How to Trim Pony Hooves
Best Way to Trim Your Pony
Trimming ponies is a little more difficult than trimming horses, simply because you need to modify your normal trimming methods. With the smaller hoof size your margins for error are very small, meaning you can mess up a pony real easy. If you have had ponies for very long you will realize that getting a competent farrier to come trim your ponies can be difficult if not impossible. Many farrier’s will not work on ponies at all. When I was working as a professional farrier I considered it just good diversification of my farrier practice.
It is always a fine line between, is this a pony, or is this a small horse on one end of the scale and small miniatures on the other end of the scale. I know that purists among you have miniature horses, but for hoof trimming purposes we will call them all ponies. In my opinion, you need to modify how you handle ponies, the first thing I never do put the pony hoof between my knees, I stand to the side and work from that position or I actually often get down on my knees and work on the ponies hooves. I do this to prevent straining the ponies joints and making them uncomfortable, and an uncomfortable pony is a non-cooperating pony, you do not want one of those.
Tool modification for trimming ponies is very helpful, instead of using my 15 inch hoof nippers, I often used my 12 inch hoof nippers, especially on the smaller ponies. Using a narrow blade hoof knife, allows you to clean up the frog and bars, so let mud and contaminants do not accumulate in the pony hoof. You can buy a narrow blade knife, or grinding down one of your old knives works fine on your pony. I also had a short farrier rasp, to reduce the chance of inadvertently poking the pony with the end of a longer rasp. You just cannot use a full size farrier hoof stand when working on a pony, instead I have used everything from little custom-made wooden hoof stands, to my all time favorite, the agitator out of that old washer machine works great.
I used to get a long pretty good with ponies, I attribute that mainly to the fact that I never manhandled them, they are sort of like handling children, just because you can pick them up and put them where you want them doesn’t mean you should. Ask permission to pick up the feet just like you would’ve if it was a big work horse, yes I know you can reach down and grab that foot but you don’t want to do that, for that joint health of the pony and ponies when abused can get really scary, not only can they kick real good, but they can open their mouth like an alligator. Be gentle and the pony will show its appreciation.