Impatient for Farrier - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-08-2011, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Impatient for Farrier

My Thoroughbred gelding is normally super sweet and stands for everything - he's perfect for grooming, tacking, mounting, and bathing (he even lets me spray his face), and I can even crawl under his belly without him moving a muscle. Yet, for some reason, he misbehaves when my barefoot trimmer shows up to trim his feet. He doesn't kick or try to rear or anything horrible like that, but he pulls his feet away. It has gotten to the point that he won't hold still for more than about 30 seconds.

At first I thought he might just be fidgety because he has too much energy, but working him beforehand doesn't seem to do anything to help the matter.

I can think of only a few possible solutions. If I could hang a hay bag for him so that he had something to do while having his feet done, he may be happier (to him, everything is better when hay exists). Or I could try to work in breaks for him; she could work on him for 15 minutes, then let him go back to his stall for a bit, and then work on him some more - although that could end up making him testier. Lastly, I've considered getting a calming paste.

I definitely need a solution, as I think his trims are suffering as a result of this bad behavior.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have!
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-08-2011, 01:03 AM
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Working in breaks is not fair to your farrier unless you plan to pay them double, their time is their money.

I would suggest that you act like you are working on his feet, pull the leg forward like a farrier would, hold the hoof up. Do it every day and do it for a while.

If needed put a wheelbarrow of hay in front of the horse to occupy it while the farrier is there and get them used to it, then reduce the hay and replace with praise.
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-08-2011, 08:09 AM
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When I'm with my BF who is a farrier, I see this so many times. There was a time when I grabbed some hay for him to eat and he was perfect then. Alex, by putting a wheelbarrow in front of the horse could be dangerous as that horse may move forward or it may get in the way of the farrier.

Working with the horse day in and day out just as if the farrier was there will help. Hopefully your farrier is patient enough and understanding enough to help him overcome this. Anvil is very patient. (BF). Talk to your farrier about your concerns before the next trim. It will only help you. Both. Give breaks but just put the foot down for a minute and then back to work.

By putting him back in his stall will only reward him for his behavior. Don't want that. Working him before may make him not like farrier day as it is only more work. Staying calm and reprimanding him when he acts up will also help. Checking him or making him back is my suggestion but communicate this with your farrier. Good luck
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Last edited by mbender; 04-08-2011 at 08:12 AM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-08-2011, 04:54 PM
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Have you figured out what you want to do about this?
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-09-2011, 01:49 AM
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I have a terrible horse when it comes to the farrier she does the same thing. Me and the farrier try and battle with it but its gets a little frustrating. I know this may sound a little mean but it does work ( for mine anyway) tie one of their back legs up and let them go for a while, have a cuppa or something, afterwards they will be knocked up and stand there for the farrier this is a nicer way considered to a lip twitch or a flogging
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-09-2011, 03:12 AM
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I had a very similar problem with my horse, Major. Now with him, a big issue was fear, so it probably won't take you as long as it did me.

I put Major on a lunge line and took him in the arena (a place big enough to make your horse move if you need to). I picked up his front foot, held it up for a couple of seconds (just before I thought he'd try and take it back...you may be able to hold your horses foot longer). When he did not try and take it back and I was the one that put it down, I rewarded him. In my case it was a treat, but if you don't use treats, I'm sure a pet will work just fine. If he pulled it back, I made him move his feet and lunged him a few circles. He figured out right quick that it is much easier to stand there patiently until I am ready to put his foot back down. I practiced this regularly with each of his feet until I was sure that he would behave for the farrier.

I eventually added picking out his feet, then tapping, then hammering. It was a bit of a slow process for me, but I think you will be able to go faster.

I once had a farrier quit 1/2 way through the job because of the way Major was acting. I made up my mind then and there that I would never let that happen again. He now stands like a gentleman for the farrier. For us it was just a matter of making the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-09-2011, 05:53 AM
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Have to agree with sandy. Nothing more irritating for a farrier when a horse is misbehaving while getting a trim. And to have the owner give treats, or a bunch of hay is a quick fix, but can be in the way of the farrier. They become ansy when you run out. Same as giving a child a bag of candy when they are throwing a tantrum. Never put a wheelbarrow in front of the horse, as a owner did this once and I almost ended up getting thrown into the wheelbarrow.

Each owner is responsible to make sure their horse is well trained and ready for the farrier. Time is money.

A good farrier should know when its time to let the horse rest a foot or push when he/she is misbehaving. More times when I let the horse rest the foot but then pick it back up within seconds. Some actually relax better after this. Good suggestion sandy, on the picking, tapping, and hammering. Rasp gently also. Especially on younger horses. Even if your horse isn't being shod, still a good practice.
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-09-2011, 09:51 AM
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Handle your horses feet every day. Pick them up and clean them, move them around and hold them for a couple of minute every time. The more you handle the feet the better they will be for the farrier. Calming paste doesn't usually work and isn't a good solution even if it did.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-09-2011, 10:08 AM
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Most farriers (at least the ones I have encountered) will eventually get enough and either discipline the horse, or leave. Don't you find this to be true, kevinshorses? What do you do in a case like this? Don't some horses behave better after disciplining them? (Can just be a scold verbally) I realize not all horses are alike and some may act worse, but I think I might try this first. Mine had to have an 'intervention' only once and after that he now stands very well for my farrier. (Now if I could get him to stand as well for me...)

"If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys." - Chief Dan George
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-09-2011, 12:06 PM
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My horse did the same thing and what the farrier did was every time she gave him sass by pulling her feet away he would quickly stand up and make her back up 10-20 steps. After about four times of backing up like that she realized that it is better to just stand that to have the farrier back her up for misbehaving. Remember, horses are herd animals and there is a pecking order. Your farrier might need to stand up and establish his or her place with your horse. I know this doesn't work for every horse but it did for mine.
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