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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, after my new guy was an absolute ROCK STAR for the vet last week (totally fine with the x-rays machines, standing right up on the blocks for 5 minutes+ while they tried to get it to work, being totally calm and fine), I am thinking he will be fine with everything.

His previous owners trimmed him themselves and he never had any issues. They even said how he would make a great husband horse because of how calm and patient he is.

Well, today I had a different horse.

We had a crazy snow storm yesterday and sadly my barn didn't turn him out (or any of the other horses). I went in and lunged him and hand walked him and spent some time with him, but he didn't seem too stressed. This morning he was happy and fine in his stall waiting for the trimmer.

He had never met this trimmer, and the second she walked into his stall to say hi, he spun around like a reining horse (is that reining? I am an English rider!) and tried to get away from her. I have NEVER seen him react to ANYTHING like that.

So I think, maybe it was just a fluke. Took him out of the stall, walked him around a little. The trimmer spent some time petting him and went to work. He kept backing away from her and REFUSED to move forward when I asked. He was being super stubborn (another thing I have never seen him do??).


His front left he was fine, but his front right he kept backing up and moving away, making it difficult. I know his right side is his more reactive side, but I have never seen him actually act on it, just get a little twitchy.

Finally, the front feet were done (with lots of turning around, running over the hoof stand, etc).
I pick up his feet EVERY DAY and he is normally fine!


The back left foot he was fine, and even the back right.

Then, the guy outside started up the tractor and my guy freaked. Tried to run me over THREE TIMES, and decided he didn't want to be trimmed anymore. Kicked out at the farrier, spun around, etc.


I backed him up and tried to re-establish some respect (which he CLEARLY wasn't showing for me), but he was not doing a good job. ugh.

To "end on a good note," the farrier had me pick up that foot that he wasn't happy about. Lo and behold, I go to pick it up and he holds it perfectly for me.


He isn't on grain, and I see him every day (if not twice a day). I have had him for exactly 12 days, so not too long. I do groundwork every day- backing up, disengaging hindquarters, basic lunging (which he is still learning), hand walking, mounting and dismounting, etc.


Any ideas what happened? Do I just have a reactive horse???
 

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Electric Trimmer?

I live in England and we use electric trimmers. is that what she used? If it is he may not have been used to the noise and the whirring of the blades as lots of trimmers vary in loudness. They can feel the vibration through their skin so it might have been a shock for him. Let him sniff it and just turn it on and the more he relaxes the closer you bring it to him. Star on their shoulders and then gradually do the more sensitive parts. hope this help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It wasn't an electric trimmer- it was actually for his feet, so a farrier visit, basically :) Just no shoes.

I should add that he is really bad at lunging to the left. Maybe he is sore on his left, and doesn't like putting weight on his left side??

He also has a tiny bit of thrush on his left hooves.
 

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He could have just not liked the farrier.

When I was at my old barn, I had to switch farriers because the guy I regularly used wouldn't come all the way out to the barn for just one client (my barn was way off the beaten path). I decided to try the farrier my BO regularly used. My normally docile gelding was a complete jerk with her, to the point that she made me put a stud chain on him. It took her an hour and a half to do a simple trim on him. She would reach for a hoof and he would spin, try to bolt and pin his ears. I would reach for the same foot and he'd stand there half asleep. He didn't like her from the moment she first approached him. Just something about her mannerisms set him off.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies.

I emailed his previous owners and she was shocked, saying how easy he is to trim. She has never seen this behavior in him either. She suggested it could be the farrier as well; something about her body language he just didn't like.

This afternoon I went to work with him and had an angel horse. He was INCREDIBLE (besides not picking up his front right foot the first few times I asked, being a little stubborn, but once I disengaged his hind quarters and backed him up, he picked it up at least 4 or 5 times after that-whenever I asked).

He lunged well and let me attempt to "mount" (I didn't really get on) from both sides, lead from both sides, etc, to try to discourage him from favoring his right side.

I was just so sad because the trimmer told me I should have a trainer come out before she comes next- one thats about 1.5 hours a way that is effective but very rough with the horses. If a horse goes to kick the trainer, they actually kick back (they say it's horse communication, but I don't know...), etc. I would rather not use them. The trimmer also suggested a sedative for next time :(

I totally understand that she doesn't want to get hurt. I wouldn't either!
 

