Preparing Horse for Farrier - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-18-2013, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Preparing Horse for Farrier

So we have a new horse who has only been ridden less than a handful of times in her life and she's used to being out in the field with her herd. The most contact she has with people is being hand-fed treats from the garden. She can be a bit nervous but in my opinion she does really well for the little amount of time she's been around people. I live 4 hours away so my time with her is very limited and we've only had her for a few months. My dad intended to work with her a lot more but he hasn't had time.

Still, her hooves are absolutely ATROCIOUS. It's embarrassing and I worry about this having been left for so long. My dad is getting a farrier out but we live in such a remote area that it's difficult to find farriers out and it's costly for just one horse so we buddy up with someone else who has horses. Still, farriers are few and far between, and could rack up quite a bill for the mileage.

The real question I have is I'm not sure if anyone's tried to work with her feet yet, and I certainly don't want any farrier to come up and get hurt - or make her afraid of having her feet done. My dad's not incompetant but he had anticipated having more time with her and it just didn't work out that way. I'm willing to go up and help get her acclimated to things but I don't know the first thing about getting a horse used to the farrier and I don't have the option of doing things a wee little at a time over MONTHS. I have weekends, basically. :( Any tips?
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-18-2013, 03:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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My farrier prefers to train his clients himself. You might just ask your farrier about this. Don't be embarrassed about their length, just get on a regular schedule, ~8 weeks apart for trims, 6 weeks apart for shoeing/reshod during the summer.
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-19-2013, 04:38 AM
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She may be just fine with her hoofs but if not this is what I like when I am working on a difficult / green / new horse.

First, I like some one to be there to hold the horse's lead, preferably the owner or someone who the horse knows and trusts. I like it when the owners talk to and scratch their horses when I work on them, that way the horse just enjoys all the special attention. But just having someone to hold the horse can make such a huge difference than working on a horse when you are on you own and you are working on them tied. Eventually I like it to where they stand still with the lead rope looped over there neck and not being held or tied but that is something you can work up to if you want.

Second, if she is having a hard time standing still I don't mind if they munch on a pile of hay while I work. It can make them a little heaver on the fronts if they have their head down but if it keeps their mind off of being worried about what I am doing then its ok. I eventually like to have them stand without the hay but I don't mind it for a new horse. If she isn't too pushy or mouthy or pushy about treats that works too! (Not all agree on this so ask your farrier their opinion.)

Lastly, and you probably already know this, if her feet are way overgrown and your farrier takes off a lot she might be a little tender for a few days after. Shouldn't be anything to worry about!

Other than that just practice picking her feet up and messing with them in between trims that too helps a bunch!
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-19-2013, 12:36 PM
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my mare was having an issue with her back feet. I started picking her hooves while holding the foot like a shoer . I hold the lead on my belt like i do my macate . If she gets kicky or tries to snatch her foot away, I let go and put her to work immediately, yealds, lounge and back. It is getting better and hope my work shows when my shoer comes back out.
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-19-2013, 04:15 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
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I would take pics of the horse and hooves if you can send them to the farrier. Then call the farrier and tell him your concerns as well as how the horse has reacted so far to being handled.

The farrier may even choose to sedate her.

"Just weekends" is fine, unless she happens to be a dumb snit like one of the horses I had here :( Many horses will be okay with that.
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-20-2013, 11:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Idaho
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Your farrier will know what to do and will put your horse in it's place and she will learn! He will not make her afraid of him!

Have an experienced horse person do this!
When I got my PMU horses (weanlings), when they got to be about 2 and three respectfully, I had some problems picking up my Canadian X's feet and my Breeding stock Paint filly's feet.

The Canadian X as a 2 year old fought me by pawing and pawing when I picked up his front feet. I could not hang on as he was a solid strong boy. I put the lead rope around the lower part of his leg near the hoof and lifted up with the lead rope. He still fought and I just held onto the rope. Once he stopped pawing, I gave him his foot back and praised him. I only had to do this for a couple of days and after that he was great. Gave him lots of praise. He is a smart cookie.

