Abi HoggWest Yorkshire
M:0781 467 1823
It was through the Natural Horse Group that I came across barefoot hooves. Initially I was intrigued but unconvinced; the idea made sense intuitively, but after years of believing - and being told - that feet needed shoes, it took me six months to get up the courage to take off my horses' shoes.
Once shoeless, I began the process of self-education and began maintenance trimming my own horses under the supervision of a professional trimmer. I became increasingly fascinated by horse's feet and began to go on training courses, including Pete Ramey's first UK course. As people began to ask me to trim their horses I decided I wanted to be trained and qualified. In 2006 I enrolled in the American Association of Natural Hoofcare Practitioners certification programme and was fortunate enough to be taught by Pete Ramey, Todd Jaynes and Jaime Jackson, among others.
I have been making a living as a professional trimmer since June 2007. Since August of that year I have been independent of any organization, preferring to work through a network of like-minded people that includes trimmers, physical therapists, horse trainers and nutritionists. Having been out there alone I am now really excited to now be involved with the Equine Sciences Academy. Humane handling and training are important parts of my work and I have a number of horses on my books who are difficult to trim or shoe. I practise non-invasive trimming, allowing the horse time to adjust and grow the hooves that it needs. In collaboration with Lesley Holehouse, I have run courses on hoofcare and trimming and regularly give talks to local riding groups. I have had an article published in The Farmer's Guardian that aimed to explain barefoot hoofcare to a wider, more sceptical audience. I have also completed the first two levels of the Equine Touch training and am very interested in the interaction between hooves and the rest of the body. I have mentored trainee trimmers and recently a work experience pupil from high school joined me to get a taste of the job.
Over the coming years in the UK barefoot world I hope we will see books and articles written, the wider horse world educated, an increase in high quality barefoot trimming and more interest and understanding from the veterinary profession. Oh and please would someone design a boot for our variable surfaces that will fit and stay on the hind feet? My ultimate aim would be to have a research and rehabilitation facility that could carry out scientific studies of hooves, without harming the horses involved - I just need to win the lottery.
Aside from horses, I have a bachelors degree in Political Science and a teaching qualification and was, until recently, combining teaching children with special needs with hoof-trimming. The hooftrimming has now taken over. I am based in Todmorden, West Yorkshire and cover Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire with the occasional trip further afield by special request.