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Barefoot trimmer summary of standards and education

Download the CEHCA Summary of Standards (PDF)

Principals  Rachel Gedaliya, Maia Chaput, Jessica Fobert, Christin Johnston,
Francine Labossière, Connie Challice, Sandi Peters, Janilyn Kooy

  • Schedule A – Definitions
  • Schedule B – Code of ethics
  • Schedule C – Scope of practice
  • Schedule D – Standard of practice
  • Schedule E – Education guidelines and standards
  • Schedule F – Approved training programs
  • Schedule G – Application process
  • Appendix A – Success With Horses
  • Appendix B – Approved nutrition courses

Schedule A – Definitions


Practitioner means Hoof Care Professional (trimmer) that is a member of the Association.
Client means the owner and/or guardian of said Animal
Animal means equus: (equine) horse, pony, mini, donkey, draft, and /or mule
Treatment means hoof care trim
Assessment means professional evaluation of the state of the hooves
Hoof care plan means the management plan, including trim, diet and movement that will be implemented by the member that will be communicated to the client upon completion of the initial assessment.

Barefoot practitioner definitions: (elaboration)

A Barefoot Practitioner is a hoof care professional registered as a Canadian Equine Hoof Care Association member.

A Barefoot Practitioner is trained in functional hoof care trimming methods. Practitioners strive to encourage maximum soft tissue development by demonstrating functional trimming methodologies to achieve optimal health and barefoot soundness in the hoof. Various hoof protection tools and methods, as well as metal free alternatives, are implemented to achieve optimal hoof function and soundness for the wellbeing of the equine.

The barefoot trimming system is based on an effective model which takes a complex structure (the equine foot) and engages all of the external structures (Hoof Wall, Frog, Bars & Sole), maximizing hoof function and hoof mechanism to achieve optimal soundness at rest and in movement.

Schedule B – Code of ethics

CEHCA certified member responsibilities

CEHCA practitioners are committed to act with integrity and to practice in a safe, competent, accountable, and responsible manner during the provision of services. Practitioners recognize their responsibility to society and strive for excellence in their professional activities.

(i) Responsibility to the client and patient:

  1. Practitioners shall consider the well-being of the Animal as their primary concern, while respecting the client’s wishes and values. Do no harm.
  2. Practitioners must communicate openly, honestly and respectfully with their client at all times.
  3. Practitioners must respect the client’s rights to be informed about the effects of Hoof Care Plan and any other inherent risks.
  4. Practitioners shall provide thorough information to facilitate the Clients understanding of the Animal’s condition and proposed Hoof Care Plan to enable the Client to make informed decisions regarding the plan.
  5. Practitioners must give clients the opportunity to consent or decline treatment or alterations to the Animal’s treatment program.
  6. Practitioners must know their scope of practice and recognize their limitations. Practitioners shall request consultation with/or refer the Animal and client to their Veterinarian or other allied animal health care professional when, in the opinion of the Practitioner, such action is in the best interest of the Animal.
  7. Practitioners must not work with the Animal when the Veterinary diagnosis or clinical condition indicates that the commencement or continuation of the Hoof Care Plan is contra-indicated or unnecessary.
  8. Practitioners must respect the confidentiality, privacy, and security of all Clients information. Such information shall not be communicated to any person without the consent of the client or delegate except where required by law.
  9. Practitioners shall assume full responsibility for all the care they provide or delegate to personnel under their supervision (ie. student or apprentice).
  10. Practitioners must maintain records in accordance with professional standards.

(ii) Responsibility to society:

  1. Practitioners must comply with all the laws and regulations pertaining to all aspects of the practice.
  2. Practitioners must not misrepresent their credentials, as recognized by their respective professional associations.
  3. Practitioners must maintain utmost integrity with respect to business practice standards and not compromise professional judgment and integrity with motives of profit and personal advancement.
  4. Practitioners are professionally and morally responsible to report incompetent, unsafe, illegal, or unethical practice by any animal health care provider, to the Registry.

(iii) Responsibility to the profession:

  1. Practitioners must be aware of the provisions outlined in the Canadian Equine Hoof Care Association, and adhere to the Bylaws and Standards of Practice established by CEHCA.
  2. Practitioners shall commit to continued education and excellence in their practice.
  3. Practitioners must commit to maintaining and enhancing the reputation and standing of their profession and must conduct themselves in a manner as to inspire public trust and merit the respect of society for the profession and its registrants.