With the filly, she tended to be a kicker and I am pretty sure her problems with picking up her back feet were more my problem than hers as I didn't trust her. I did the same thing with her until I became more comfortable with her and after a while (maybe a week) I started to pick up her back feet for very short periods of time to get my confidence level up and to learn to trust her. She is fantastic now and this slow but sure method worked very well for me.
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-21-2013, 02:21 AM
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Sounds like the horse needs a bit of general handling before I'd start handling hooves. I'd want the horse to be confident with people & being touched & understanding of yielding to pressure both from halter & your direct touch first. Then you can start on hooves, first getting her confident at having her legs touched, then teaching her to yield to pressure & lift her hooves when you ask. Make 'the right thing easy' by reinforcing whatever you get, before gradually asking for more.

If you know what you're doing, those sort of lessons can be learned & practiced over a number of times in a weekend. But obviously it won't be strong or generalised behaviour in only that time & if you don't know what you're doing it can be tricky & inadvertent 'wrong' lessons can easily be taught.

Originally Posted by LyraFreedom View Post
Your farrier will know what to do and will put your horse in it's place and she will learn! He will not make her afraid of him!
You're lucky if you've got a good one that is willing & able to do that. That sounds unreasonably... optimistic in my experience! We don't know OP's farrier & they are absolutely not all good farriers, let alone horsemen too. It is indeed also common for a 'put horse in it's place' type farrier to cause a horse to fear him/hoofcare, even among previously well handled horses. On top of that, it's not the farrier's job to train the horse, so expecting this may not go down at all well even if he is able. And the OP said farriers are few & far between & expensive. So therefore it may also be timewise & financially inappropriate to get the farrier to train the horse too.

Of course, if you can find a good farrier who is also a good horseman, who is willing to take the time it takes to train the horse, and you are happy to pay whatever he charges for training, and understand that it may well take more than a session or 2, go for it! I'd certainly be looking for a good farrier/horseman and informing them of the horse's progress after I'd done the initial training anyway.
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-27-2013, 12:54 AM
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I agree about not wanting her first visit with the farrier to be a crash-course. However, if her hooves are as long as you're implying, it needs to be done ASAP.

Once they get overgrown or worn down awkwardly, after a while the bones in the hooves, coronet, and pastern will start turning and if left untreated can lead to permanent lameness--not fun! I seriously doubt her hooves are that bad yet, as it usually takes many months to over a year for hooves to get to that point, and if they were you would notice right off, and so would the farrier.

You may have to sacrifice a little backtrack in training for the sake of her health--a tough decision, but one I've had to make in similar situations. Just make sure the farrier knows how to handle a difficult horse; a good farrier can handle just about any type of misbehavior with just training tools, so look for someone that won't use drugs--that's a sign of someone who can't--or won't --handle a difficult horse (I've had lots of experience with them... ).

If her feet are hurting her from being overgrown anyway, then working with them might not make a difference because having them handled will be uncomfortable.

In the end, I would say just get him out as soon as possible even if you don't have time to work with her hooves, then wait a week afterward. It may take multiple trimmings before her feet feel right; the farrier can't take off all the extra at once when the hooves are really long because the veins need time to recede. When they are in good condition, then work on having them worked with.

I would not suggest this while her hooves are being rehabilitated, but if access to a farrier is uncertain, then while he/she is over for the first few visits, ask them to show you how to trim and what to look for, and get your own pair of quality trimmers. This way if you get in a tight spot between farrier visits, you aren't at a total loss.

Hoof trimming is a very good skill to have, even if you withhold it for emergencies. Of course though, a qualified farrier should be used whenever possible. I can't tell you how many times I've had to even out hooves between farrier visits when they chip or wear down awkwardly!

Sorry for the ridiculously long post, but at least I didn't go into teaching her to have her feet handled--that's at least another one of these posts worth!

I hope I could help!
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-29-2013, 12:28 AM
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Rio Grande Valley, Texas
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what we always do is teach them to pick their feet up on command and stand still my farrier has no problem when he comes to do our horses since they pick their feet up on command he says that our horses are the most well behaved make sure you teach her not to kick when getting close to her bad legs I hate it when I go ride a horse of my friend and when im cleaning his hooves he tries to kick me believe me it hurts
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