Sunday, February 14, 2010

Horse Training - Making Your Horse Safer for a Shoer

It the owner's responsibility to make his/her horses safer for a shoer (farrier). The last thing a horseshoer wants is to get up underneath a bronc and have that horse explode, pull back or (my least favorite) jerk his hoof away just after nails have been set. Imagine six horseshoe nails protruding through the hoof, not yet cut and clinched, then the horse pulls his hoof away raking the hoof through the shoer’s hands or along his leg. Good way not to make friends with that shoer; even better way to get a shoer to fire you as a client.

Your should be able to handle your horse’s hoofs whenever you want, picking them up, extending them to the front, all without your horse trying to pull them away. When you pick up that hoof (sometime I call them a foot, so bear with me) don’t let that horse get away with pulling it away. Hold onto it until you are ready to give it back. Sometimes that takes holding onto his foot for 5 seconds then giving it back, then increasing that until you can hold it as long as you want.

That horse should stand relaxed on three legs while you have the leg bent to the back as you clean the hoof or as the shoer trims the hoof, and also as that leg is moved forward so the shoer can put the hoof on a stand to clinch the nails and while he rasps the nails and hoof.

Your horse should be comfortable at the location he is going to be trimmed or shoed at. Don't take your horse to the shoeing stand for the first time when the shoer shows up. This should be a place he has been before and is used to. Remove all potential distractions there such as anything that the wind may move and spook him, or that may make noise.

Don't cross tie your horse for the first time when he is getting shoed. You can hold him with the lead line while the shoer attends to his feet. Train him to stand cross tied at another time. Considering using a snap ring, Clipit or other device that allows some slack if the horse pulls back - I have seen wrecks when a horse is cross tied and snugged down that could have been prevented with progressive cross tie training or use of a device that will provide slack as the horse pulls back therefore giving him some relief and time to think. The beginning of the video, below, shows what I use on my cross ties.

Until your horse does all this willingly, spend a few minutes (that’s all it takes) every day or every other day handling his feet. Your horse will be safer and your shoer will be appreciative.

Watch the video below to see a short session on handling a horse’s feet to make him safer. It only takes a few minutes of your time.

1 comment:

  1. Any advice on treating founder? I am going to soak her feet for trimming, for starters. We have her on a light grass diet and she is free to move around. She is on her soles big time and is tender, obviously.