The CEHCA has three recognized membership titles:

  • Barefoot Practitioner – a member who successfully completed their approved schooling program and final written and practical examination, has met the minimum standard for the practice. There are several endorsements a Practitioner can achieve over the years of practice. A Barefoot Practitioner has voting rights in affairs of the association.
  • Barefoot Trimmer Educator – a member who has successfully completed their initial schooling program and final written and practical examination, has perused continuing education and training, and has been practicing professionally for at least 10 years.
    Barefoot Practitioner Educators have education and understanding in equine biomechanics, dentistry, body work, Animal husbandry and have been peer reviewed to achieve this level.
    A Barefoot Practitioner Educator has voting rights in affairs of the association.
  • Barefoot Student/Apprentice – a member who is enrolled in a approved schooling program and has not yet completed the final written and practical examination.
    A Student/Apprentice must work under supervision from a Barefoot Practitioner Educator. A Student/Apprentice does not have voting rights in affairs of the association.

Schedule C – Scope of practice

  1. CEHCA Barefoot Practitioner Practitioners are qualified to assess the health of equine movement, diet, lifestyle and hooves.
  2. CEHCA Barefoot Practitioner Practitioners complete a trim which replicates natural wear of a hoof that covers distance and respects the anatomical evolution of the equine foot: beveled walls, shared weight distribution between the wall, laminae, sole, bars, frog, without invading live tissue. The practitioner uses the healthy sole as a guideline for Dorsopalmar/Dorsoplantar and Mediolateral balance, as well as striving to achieve Hoof Pastern Axis alignment.
  3. CEHCA Barefoot Practitioner Practitioners are trained in rehabilitating hoof pathologies, including Founder, Laminitis, Navicular, and are expected to recommend rehabilitative and maintenance programs for improving and maintaining hoof and whole Animal health.
  4. CEHCA Barefoot Practitioner Practitioners work closely with Clients and other qualified practitioners (such as Nutritionists, Body Workers and Trainers) to achieve the optimal hoof health for the equines under their care.
  5. CEHCA Barefoot Practitioner Practitioners offer knowledge, education and resources for equine Clients about how nutrition, lifestyle, biomechanics, trimming, and flexible hoof protection influence the health of the hoof. This relationship develops hoof-friendly equine management practices and provides close support and guidance in improving hoof health.
  6. CEHCA Barefoot Practitioner Practitioners who suspect a Animal is affected by any condition, medical or otherwise, beyond the range of his/her training, must advise the Client to consult an appropriate professional, including recommending certified farrier or veterinary advice when required.

