what age should a horse first see a farrier?
 
 

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what age should a horse first see a farrier?

This is a discussion on what age should a horse first see a farrier? within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • What age should a horse horse be seen by a farrier
  • Should your horse see a farrier every 3 months

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    09-20-2013, 10:49 PM
  #1
Foal
what age should a horse first see a farrier?

My colt is about 6 months old got him from friend who got him at auction. Has a hoof that is starting to split and has some jagged edges on the others not sure if I should have a farrier see him is he too young for shoes? We are just now able to really mess with his legs only had him for a week.
     
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    09-20-2013, 10:54 PM
  #2
Showing
Too young for shoes by a long shot. But should definitely start seeing the farrier and getting into a routine. Shoes don't go on till the horse is being ridden and worked regularly.
No hoof, no horse. Get your colt on a good regular trimming routine now to ensure his legs grow straight too.
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    09-21-2013, 08:44 AM
  #3
Yearling
Baby horses living n a domestic environment (anything other than a huge pasture 24/7) should have a farrier visit at any time from one to two weeks of age. It has nothing to do with chipping or breaking. Foals are born with excess heel that is turned inward a bit to help protect the mare at birth from injury inside. The foal foot is very soft and nature would wear off the excess heel and round off the pointed toe after the first hours of birth in the wild . But in stabling environments those heels simply dry and contract and the toe is left long and pointed and sets the foot off to a bad start right off the bat. As well any conformational defects in the leg can ONLY be helped via changing a foot in the first weeks of birth, not months later.

So to answer your question, it is long past time to see the farrier.
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    09-21-2013, 10:16 AM
  #4
Weanling
My foal is just 6 months old. Mum has her hooves trimmed every 6 weeks (she's barefoot) and the farrier has kept an eye on Teddy since he was born and started to trim him about 6 weeks ago.
He's had a 2nd trim today and will continue now with Foxy every 6 weeks. He's pretty good about standing but not too keen on his back legs being lifted so we practice a lot and do a lot of hoof picking so its not too wierd for him.
I'd say the sooner the better and make sure you put in a bit of groundwork first so it's not quite so strange. I'd avoid shoes if you can (my personal opinion) and stay barefoot.
And piccies needed please :)
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    09-22-2013, 03:31 AM
  #5
Trained
Yes absolutely way overdue for a farrier at 6 months old. It's your job to train him though, not the farrier's, and it can also be VERY bad to force a baby, - those soft, 'green' bones are easily bent & damaged. Yes, absolutely way too young for shoes - I would not shoe an immature horse - below about 6yo - unless for orthopedic reasons.
     
    09-22-2013, 06:41 AM
  #6
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie    
It's your job to train him though, not the farrier's, ...
Yes. Do yourself and your farrier a favor by seriously working on this. I've seen a lot of folks with young ones that really slack off with practice when the babies will let you just lift/handle their feet. There is a big difference between that (and even quickly picking out the hoof) and getting them to feel confident enough to hold their foot up for even a minute while you are working on them, especially in the front where the weight is concentrated.
In my experience, two things are very valuable getting them ready for real hoof work.
1) Just 10 minutes of practice, every other day, increasing the 'hold up' time and taking a few strokes with the smooth side of an old rasp. Restrict their movement as much as possible and support their leg and body as much as necessary. They'll stop moving around and leaning on you as they become more confident balancing on three legs.
2) Having them watch while mom or other horses are being trimmed. You sometimes have to shoo them out of the way a bit, but the urge to emulate/imitate mom's (hopefully) good behavior is very powerful.
     
    09-22-2013, 04:15 PM
  #7
Foal
Thanks for all the advice. Iwish they would have gotten the mom at auction it would have made things much easier. I took him from a friends kid who decided he did not want the colt and was going to send him back through the auction. I keep him in a large corral for now until he is more socialized with people. The mom was taken from him at auction apparently before weaning him well. I have been able to care for his left front leg that has a gash on it from the sale barn. He is still pretty skiddish about letting me mess with his hind legs though. I will be making an appointment with a farrier for this week. My husband and I have been working with him daily. We will start working more on the leg lifting though thanks for the tips on doing that.
     
    09-22-2013, 04:37 PM
  #8
Weanling
One thing that we do too (farriers advice for a foal who's not used to standing on 3 legs) is stand him near to the side of the stable - when he first had his hooves done, he hopped about a bit when we lifted his back legs and then found it easier to lean against the side of the stable - he'd actually hopped himself into a corner - this stopped the hopping - although on yesterdays visit, he managed perfectly without the support. He watches Foxy get her hooves done - we stand him in a headcollar and leadrope and it gives him a bit of practice having to stand quietly too - which he's getting the hang of now but i'd definitely say that a lot of messing with hooves,feet and legs at first will lesson the shock of a farriers visit - I had my hubby and son pick up his feet also - as the farriers male - and now he'll happily stand and lift.
     
    09-22-2013, 07:34 PM
  #9
Trained
Just ensure the farrier you get is good at patient handling/ training too & tell him the deal before he comes, so he is prepared for extra time. Also if the horse isnt up to it yet, let him know that you're not expecting him to get the job done - its enough for him to help teach the horse better for the future.
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    09-23-2013, 12:01 PM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie    
Just ensure the farrier you get is good at patient handling/ training too & tell him the deal before he comes, so he is prepared for extra time. Also if the horse isnt up to it yet, let him know that you're not expecting him to get the job done - its enough for him to help teach the horse better for the future.
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Excellent advice. Too many horse owners don't provide any details to the farrier before they arrive...and a good farrier is worth their weight in gold! I let mine know of any issues we have so he can plan the time needed. He rarely goes over his quoted standard rate of $40 per horse for a barefoot trim unless it's an exceptional problem. The pony I recently bought had very badly overgrown feet and my farrier charged an extra $20 to trim up, even though the job took him two and a half times longer than the other horses. He also wormed my mare last visit as I let him know she is hard to worm - I've tried all kinds of remedies - and he didn't charge me extra. Just worming her took him about 15 minutes...as he works to the horse's limits and tolerances rather than ours. I was very impressed and have learnt a lot by watching how he works with my horses. He's also a natural horse trainer and starter.
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