Trimming Cattle Hooves Made This Scotsman a Millionaire Superstar (2024)

Trimming Cattle Hooves Made This Scotsman a Millionaire Superstar (1)

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Graeme Parker charges around $13 to trim a cow’s hooves. “We trim about 150 cows every week,” he says.

That would add up to almost $2,000 a week, or about $100,000 a year.

But Graeme Parker is a millionaire.

Not because he’s made a ton of dough going from farm to farm in South West Scotland, but because Graeme started making videos of his work and putting them on YouTube.

Trimming Cattle Hooves Made This Scotsman a Millionaire Superstar (2)

The Hoof GP

The videos are both disgusting and mesmerizing.

Graeme’s YouTube Channel, The Hoof GP (for his initials), has over 1 million subscribers. There are nearly a half million more on Facebook. Fans regularly watch him shave off parts of a hoof to uncover something gross (and often painful) buried deep inside. One 7-1/2 minute video of Graeme removing a nail from a bull’s hoof has over 17 million views.

Seventeen. Million. Views.

“I think people relate to that,” Graeme tells me over Zoom from his home in Scotland. “We all know the relief and the sense of satisfaction when you remove a splinter.”

How did this happen???

I found out about Graeme when a friend told me The Hoof GP showed up while he was doing some “quick research.” I didn’t ask what possible research could lead to videos of pus-filled hooves because, well, I didn’t care! I had to find Graeme and interview him.

It’s an astounding hooves-to-riches story. For a 39-year-old man who is clearly happy, parts of Graeme’s childhood were more like the dark side of a Dickens novel.

“My father tried to shoot my mother,” he tells me. Then, when Graeme was 15, his father was found dead in a stream. Graeme’s paternal grandmother eventually sold the family farm, booting out Graeme, his mother, and his four brothers and sisters. He says they were left with nothing.

It’s a long story. There’s a book coming out.

Graeme eventually went to college and studied hospitality. “I loved it,” he says. He was managing a pub at age 18, and he rose through the ranks to eventually manage a fine dining hotel on the banks of Loch Ness.

By then his mother had remarried, and her new husband was a cattle hoof trimmer. The stepfather became ill, and Graeme decided to go home for a bit to help out on the farm.

“I loved being home,” Graeme says. He realized that the place he couldn’t wait to get away from as a child was absolutely beautiful. “It’s kind of like an island,” he says of that part of South West Scotland along the coast. “I’m surrounded on three sides by water, and to the north, there are big banks of mountains and hills.”

Graeme decided to stay.

He started branding cows. “Anybody can do that pretty much,” he says. “All you’re doing is branding a number on a cow’s bum.” He wanted something more satisfying, so he learned how to trim hooves. (Folks, I didn’t even know this was a thing.)

He discovered that he really enjoyed it. “You could see instant results. You could take a cow in that was fairly lame, and she could leave the chute or the crush looking completely different.”

When his stepfather recovered and returned to work, Graeme continued trimming hooves, building his business across South West Scotland. He started winning national awards for hoof trimming innovations.

Farmers were always asking Graeme for advice, so he got an idea. “Well, I’ll just start a YouTube channel.”

Here’s one of his earliest videos:

Graeme intended the videos for farmers, not the general public.

“If a cow gets lame, then she is now infinitely more likely to become lame again, because biological changes happen inside,” he says. He believes if farmers are proactive about trimming, spending about $30 a year per animal, they can save themselves money in the long run. It’s also better for the cow.

(Convincing farmers to spend money proactively is no small task in Scotland. The Scottish are notoriously, ahem, frugal. Graeme tells me an old joke: “You heard about the Scotsman who dropped a penny and it hit him on the back of the head as he bent down to pick it up?”... Er, that’s because the Scotsman reached for the penny more quickly than it could fall.)

Graeme Parker officially launched his YouTube channel in 2019.

Then came Covid.

Everybody went home and went online. “Joe Public started watching these videos and saying, ‘Oh, look, they’re caring for these cows.’”

He began telling the stories of individual cows, like Cow 812. “She looked horrific,” Graeme says. “They were gonna shoot her, they were going to euthanize her to take her off the farm, and I said, ‘No, we can fix this, guys. It’s not as bad as it seems.’”

He videotaped her progress as he began working on her hooves. It worked. “She’s doing great.”

As of this writing, The Hoof GP has 1.1 million subscribers, and almost half of them are in the United States. Graeme Parker now has sponsors, plus money from YouTube, and while he won’t reveal specifics, Graeme says he’s making at least ten times more from those revenue streams than from trimming hooves. “It’s completely changed my life.” He goes into more detail here:

His hospitality background, plus a photography class he took in college, have come in handy. Graeme shoots and edits all the videos himself, including the drone work. (Saves money! #Scottish) He often highlights his wife and young sons, and he‘s hired his brother-in-law Craig Botwood, aka “Craigie Boy,” to be an assistant. Craig recently started his own YouTube channel that goes behind the scenes of The Hoof GP.

Here’s one of Craigie Boy’s videos:

Not every hoof ends up healed; not every animal can be saved. “I think it’s really important to show that as well,” Graeme says. But he’s happy he can also show that most farmers are compassionate. “These farmers actually do care about the cows,” he says. Some even name their animals.

Graeme recognizes it’s not always that way. “I’m not going to go on video and tell the world about these horrific farms, which there are.” Instead, he hopes the videos will teach those “horrific” farmers better practices “so they can improve their businesses, which will improve the herd’s status.”

