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PHCP Mentor Spotlight – Maia Chaput

Maia is a mentor, clinician, practitioner and is on the PHCP Board of Directors and Education Committee. She has been a PHCP member since 2014. Maia also has her APF-I credential from the International Association of Professional Farriers.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in hoof care

I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, and was around horses from a young age. The family that owned the farm where I grew up riding took me under their wing and made it possible for me to own my first horse through a work exchange. One day, when I was about 14 years old, I remember being really intrigued to see the owner of the barn trimming her horse’s feet. It hadn’t occurred to me before that moment that taking care of my own horse’s feet was a possibility.

It wasn’t until more than a decade later that the idea would come back to me when I moved with that same horse across the country to Quebec. I was looking for a farrier when I came across the website of a trimmer named Catherine Larose, who was also a teacher for the former Canadian Barefoot Horse Association. This was the first time I’d heard that there was such a thing as the “barefoot movement” but the idea resonated with the way I’d learned to keep horses. Catherine lived in my town and quickly became my good friend and first mentor. One of the biggest impressions she made on me was to stay open-minded, learn from as many different people as I could, and to never stop learning. Building a hoof care business was such a great fit for me that I joke that it fell into my lap. It is extremely hard work at times but is equally rewarding.

What is your favorite thing about being part of PHCP

That’s a tough question. I love everything about the organization! My original interest in becoming a member was to network with other professionals and be a part of a bigger community. I was really drawn to the idea of one-on-one mentorships where I could go and geek out with and learn from other professionals. I liked that the organization is a non-profit that subsidizes education for their members to make learning as accessible and affordable as possible. From the very beginning of my journey with PHCP I have always felt support and encouragement in achieving my goals.

What are your interests besides all things hooves

I have a strong love for nature and being outdoors. I live on a small acreage with my boyfriend and our 3 dogs, 2 horses, 10 chickens and 2 goldfish. We are currently building a timber frame off-grid cabin in the northern Charlevoix region of Quebec. My favorite sports are snowboarding, surfing, skateboarding, rock climbing, sailing, golf, and motocross. I’m an artist and a DIY kind of person. I’m passionate about inclusion, human rights and environmental conservation.

Tell us something people may not know about you

In addition to horses, I spent my teens and twenties as a competitive snowboarder. I was a member of the British Columbia provincial team and national development athlete in halfpipe and slopestyle. I have an extensive background as a certified snowboard instructor and a certified coach. I was also certified as a course conductor, where I gained experience with pedagogy through teaching and certifying other instructors. I feel that much of this experience crosses over to the PHCP mentorship role. Although the subject matter is very different, the skills that I previously developed in conveying information to my students still apply.

I went to university but only completed two years of a Bachelor of Science program before switching to and completing a diploma in Graphic Design and Digital Photographic Imaging. I have most recently been learning 3D animation and am currently using this skill set to create teaching materials for my hoof care clinics and future online courses.