What to Expect from a Consultation

The Consultation Process

Appointments are generally available tuesday – friday 9.30am to 4.30pm (3.30pm in winter unless you have good lighting). I can sometimes make exceptions to these times in extenuating circumstances. A standard consultation takes about one hour, sometimes a little less with uncomplicated cases. Expect the first visit to take up to two hours, though often this is nearer 90 minutes.

At each visit I will be interested in what you have been up to with your horse, any changes to routine, paddock or bucket feed, increases or decreases in exercise amount or intensity, new tack, new training methods, etc. Apart from it being nice to know what my clients get up to, all of this and more can affect the feet so it is useful to know. I would also like to know about illnesses, lamenesses, worming, inoculations etc.

I will thoroughly clean all the hooves (having them clean and dry to start with is always a bonus) and examine the “balance” of the hoof – look at the length and width proportions, the height of wall above sole at toe, quarters and heels, examine the width and quality of the frog and assess the quality of all the structures.

I will assess your horse at walk on a hard level surface if one is available and may ask you to trot, depending on the quality of the hooves  and what I see at walk.

I will regularly photograph the hooves, either before or after a trim, to monitor progress and especially if something interesting is happening to the hoof.

Trimming

trim

Image coutesy of Claire Spelling

I may trim all or part of each foot. The actual trim may be a very small part of my visit, if the horse is maintaining balance well and is sound, then we may extend the duration between trims, if I need to take large amounts of hoof at each visit, I will recommend a shorter interval.

I don’t follow a “method” for trimming, but use certain landmarks to guide me and will trim each hoof on each horse as I believe is required for that horse on that day, just because I did something last time or on another foot doesn’t mean it needs doing this time or on this foot.

Records

VisitNotesOnce I have trimmed the hooves, I may photograph the feet, I may apply some topical remedies to aid recovery from wall or frog damage and I may watch your horse move again, especially if we made large corrections or there were anomalies prior to the trim. I will then write up a set of notes and give scores to various elements of the hooves that indicate quality and strength of the structures and guide usability of the feet. I will give you a copy of the notes, along with any recommendations for changes or tweaks to current routines or diet before I leave.

Next Appointment

I like to schedule the next appointment while we are together, so that the hooves don’t get a chance to get out of shape between trims and will note this on the form before handing it to you. This appointment can always be changed if something comes up, you feel you need to see me sooner, or you really don’t think the feet need trimming just yet – but the more notice you can give the more flexible I can be.

I will message you the night before the scheduled appointment to confirm the visit time.

What do I need from you?

20140314 973In return for the above, I ask that you or a responsible representative will attend each visit and will present me with clean, dry hooves, a dry horse, and a safe, level place to work, free from trip or kick hazards. I understand that some of these are hard to come by at certain times of the year, with the good old british weather, but appreciate any effort you can put in to remove wet slimy mud from hooves, legs and rugs and any shelter or dry standing that can be found.

If the weather is going to be really foul, and you have no shelter available, it may be easier for all concerned to reschedule on occasion.