As I mentioned at the top, a book is coming out soon about Graeme’s life, a life filled with high drama in the Scottish lowlands. Beyond his volatile childhood, Graeme reveals he has a teenage daughter from a previous relationship whom he hasn’t spoken to for three years. He hopes that changes someday. “She’s a huge part of me.” Every month he uploads a video to her on a separate YouTube channel, hoping she’ll watch.

On a lighter note, The Hoof GP will be featured in an local reality TV show about farmers. Graeme says he’s also talking to producers in Los Angeles about a documentary. He’s selling merch, and he launched an online hoof trimming course. He was shocked when 600 people signed up for it from around the globe. “We’ve really broadened this knowledge.”

This month alone, Graeme’s videos have been seen 38 million times. He wants to keep earning money off YouTube and sponsorships to build a nice nest egg for his family. He hopes to regain the financial stability his family lost when his father died. But he insists that no matter what, he will always trim hooves… though he may graduate to part-time instructor.

“It sounds like BS, and everybody says these things, but I literally learn something new every day,” he says. “The cows are always teaching me.”

How do the cows feel about it? “They don’t want to be anywhere near me,” he laughs. “They don’t associate me with feeling more comfortable, they don’t associate me with curing them.”

In case you missed previous stories about unusual entrepreneurs, learn about a new form of cremation called “Aquamation" here, or how much “The Soup Nazi” made on ”Seinfeld,” or meet the millionaire who built a magical village in Tennessee. As always, please leave a comment. I mean, come on, hoof trimming? I’m in the wrong business!

Trimming Cattle Hooves Made This Scotsman a Millionaire Superstar (2024)


How much money does a cow hoof trimmer make? ›

As of Apr 10, 2024, the average hourly pay for a Hoof Trimmer in California is $14.41 an hour. While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $20.64 and as low as $8.07, the majority of Hoof Trimmer salaries currently range between $14.23 (25th percentile) to $17.07 (75th percentile) in California.

What do you call someone who trims cow's hooves? ›

Though a professional farrier should have all the necessary equipment to safely restrain and trim cow hooves, it's ideal to invest in a cow chute for all of your cow care needs.

How much do hoof trimmers charge per cow? ›

The mean (±SD) rate charged by hoof trimmers was $12.55 ± 2.38/cow (n = 113).

Do you need a degree to be a hoof trimmer? ›

While a qualification course may not be mandatory for personal hoof care, it is highly recommended. Engaging an expert is crucial if your horse has underlying hoof conditions or if you lack confidence or expertise in hoof trimming.

How much does a hoof trim cost? ›

To trim a horse, full-time farriers charged an average of $43.13, while part-timers averaged $37.22. A couple of things to keep in mind about the people who subscribe to The American Farriers Journal i.e. participated in this survey: They're farriers, not hoof trimmers.

Can cows feel their hooves being trimmed? ›

One of the most common questions I get is, "Does this process hurt the cow?" And trimming hooves is just like us trimming our fingernails. There's no pain in the nail whatsoever, no pain in the hoof.

How often do cows need their hooves trimmed? ›

One of the areas of importance is regular hoof trimming. Most cows should be trimmed at least twice a year. The first thing you must do is select a hoof trimmer. There are many ways to do this, but one of the best is word of mouth.

How do you become a professional cattle hoof trimmer? ›

The Professional Foot Trimming course is NACFT recognised and LANTRA approved. This 4-day course is a recognised route to becoming a fully licensed Professional Foot Trimmer Category 1 Foot Trimmer. It is highly sought after within the farming and veterinary industries alike.

What are the disadvantages of hoof trimming? ›

1. Poor trimming procedure can potentially lead to lameness. 2. Excessive removal of the outer wall of the hoof which can result in white line disease.

Is the hoof GP Irish or Scottish? ›

Who Is The Hoof GP? Graeme Parker is a full time, professional cattle hoof trimmer, living and working in South West Scotland.

Who is the hoof lady? ›

In Kanien'kehá:ka folklore, the Hoof Lady is said to be a beautiful woman with hooves hiding under her long dress. Some say she's a seductress to lure men with bad intentions, while others say she's a cautionary tale for misbehaving youth.

How deep is a cows hoof? ›

The normal hoof should be 3 inches long from the coronary band (the junction between skin and hoof) to the toe tip. The sole wall should be 0.25 inches thick.

Do cow hooves grow back? ›

As a general rule, equine hooves grow about ¼ to 3/8 of an inch per month, and bovine hooves grow about 1/5 to ¼ of an inch of new growth every month. Any hoof overgrowth can cause discomfort to the animal.

How deep can you trim a cows hoof? ›

Trim bottom of foot to 1/4″ thickness, focusing on trimming the wall in the toe region. Ensure 3″ of weight bearing surface. Avoid trimming the medial heel and keep the bottom of the foot flat.

How long does it take to become a hoof trimmer? ›

Its purpose is to train individuals in basic as well as advanced foot care and claw trimming procedures. Part I of this course is accomplished by attending the course. Part II is completed over a 3-6 month period either at home or one's place of work where the techniques learned in Part I are applied and practiced.

What is the difference between a farrier and a hoof trimmer? ›

Farriers shoe horses. They also trim horses, either before the shoe is nailed on or because the horse is barefoot. Barefoot trimmers trim horses, but some also shoe or apply glue on shoes/shells.

Do farmers trim cow hooves? ›

Hoof trimming plays a large role in the prevention of lameness in dairy cattle. The importance of preventing lameness is not only pertinent to the welfare of the cow, but it has economic implications as well.

Is hoof trimming good for cows? ›

Routine hoof trimming is a common practice to prevent lameness in cattle.

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