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Step 3

Step 3 – Beginning Studies

Beginning students will learn tool selection, use, and maintenance, how to ‘read’ the hoof, basic trims on live horses, safe horse handling skills and dealing with common behavior problems, how to identify common hoof problems, and how to recognize the effects of diet and lifestyle on the hoof.

To prepare for the beginning studies students are expected to study the PHCP Introduction to Hoof Anatomy and PHCP Introduction to Equine Diet and Lifestyle.

To help you with your tool selection, when you are ready to purchase them, check out PHCP Tools and Maintenance. 


A minimum of three mentorships, one or two days each, with three different PHCP Mentors are required.

Students will choose and contact the Mentor directly to schedule their mentorships as needed. Mentors have very busy schedules with their full time businesses so please give them time to reply. Mentors have certain horses they like to teach on, as students will be trimming, so plan on scheduling these mentorships well in advance.

Please read Making the Most of Your Mentorship before scheduling your mentorship.

Mentorships cost $175 per day with $75 subsidized by PHCP.  Students will pay the remaining $100/day fee directly to the mentor. PHCP offers these subsidies for one or two day mentorships. Students doing a three day mentorship are responsible for the full $175 on the third day.

We recommend that beginners with limited trimming experience schedule two day mentorships when possible. It takes time to build strength and efficiency trimming. Multi-day mentorships will give beginners more opportunity to trim and learn at a slower pace.

Each mentor will fill out a Mentorship Evaluation form at the end of the mentorship. This will be added to the student’s file and they will receive a copy as well.

The final mentor at the beginning level will determine the students readiness to advance to the intermediate level. Students may be asked to do another mentorship, to work on the skills needed to progress.

Before moving to the intermediate level, the student should be able to handle their tools efficiently, but may take extra time with the trim. They should be able to perform a simple maintenance trim and consider the whole horse in their decisions.

You may schedule one or two of your step 3 beginning mentorships before attending a beginning clinic.

Beginning clinic

The beginning clinic is a three day clinic which covers the basics of distal limb anatomy, trimming on cadavers, dissection, shoe removal, transitioning to barefoot, hoof protection options and more.

Visit the calendar to view dates for upcoming clinics and to register.

There will be an entrance exam to step 4 Intermediate Studies on material covered in the Beginning Studies.

Print out this handy Training program tracking worksheet to track your progress.