Schedule D – Standards of practice

  1. A Members’ first concern is the welfare of the Animal. Treat all Animals humanely by handling the Animals with consideration of their sentient status.
  2. A Member shall not treat any Animal without the knowledge and consent of the Client.
  3. Prepare to trim to their best ability by assuring that the environment is safe and appropriate for the job. Members are advised to discontinue work with a Animal if it is felt that the conditions are unlikely to result in a successful outcome or to put the Member or the Animal at unacceptable risk of injury (for example, the temperament of the Animal or the environment the Animal is kept in).
  4. Members keep the Client informed and involved in their Animal’s hoof care plan and make every reasonable effort to ensure that communication is heard and understood by the Client. Members should accept that their own preference for a certain course of action cannot override the Client’s specific wishes other than on exceptional welfare grounds. It is, however, permissible for the Member to withdraw his/her services in the event of such disagreement. Keeping records in cases of identified pathology (written and/or photos), and in cases of Client absence.
  5. Members leave the Client with written confirmation of advice given (Hoof Care Plan) or provide such as soon as possible after the consultation. Explanations should be given whenever possible in non-technical language and appropriate records kept of advice given.
  6. Members are expected to advise and discuss findings with the Client and recommend possible improvements on care to achieve maximum health of the hoof.
  7. Members provide thorough information to facilitate the Client’s understanding of the Animals condition and proposed treatment plan to enable the client to make informed decisions regarding the plan.
  8. Members make accurate assessments of hoof balance and hoof distortions prior to trimming the foot. Decisions about trimming procedures will provide a safe, balanced foundation for each Animal that meets their needs for support, protection and leverage reduction. Informing Clients of imbalances in the Animal’s body that can be detected through the hooves, which may require further treatment (body work, veterinarian, saddle fit, etc). Members discuss nutrition and lifestyle of the Animals with the Clients to achieve optimal hoof care.
  9. Members must give a Client at least one trim cycle notice before withdrawing their services, where possible helping the Client to find another suitable practitioner. Members should accept that a Client has the right to transfer to another hoof care professional. Where this happens, the Member would cooperate with the Client and the new hoof care professional to ensure as far as possible an efficient and prompt handover.
  10. Members where possible, make proper arrangements for the provision of emergency cover in their absence. Such cover should be provided by another Full Member.
  11. Members make all reasonable efforts to be punctual when visiting Clients. Where an appointment must be cancelled, the Member should make every effort to give the Client as much notice as possible and make alternative arrangements.
  12. Members give Clients their undivided attention and make sufficient time available to deal properly with their needs. If this is not possible for any reason, a second Assessment at a timely interval should be arranged. It is essential that Members listen to their Clients and respect their views and values.
  13. Members provide Clients with their contact details and respond to any inquiries within a reasonable time.
  14. Members have the right to refuse a Client without giving a reason.
  15. Members must never allow their care of Animals or their dealings with Clients, other members or members of the public to be prejudiced by their views. This includes views about Client’s gender, ethnicity, disability, culture, beliefs, sexuality, lifestyle, age, social status, language difficulties or any other characteristic.
  16. Members must take every reasonable step to ensure that anyone assisting them at their place of work is competent to carry out the duties delegated to them, aware of their responsibilities, professionally trained and supervised where necessary.
  17. Members must not practice when under the influence of alcohol or any other judgment-impairing drug or substance.
  18. If a Member visits a Client whose Animal has a known communicable disease, that Member should take all reasonable steps to avoid transmission of that disease to other Animals in their care. Veterinary advice should be sought where necessary.
  19. Members must not disclose confidential records or Client information without that Client’s consent (either written or verbal), unless compelled to do so by order of the court or other legal authority, or in the public interest. Use of images or case studies of the Animal and or hooves for the members’ use either private or shared publicly is permitted, given the Client’s identity is not connected.
  20. If a concern about welfare is potentially life threatening and the Client does not take a Member’s advice, a relevant Animal welfare organization and the responsible Veterinarian (if known) must be informed.
  21. When asked to examine a Animal that is the subject of a claim, and when writing reports, forms etc. for a third party, the Member should ensure that statements of fact are clearly differentiated from opinions. Comments should be confined to what is apparent at the time of inspection and where the Member is professionally competent. Members must take reasonable steps to verify the information they provide and not seek to mislead by omitting relevant information.

Schedule E – Education guidelines and standards

Practitioners have excellent understanding in anatomy, function and pathology of the hoof.

Practitioners provide proof of:

  • A written test to prove a high level of theoretical knowledge
  • A minimum of 200 hours of instructional practical trimming education
  • A minimum of 5 full dissection days
  • Certificate of completion in a nutrition program – see Appendix B
  • Certificate of completion from an approved trimming order to meet the minimum standard requirement for membership:
  • Practitioners have a thorough understanding of the internal and external structures of the hoof, limb, and how they interact to be able to trim the hoof to the guidelines of the internal structures of the hoof capsule in theory as well as in practice.

Practitioner will have knowledge and training in the use of hoof boots or other metal-free hoof protection and/or support and how to measure/fit/apply for therapeutic recovery.

Application of alternative hoof protection requires additional approved training.

Barefoot trimming practitioners must have education in the following:

  • Contraindication in practice as it relates to Barefoot Trimming
  • Hoof anatomy, form and function
  • How lifestyle and living condition affects hooves
  • Importance of the natural equine diet to the health of the hoof
  • Reading hay analyses
  • Knowledge in reading radiographs
  • Subclinical (mild), chronic and acute Pathologies: White Line Disease (WLD) Laminitis, Founder, Navicular, caudal hoof failure, abscesses and more.

An accredited school curriculum must meet these minimum standards:

  • 200 hours of hands-on trimming guided by an instructor
  • 5 days of dissection

50% of the curriculum will be dedicated to hoof pathologies and other hoof related issues; (EMS, IR, Laminitis, Founder, caudal heel pain (Navicular), WLD, Thrush, Canker, DSLD and more). The curriculum will encompass recognizing, treating and rehabbing these pathologies, as well as understanding when another equine professional must come into the picture ie. certified farrier or veterinarian.

The curriculum will handle information and knowledge as well in: anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, nutrition, nutrition, radiographical reading of the distal limb, and understanding movement.

Continuing education

Practitioners engage in hoof related continuing education, in person or online, and are required to submit documentation of completion of at least 40 hours every 2 years.

