should trim horse hooves every 5 to 8 weeks. Depending on certain factors though, this time interval may differ from horse to horse.
In How Often Should You Trim Horse’s Hooves, you’ll learn more about the three factors that influence when you should trim your horse’s hooves.
Choosing a Farrier to Trim Horse Hooves: What You Should Know
The cost of trimming your horse’s hooves is important. But even more important is the service quality you’ll be receiving. You shouldn’t select a farrier based just on his charges. When choosing a farrier to trim horse hooves;
Your equine community is the best place to start with. Especially if you’re in a new area or it’s your first time owning a horse.
Horse owners in the area who’ve been around a lot longer know who’s good or bad from the farrier bunch.
It’s even better if your vet can recommend to you some farriers they’ve worked with. Usually, vets know a lot more about your horse’s hoof health or special needs.
Therefore, there’s a higher chance they’d recommend a farrier familiar with your breed’s special issues.
Search for possible credentials
Unfortunately, in the United States, there are zero legal requirements to meet in becoming a farrier. Anyone can hold themselves out as farriers – even if they’re clueless. It doesn’t mean though, that there aren’t competent farriers without certification.
There are! However, you want to be better safe than sorry. Good farriers usually pursue certification to set them apart from the masses.
As a result, I encourage you to begin searching from the American Farrier’s Association (AFA). The certification process is a rigorous one. And farriers that pass out are savvy about the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of horses.
In any case, the best farriers constantly hone their skills. The practice is an ever-evolving one after all. So, you want a farrier who is not only active in a farrier’s association but is up to date with the latest trends on hoof care.
Evaluate your farrier
The best way to ensure the farrier’s motives align with yours is to evaluate his abilities. Unprofessionalism shouldn’t be ignored.
Does the farrier respect appointments? Is he timely? Is he detail-oriented? Does he take his time assessing the horses? Is he enjoying the worK? Does he show a readiness to work with your vet where necessary?
The point is that the farrier should want the best for your horse as much as you do! And this desire must ooze from this attitude towards work. Plus, you want to stick with the one you’re able to get along with well.
Communication, cooperation, and mutual respect are of the essence. You should be able to communicate without ambiguity your goals, expectations, and horse’s needs with the farrier. Your farrier should also be open with you. He should be open to discussing the trimming process, costs, and any other relevant issues with you.
Why Can’t I Trim Horse Hooves by Myself to Save Cost?
Trimming horse hooves isn’t rocket science. But, would I advise you to do the trimming by yourself? Nope!
Let’s be honest. If you could do it by yourself, you wouldn’t be reading an article entitled, “How Much Does It Cost To Trim Horse Hooves?” You might just want to sit this one out. Leaving it to a trained farrier is your best bet.
Watching Youtube videos may help. Still, it can’t better years of practical experience. Without the necessary training, you might do more harm than good. Lameness is the last thing you want your horse to suffer.
More importantly, if your horse has any special needs or confirmation issues, it’d be best to allow a trained farrier to handle him.
Proper hoof maintenance is necessary for your horse’s overall wellbeing. Regular hoof trims are part of the equation. And if you want to keep your horse comfortable and active for years to come, then you owe him this service.
Regular hoof trims won’t break the bank. As noted in this article, they cost just shy of $50. This amount is a small price to pay to keep your horse in amazing shape. From our experience, a trained farrier is just what you need, and presto!
Also, please don’t attempt trimming hooves by yourself if you don’t have the skills. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.