My first time with Farrier - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 05-18-2015, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
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My first time with Farrier

Hello all - I need a little 'experience in a box', just so I at least have some idea what to expect. I've introduced myself, but quick review - I'm 52, novice rider, bought my first horse in March (a 14 year old MFT), My friend and mentor is boarding her for me, and we trail/pasture ride.

The farrier comes tomorrow for my friend's 4 horses and my 1... my friend obviously knows what to expect and do, this is the farrier she's used for a long time, and from all appearances my horse will also know what to expect (she's usually good about standing still and picking up her feet... though I've never tried for an extended period; her hooves were nicely trimmed when I got her and aren't bad now). She's barefoot and I think always has been. Trainer said she has good hard hooves....

I will take directions from my friend, but I love it when I can show up for some new situation and at least have some idea of protocol in advance (so she's not always in 'teaching mode'... obviously she'll be there as my backup). Care to let me know what to expect and what my role as an the owner might likely be? (in addition to paying him of course) Sort of a 'step by step' and basic etiquette I suppose...

Thanks!!
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post #2 of 23 Old 05-18-2015, 11:48 AM
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Hi and welcome to being a horse owner. Its not as complicated as it may seem. It never hurts to ask questions no matter how silly they may seem. You will be expected to hold your horse unless he is fine with farriers. Don't be afraid to ask your farrier about concerns or opinions. Let him know what exactly you do with your horse and ask what he recommends for shoes if any. You may be lucky to just need trimming if your horse has great feet. On occasions there are horses that just hate standing for long periods of time and having their feet messed with. Pray that he is not like that. If he is some use a twitch you will need to hold, and some use TQ (sedative) I use the second but also work with my horses before their next visit so as not to have to rely on the TQ or a twitch.

Good Luck
TRR
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post #3 of 23 Old 05-18-2015, 11:49 AM
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Be on time! Have the horse up at the barn, halter on, and groomed. Don't let him look like you just pulled him out of a mud hole. Make sure his legs are clean and not muddy, I even pick his hooves. Flyspray him down if the flies are out, that way the farrier isn't getting hooves yanked away or swatted in the face.

Stay on the same side the farrier is working on, don't feed treats until afterwards, and keep his head straight so he isn't putting all his weight into the side the farrier is on.
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post #4 of 23 Old 05-18-2015, 11:52 AM
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Talking

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Originally Posted by Roman View Post
Be on time! Have the horse up at the barn, halter on, and groomed. Don't let him look like you just pulled him out of a mud hole. Make sure his legs are clean and not muddy, I even pick his hooves. Flyspray him down if the flies are out, that way the farrier isn't getting hooves yanked away or swatted in the face.

Stay on the same side the farrier is working on, don't feed treats until afterwards, and keep his head straight so he isn't putting all his weight into the side the farrier is on.
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Ya that too lol
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post #5 of 23 Old 05-18-2015, 11:54 AM
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Hold your horse, don't baby her, demand she has good manners for the farrier. I speak from experience (though not a farrier, just someone who knows how to trim) when I say there is NOTHING more irritating, for horse or for everyone else around, than an owner who says, in that baby-talk voice, "be good for the farrier good girl blah blah blah oh there's no need to be scared (invariably horse is just being a brat, not afraid) just be a good girl, is the farrier big and mean and cutting your feet? oh dear, oh no..."

NOTHING more annoying! That right there is the reason some farriers don't like the owner being present while they trim feet!

If your farrier hits your horse with the rasp (or anything) for not standing still, get a different farrier.

If your horse is footsore after her trim, get a different farrier.

If her feet go bad, injury/abscess notwithstanding, fire your farrier.

Shoes have their place but it sounds like your horse doesn't need them. Don't be swayed into having her shod, it's more expensive and some farriers will encourage it when it isn't necessary because it puts money in their pockets.

But most important is the first point. Do not coddle your horse!

MAKORA THOROUGHBRED SPORTHORSES
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post #6 of 23 Old 05-18-2015, 12:11 PM
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I'd say most of the advice above is good. I would add a few things. First, if the flies are bad, make sure your horse is well drenched with spray before the farrier gets there. No horse can stand still while being eaten alive. Don't give your horse a bath right before the farrier gets there, because wet hair is easier to bite through.

Second, you might want to choose an area with concrete or asphalt footing. It's a nuisance if a horse pulls his foot away in the middle of a trim and picks up a bunch of dirt or rocks.

Third, leave your dog in the house.

Trimming and shoeing is brutal hard work, and the only way a farrier can earn a living is to be efficient with effort and time. Anything you can do to help him out will contribute to not having to look for a new farrier every three years.
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post #7 of 23 Old 05-18-2015, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Wow - thank you all for the quick replies. It all makes sense.

Good insight on not coddling... I don't chatter and make a fuss (not my personality), but I was wondering if people give treats to keep them focused. Sounds like firm during, with a reward after is best? I don't treat constantly, but my mare is always a little "surprised" by treats and then seems to be extra good for me afterwards. She's generally calm and a thinker and obedient, but can be a bit dominant so I'm always alert to that. We're still learning each other.

Also, great tip on the fly spray.
With all the rain we've had, trying to remove all the dirt and mud from her legs will be a challenge... I'll get there early...

Another question... How long does it usually take for a routine trim? How long she need to stand still?

Last edited by Folly; 05-18-2015 at 12:28 PM.
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post #8 of 23 Old 05-18-2015, 12:36 PM
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Yes, treat once he's done or she could get nosy.

You can take like an old cloth to wipe their legs off. And I wouldn't "drench" them in flyspray either.

It usually takes my farrier 20min or 30min because he likes to talk and stuff, but he does talk while trimming so its not like he wastes a lot of time.
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post #9 of 23 Old 05-18-2015, 12:36 PM
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Exactly - be firm but remember to make sure your horse understands when you're pleased with her. I like to say "yes", they tend to associate that with it being what you want. Maybe it's the tone of voice? I don't know. You don't say it often, only after you reprimand (if the horse behaves) or when you're training, to encourage the response you want.

A vocal cue reward is effective in situations when you can't, for whatever reason, give a scratch or a treat. Clicker training works on a similar principle, but replaces the vocal cue with a click.

MAKORA THOROUGHBRED SPORTHORSES
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post #10 of 23 Old 05-18-2015, 12:46 PM
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A typical farrier visit is pretty straightforward- a lot of farriers aren't big talkers, so unless you ask questions a lot of times they'll just do their job and keep their opinions to themselves. Usually they'll let you know if there's a major problem, but will often keep minor problems to themselves. I always like to ask if they see any issues coming up (thrush, new flares, etc.) and if there's anything they'd recommend I do for it. For a new horse or farrier, I also ask what they think of the hoof shape in general, what flaws they see, and what the plan is to correct it.

I always make sure my horse is ready at the appointment time, with any mud washed off of the lower leg (and dried as much as possible), hooves picked out, and any major dirt brushed off the body. Have fly spray handy if needed.

As far as giving treats, I think it depends on the horse.

My horse knows what's expected of him with the farrier and isn't at all scared- if he starts pulling his legs away from the farrier or tries leaning on her, then he gets reprimanded. I'm not big on treats, and he's not really all that big on them either, so I don't generally have treats on hand to give him afterwards (really, for him, being done is enough reward!)

Then there's the pony mare I've been working with for the past few months. She's nervous and fearful and used to have to be sedated for the farrier. She's also highly food motivated. Treats were an important tool in getting her to stand for the farrier and reinforcing it as a positive experience. She doesn't get sedated anymore, and the farrier thinks I'm a horse whisperer
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