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Wow, I wonder what it was? I wish he could talk! Was she rough? Just wondering if she suggested a rougher trainer.

It could be anything- her mannerisms, a strange smell to him or even her attitude. We had a ferrier once who was going through a rough spot in his life and really unhappy... the horses had been fine with him previously but instantly became spooky, fidgety and we even got a few big bolts from our 2 tried and true geldings. He grumped at me that they needed more work with there feet... I was like seriously? You've been coming here for years and said how much you appreciate working on horses that behave.

I wouldn't worry about getting a sedative or trainer... doesn't sound like needs either! And soreness doesn't explain his initial reaction to her. Just get a new trimmer :)
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Alahna stood once for a guy I had come out while my bavk was hurt and I wasn't comfortable trimming her. The second time he came out, again, she stood just fine, better than the first time. Though, the second time, he did a 5 minute hack job and ruined her beautiful OTTB barefoot hooves and I had to resort to shoes (which another farrier did). The third time (watched by my current farrier and myself, where he did a good job like he did the first time), she refused to stand. She leaned back, kicked, pulled her foot, wouldn't pick up her feet, tried lunging/biting at him, etc. Overall, she was absolutely terrible. I, while I try not to anthromorphasize, have no doubt in my mind she knows he was the one that caused her pain. I can't blame her for not wanting to stand, I don't like him either (because he's inconsistent and swears everything with a white line and a wall needs shod). She stands just fine for anyone else. If you tap her leg and tell her to give it, she'll pick it right up and hold it there for you.

If my horse doesn't like someone, that someone will not come near her without being sent packing with their rasp stuck places it doesn't belong by me. While she's definitely a mare full of attitude, I do trust her judgement. I don't want to deal with people I don't like, so I won't subject her to that horror.

I will say though..I don't think kicking back is too rough of a method. It depends on the horse. I had to kick Alahna back before she realized that kicking at people wasn't okay. I tried everything else..backing, lunging, smacking her with a whip, etc. Nothing worked and I decided I was just going to kick her back..Worked like a charm.

But, doesn't sound like you need a trainer anyway. I'd get a new farrier and hope your gelding likes the next one, lol.
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okayyy. So I have spent the last 2 weeks working with my guy, getting him to stand still on the cross ties (which he now does for me PERFECTLY), getting him to pick up all four feet just by me tapping him twice either on the shoulder or his hip, (and sometimes I have to touch his feathers, but that's just about as much force as I need), and doing TONS of leg stretches. I have been picking his feet twice a day and applying thrush treatment and now he has no thrush yay!

That being said, the trimmer came BACK today to try to "clean up" her last trim since she didn't finish.

She walks to his stall and my guy stops cold. Freezes, terrified.
Let's just say, this visit didn't go much better than the last one.

I don't get it! I have had MULTIPLE people - strangers even at the barn!- pick up his feet to practice. But he is still SO SCARED of the farrier! WHY?!

She basically told me flat out to hire this one specific trainer that will come to my barn for $250 and "fix" the problem of him "being aggressive".. oh my goodness, he is the least aggressive horse in the world! ugh!

Is it possible that he just doesn't like something about her??
 

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Yes, yes, and yes, it's very obvious it's something about her! I just read through most of this thread, and agree that you get another farrier (the red flags have been waved numerous times!) and you do not spend all that money on an 'aggressive trainer' to rid him of his supposed 'aggressiveness' which, as you say, only happens in her presence. I wouldn't hesitate to find another farrier-ask around! Look @ the ads in local farm supply stores for potentials, and just accept that she isn't a good choice for whatever reason. Best of luck :)
 

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Out of a number of trimmers/farriers, only one seemed to bring out the worst in my horses. It was nothing he did. One horse would try to kick him every time and yank his foot away. The other would snort and pull back when approached. I don't know if they sensed an unconscious negative energy, tension, no clue but the horses are fine with others. When next the trimmer is due to arrive, give the horse a good workout. A tired horse isn't a stupid as a fresh one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone- and SaddleBag, I did ride him today before she came to try to "tire him out" a bit.. Guess it didn't work !!
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Some people, even horse people, don't work with horses. We had a dentist that was "so good with horses" that always had to sedate our horses (actually came back to my horse barely able to stand 30 mins after he left, not happy), and everyone said how good he was but I saw nervous horses. Now our vet does them and she never needs to sedate and they are happy and comfortable and cooperative.