Schedule F – Approved training programs

Approved teaching schools in Canada that provide education that meets the standards of education specified by the CEHCA.

In Canada

Success with Horses (see appendix A below)
Spirit Stone Ranch, Cochrane Alberta
Equine facility, teaching Natural Performance Hoof Care, Rehabilitation and Foundation Animal husbandry. Success With Horses strives to educate people on the benefits of natural horse keeping, training and hoof care.

Birgitta Wilkinson/Connie Challice / Natural Performance Hoof Care Specialists (NPHCS)


Hoof Geeks
Lockport, Manitoba
Francine Labossière/Christine Johnston

Hoof Help Canada
Hoof Health Online Level 1

Sister associations

Progressive Hoof Care Practitioners, / Certification and training, worldwide

Application of alternative hoof protection

Requires additional approved training – Practitioners will contact Success With Horses school for further education on the matter.
In development -there will be a course on the subject offered by the WCFA.

Schedule G – Application process

Each new member must provide upon applying the following requirements:

Proof of completion from their approved school(s) and/or sister associations.
in the lack of the above, a practitioner will provide proof of 200 hours of practical trimming hours with a mentor, submit a video of themselves trimming, case studies, and a written exam to show proof of theoretical knowledge.

Video – Two videos that must not be edited, presenting two trim cycles of the same horse. In the video, the practitioner will share their thoughts out loud on what they are noticing about the hooves, how they would like to trim them, then demonstrate the trim and explain their process verbally sharing any findings/concerns with the client.

Case studies – 5 case studies, 3 of which are pathological (rehab). In each case study the practitioner will have to present photos (guide attached) and a written explanation of the trim process. Each case study will encompass 5 months of trim cycles.

Written exam – The exam will be taken written or orally in a provided location. During the exam, practitioners will be tested on their knowledge of anatomy, terminology, biomechanics, diet, husbandry and other subjects that affect hoof care and health.

Student members – Must provide proof of school enrollment.

Appendix A –  Success with Horses

Natural performance hoof care apprenticeship program

To increase the standard of care in the hoof care community, we have created Western Canada’s only standardized training program. Through two years of training, you will be guided through the complex field of equine hoof health. Several mentors will be included in this learning process giving you, the student, a well-rounded education.

Connie and Birgitta believe in creating a very strong TEAM environment, consisting of not only Hoof Care Professionals, but equine therapists and veterinarians.

The prerequisite to our Apprenticeship Program is the three-day Intro to Hoof Care Workshop.


Apprenticeship program includes:

  • Six (6) full days of shadowing two different mentors
  • Four (4) mandatory week long Apprenticeship Modules (one week long module every six months)
  • Trimming horses, donkeys, draft horses, mules
  • Dissection/anatomy
  • Reviewing case studies
  • Discussing business/ insurance
  • Safe horse handling/basic horsemanship
  • Importance of diet and lifestyle
  • How to educate clients
  • Advanced trimming for founder/navicular
  • Recognizing diseases of the founder, acute laminitis vs subclinical laminitis, navicular, contraction, abscesses, quittor, white line disease (white line disease), etc
  • Radiograph review
  • Advanced dissection/anatomy component

*All scheduled horse owner trim clinics (attendance is optional).

*After passing a trimming evaluation (setup and maintenance trims) and recognizing pathology, the apprentice will be allowed to take on clients with healthy normal hooves. We will provide support in trimming any pathological hooves at this time.

If the apprentice wishes to accept clients, Success With Horses provides the following:

  • Onsite consults 5/year
  • Support via email and texting pictures, and access to professional support (veterinarians/body workers/dentists/hoof care professionals)
  • Updates on ongoing research/breakthroughs in the hoof care industry/community
  • Listed on Success With Horses website as Student Professional (SP)
  • Students complete a midterm written exam as well as a final written exam. A glossary of terms will be provided, as well as a recommended reading resource list. Students must produce 5 case studies (3 normal, 2 rehab) with photos. The case studies will be over a two-year period and must be presented as a powerpoint presentation.

Electives – Extra courses (must complete 2 for certification):

  • Basics of Reading X-rays by Dr. Kellon
  • Foundation Horsemanship/Building Leadership Clinic by Birgitta Wilkinson of Success With Horses
  • Gait Analysis Clinic with Rachel Gedalyia
  • Empower the Owner Clinic with Tralauney Thomas of Equinox Health.This clinic is essential for hoof care practitioners to recognize lameness issues ABOVE the foot, and to know when to refer to a professional body worker.

