Mule vs Farrier...Dont know what to do.

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Mule vs Farrier...Dont know what to do.

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  • How to train your mule to like the farrier
  • Shoeing A Mule

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    12-05-2012, 06:13 AM
Mule vs Farrier...Dont know what to do.


So I have a very tiny, nearly mini mule. He was completely untrained with regards to his feet when I got him, and it took a long time for his to trust me, and then for him to stop trying to kick the crap out of me. He is now however, so good at picking up his feet for me, that he doesnt even need to be tied up, or be restrained in any way.

Problem is my farrier... I don't like telling someone what to do, especially when it is their career, and I know nothing about it really, but when he picks up my mule's feet, he does it the 'regular' way, which even he admits is probably uncomfortable or painful for the animal. Because he is so small, and the foot is being lifted so high. So, the mule reacts... violently... every single time. No matter how much I work with him, he is experiencing pain or discomfort, and distrusts the farrier, and will not coo-operate.

I do not blame him in a way.

I do not want to fire my farrier, as he is good in every other way. I just don't think he knows what to do with a small animal like that. How to hold their legs, how to trim them comfortably, etc. He now suggests we sedate him every time. Which I don't think is good or necessary.

Sooooo.... Maybe I can run this past you? I was wondering if perhaps if I took some time to learn the basics, whether I could do the feet myself, and then just have him check them every 5 weeks. I know I would be able to: the mule trusts me, and another farrier, (not in this country) told me of several ways he would trim a small animal, since he does that a lot. And the mule is only a companion, not being worked at all.

Any advice for me? Please help!
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    12-05-2012, 09:55 AM
Green Broke
Personally, id do it myself or find a different farrier for the mule. If the farrier doesnt know how to trim "minis", he isnt a good match for your mule.
It's not too difficult to trim, but id suggest learning from an actual farrier as opposed to just learning online.
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    12-05-2012, 09:57 AM
Originally Posted by Iseul    
It's not too difficult to trim, but id suggest learning from an actual farrier as opposed to just learning online.
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I agree, I'm pretty nervous to try, but it really seems like in the long run, just doing it myself would be a better option.
    12-05-2012, 10:26 AM
Green Broke
I agree. I also suggest learning a bit about the leg and hoof anatomy. I had tests and quizzes on the anatomy before I was asked to do a hoof by myself. I can't deny that I actually learned more about trimming through those tests than I did hands on. At one point, my instructor banned us from working on the horses until we could get a perfect on the diagrams. Good for me, I studied beforehand, lol.
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    12-05-2012, 11:27 AM
Thinking out loud, but perhaps I should find out if there are any part-time courses anywhere, perhaps at the equestrian college.

It can't carry on like this. Its too traumatising for all of us. And everytime, it feels as if my relationship with the mule takes two steps backwards as well.

Thanks for the encouragement... I feel like I now know what is the right thing.
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    12-05-2012, 11:34 AM
Green Broke
Ill say, from what I learned before I dropped out of Meredith Manor, all the part-time, short courses arent worth the mone, at all. From what I learned having 4 hours of farrier work a day for 2 months, I can trim a hoof better than just about any of the farriers around my area that I know that have been doing it for years. I would still suggest a farrier that you know does a good job and see if they'll let you use your own horses when he comes out and have him instruct you during the process. Of course pay him reasonably for the time it takes you (it will take over an hour for each horse at first), but I think you'll save money and stress doing that in the long run.
When I learned, there was only the rare horse that would stand, the rest of them yanked, leaned on you, etc to teach us how to handle it. I can't speak for any other courses, but courses generally prepare you to do it as a business, not just your own that have been trained to stand properly.
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    12-05-2012, 07:53 PM
Would it be possible to put your mini mule up on a table or something that can raise him up? Would that help? If not, I would learn to trim him myself, I think with those little feet, you would only need a rasp.
    12-05-2012, 08:25 PM
IMHO, a farrier should be, first and foremost, willing to do his job in a way that prevents (or at least minimizes) discomfort on the animal's part.

The way my brother does small critters like that is to get down on his knees.

    12-05-2012, 08:26 PM
I did our lil pony. I mean lil like 300 lbs. And it killed my back being so low. An option wod be to train the mule to lay down. I've never do it that way but have heard people who have.
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    12-06-2012, 09:49 PM
I trim quite a few mini horses and donkeys and am 5'8". I kneel like smrobs brother if they are well behaved and squat if they're lively - it keeps the tush firm as a bonus haha. I also have a stand that flips to a low height for top dressing the little guys. It isn't fair to expect them to stand quietly when they are being asked to do something they are simply not physically capable of doing. Get lessons and have your work checked by someone competant or find a more flexible farrier. I normally am not in the "throw the farrier under the bus" crowd but a professional should man up and learn a new method or recommend someone else.
I call the shorties "yoga for farriers"
smrobs likes this.

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