How is he when other strangers handle him/his feet? If he's fine, get a new trimmer yesterday. If he's fidgety do a lot of training with a lot of different people (friends, horse people, wouldn't do an actual "trainer" unless it's a persistent issue).

Personally, I would not go with any trainer known for being rough and I'm getting a really bad vibe that the trimmer he has an issue with is strongly suggesting this specific trainer with a negative reputation to spend a lot of money where it's probably not needed. I would get rid of the trimmer and deal with it yourself. Can his old owner trim him for you? At least until you find someone good? He is making it clear he's not comfortable, I would respect that.

(I was thinking clippers too until I read the post :))
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have had friends pick up his feet no problem, and approach him and groom him no problem. He won't even let this trimmer touch him without flinching...

The trainer has a love or hate following. People either love her and worship the ground she walks on, or think she is too rough and hate her tactics. I will say that she has rehabbed horses that were otherwise going to be put to sleep for their aggressive behavior. So she has helped horses for sure.

His old owners kept his toes so long they cracked so I am hesitant to have them trim. At least my current trimmer has his feet looking amazing and his cracks already look better from being dremeled out and having that pressure off them from getting a mustang roll!

I have a trimmer I might try that is a little farther away but has worked with mustangs from the same exact place I got mine. She loves them. She is more expensive because she is farther out, but may be worth a try..
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If she's rough get rid of her good job or not, imo. I won't tolerate that.

Different animals need different treatment, but a) no excuse for being rough when not needed and b) your horse isn't aggressive. You don't need "tactics" when shoeing/trimming a gentle well behaved horse..

If he's fine for everyone except for her get rid of her yesterday. If someone walks into my horses stall and my quiet friendly horse flinches and hides and is terrified I guarantee you that is the closest they will EVER get to that horse and they will NEVER see my horse, any of my other horses, my business, and probably me again. I might give them the benefit of a doubt if they smell funny or might have static and shock the horse or something but if the horse isn't comfortable, or worse, if flat out afraid of someone they are gone.This is HUGE to me. I understood that she's been out twice? No way is there that much difference in how his feet look. I live in MA too, there are plenty of actually good trimmers/farriers out there. It's horse country. Don't settle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I definitely understand. I should mention the trimmer has never once been aggressive to my guy- in fact, she moves really slowly and loves on him and he is still very scared. She took an hour and a half to try to trim him the first time, and an hour to try to trim him today.
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Horses can just have bad days
I had my farrier out today and he is wonderful with the horses, I had opened the barn door so they could come in, Looby strolled in totally relaxed, took one look at the farrier and turned right around and galloped back into the field where she continued to gallop around a few more times while we ignored her so she decided to come back in like nothing had happened
No clue what was going on in her head
Keep on working with your boys feet yourself so it becomes a boring every day occurrence for him and if you think that farrier was a little rough then find a new one - get other people at the barn to pick his feet up to see how he reacts - obviously don't risk injury.
 

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I definitely understand. I should mention the trimmer has never once been aggressive to my guy- in fact, she moves really slowly and loves on him and he is still very scared. She took an hour and a half to try to trim him the first time, and an hour to try to trim him today.
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OK, well good for her, but it doesn't change that your horse just doesn't like her. For whatever reason, but you've given it a couple tries and it would probably be easier for both of you, not to mention your horse, and for your training, to find someone else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Definitely thinking of switching. Luckily for the situation, my farrier is getting surgery on Monday and won't be able to work for 12 weeks, so I can try other farriers without making it super awkward haha. My guy needs trimming every 4 weeks at least until the cracks improve a little more.

And jaydee- I pick his feet twice a day (morning and night) so he is fine with his feet being picked... Just with this farrier he freaks :(
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Must be picking up some bad vibes then - horses are strange creatures
Have you tried rubbing a file over his feet - just enough that he 'feels it'?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I don't own a rasp yet (I know - there is no reason I shouldn't, but the local tack shop was out when I went to get one!). I also have no idea how to rasp so thought I would hold off until a farrier taught me so I didn't mess up his cracks anymore than they are!

On a brighter note - the new hoof growing in since I have had him a month does not continue the crack, which is awesome!
 
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