Certification is granted when mentors pass the trainees work, and the trainee has achieved 80% or greater on the final written exam and case studies are completed and presented to the satisfaction of the mentors. At this time the Student Practitioner will be listed as a Professional, and will have earned the Certification of Natural Performance Hoof Care Professional (NPHCP).


Every year our team members are required to book a day with either Birgitta or Connie to review and evaluate their trimming to help answer any question they have regarding hoof care which may have evolved.

Appendix B –  Approved nutrition courses

University of Guelph OpenEd – 220006 Equine Nutrition

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Assess and analyze Animals and their environment with regards to nutrition, feeds and feeding practices;
  2. Assess safe ranges of essential nutrient intake;
  3. Develop strategies for adjustment of rations to optimize the health and welfare of the Animal;
  4. Discuss equine feeding practices and their impact on the prevention of nutritional diseases;
  5. Identify locally important harmful plants and agents and discuss strategies to safely control them in the environment;
  6. Discuss and reflect upon how general nutrition and feeding practices apply to your community; and
  7. Effectively communicate your assessment of the Animal and ration design to relevant professionals such as your veterinarian or nutritionist.

Course topics

  • Assessing Your Animal
  • Digestive Function and Nutrient Requirements
  • Forages and Pasture Management
  • Concentrates
  • Supplements (Vitamins and Macro/Micro Minerals)
  • Practice Ration Balancing
  • Performance Animals
  • Broodmares and Stallions
  • The Growing Foal
  • Special Needs Animals (Senior, Obese and Hard Keepers)
  • Toxic Plants
  • Nutrition Related Conditions

Additional requirements

  • This course is intended for adult learners who are at least 18 years of age.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.
  • You may take this as an individual course or choose to complete one of our equine certificates or the diploma.*
  • You do not need access to a Animal to participate and be successful in this course.
  • You can expect to spend 6-10 hours per week to complete the course material, discussions and assignments.

Online learning at the University of Edinburgh

Study for a degree or short course online with the University of Edinburgh, from wherever you are in the world.
Course Link

Equine Nutritional Solutions

NRC plus course outline by Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD, of Equine Nutritional Solutions, Robesonia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Kellon is an authority in the field of equine nutrition as well as conditions affecting performance animals.

  • Week One – Physiology of Digestion and Nutrient Utilization I. The digestive tract II. Active and passive absorption of minerals III. Absorption and metabolism of fats IV. Absorption and metabolism of protein V. Absorption and metabolism of carbohydrates VI. Vitamins
  • Week Two – Tools for Determining Intake I. Soil analysis II. Hair analysis III. Blood and tissue analysis IV. Diet analysis
  • Week Three – Energy Sources, Energy Requirements I. Carbohydrates, fats and protein as calories; role of the B vitamins II. Requirements for growth III. Requirements for pregnancy and lactation IV. Requirements for adult maintenance V. Fine tuning
  • Week Four – Protein Requirements I. Crude protein vs digestible protein II. Amino acid requirements III. Requirements for growth IV. Requirements for pregnancy and lactation V. Requirements for adult maintenance and exercise VI. Conditions requiring special protein considerations
  • Week Five – Understanding Electrolytes and Hydration I. Definition of electrolytes II. Sodium and the Physiology of Water Balance III. Potassium IV. Chloride V. Bicarbonate VI – Balancing to
    sweat losses
  • Week Six – The Major Minerals I. Beyond NRC II. Calcium III. Magnesium IV. Phosphorus V. Sulfur
  • Week Seven – The Trace Minerals I. Copper II. Zinc III. Manganese IV. Selenium V. Iodine VI. Other
  • Week Eight – Building a Diet I. Determine energy requirements II. Selecting appropriate energy sources III. Calculating minerals IV. Balancing minerals V. Vitamins VI. Food versus supplement sources
  • Week Nine – The Exercising Animal – Basics I. Matching energy sources to need II. Protein considerations III. Minerals and electrolytes IV. Vitamins
  • Week Ten – Hands On I. Sample insulin resistance diet II. Sample pregnancy/lactation/weanling diet III. Endurance

Course Link

Healing Horses Their Way by Elisha Edwards

  • The Holistic horse
  • Basic Anatomy and Physiology
  • How to Feed the Natural Horse for Optimum Health
  • Therapeutic Nutrition for Optimum Health
  • Understanding Herbal Medicines
  • Effective Home3opathic Remedies
  • The Healthy hoof
  • Toxicity & Pathogens
  • Natural Programs for Horse health Conditions

Course Link