Friday, February 5, 2010

Horse Hoof Care – The Basics: Choosing and Keeping a Good Horseshoer/Farrier

Finding and keeping a good Horseshoer/Farrier is essential to having sound horses to ride. There seems to be a lot more part time horseshoers than full time horseshoers available. Full time Farriers will usually maintain and keep a regular schedule where you can be assured he/she will show up on time and trim or shoe your horses. Some part time Farriers have to work around their day job schedules and other commitments where it becomes frustrating to get your horses trimmed or shoed when necessary.

For Unshod Horses, or horses that are not going to have horseshoes nailed on, I am often asked “how often is it necessary to get my horse’s feet trimmed?” That depends upon a lot of factors such as what time of year it is, as cold weather generally slows down hoof growth. Another factor is if the Farrier is trying to correct a previous problem which is usually caused by lack of consistent Farrier care. Generally a horse needs to have his hooves trimmed every six to eight weeks in order to best maintain healthy feet and keep on top of potential problems.

I would look for a Farrier that is experienced and probably belongs to a professional organization such as the American Farriers Association (in fact you can get Farrier contacts through the AFA website: It is important that your Farrier continues his/her education through professional clinics and such, and it is very important that your Farrier that is a good hand with horses although it is the horse owner’s responsibility to make the horse safe for the Horseshoer. You won’t keep a Farrier very long if that horse is not gentled enough to handle the feet. You shouldn’t keep a Farrier that is rough with your horses or punishes them as opposed to correcting them (Yes Matilda there is a difference).

You will want to be able to discuss your horse’s feet. Knowing the anatomy of the feet is a start. The basic parts of a Horse’s hoof are shown in the below pictures.

horse hoof care, horse hoof problems, parts of hoof, toe, bars and heel
horse hoof care, horse hoof problems, parts of hoof, frog and sole

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