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Working With Your Farrier
  2009 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information 

     Good farriers are scarce.  They are usually strong in body and mind, educated and innovative, patient yet firm.  In addition to keen reflexes, technical knowledge and the sensitivity of an artist, a successful farrier should have a highly developed sense of the three H's...sense of humor, sense of human and of course, sense of horse.  If your farrier fits this description, hang on to him.  Here's how.

     First of all, get to know your farrier`s preference for appointments.  Does he like to schedule you for a definite appointment seven weeks in advance?  If so, do either of you have to phone to confirm the appointment the day before?  Or does your farrier prefer to have you call him as you need him?  If so, when should you call?  One week ahead, or one day ahead?

     Scheduling is the most common problem in getting continuous farrier service.  My farrier has a slot for me in his schedule every six weeks.  If I need services sooner, I can always negotiate for an emergency visit.

     If you have a great number of horses or if your horses differ greatly in their shoeing schedules, perhaps you could arrange to have your farrier come to your place on a particular morning each week unless otherwise notified.

     When you are on the phone with your horseshoer, have an accurate list for him of what you need done: two to shoe all around, three broodmares and one yearling to trim.  If your needs happen to change before the farrier arrives, have the courtesy to call him so he can adjust the rest of that day`s schedule accordingly.

Horse For Sale by Cherry Hill     Mention any special problems that your horses may have so that your shoer can be sure to have custom supplies on hand when he visits.  My shoers truck looks like a veritable store with its inventory of shoes, pads, nails and accessories all pigeonholed and categorized.
 
     While you are peering down your lane looking for a cloud of dust and the familiar rumble of your farrier's rig, check to be sure that you have everything ready.  All horses that will be worked on should be readily available...tied, in stalls or small pens that are conveniently located to the working area.

     There should be an appropriate place for your horseshoer to work.  A secure place to tie the horses at a level above the height of their withers is of paramount importance.  The work area should be well lighted, uncluttered and level.  Some horseshoers prefer to work on a concrete slab.

     Although direct sunlight helps your shoer see what he is doing, that hot summer sun can be extremely fatiguing.  Try to provide some shade and shelter and both your shoer and your horse will be happier.

     If your horses have come out of muddy lots, groom the shoulder and hindquarter area.  Also, wipe or scrape the mud off the hooves rather than hosing them off.  Clean dry hooves are much better for the farrier to work on.  Make things nice for your farrier and chances are that he or she will respond in kind.

     Besides all this last minute stuff, there are some things your horses should know to make the shoeing go smoothly.

     Have you convinced your horses that they can stand on three legs?  Will each and every one of them allow you to pick up any leg?  And hold it for 2-3 minutes?  And not pull it away, or jerk nervously, or lean?  This training job is yours, not the farriers.  He does not have the time, nor is it in his professional code to train horses.

     The training should be repeated until the horse trusts the human handler, has confidence he can balance on three legs and respects restraint.  Restraint can be in the form of a verbal command, a couple of human arms, a leather strap, rope etc.
 It is unnecessary to fight a horse.
 
Your Horse Barn DVD     You see the familiar vehicle turn into your drive.  There is a safe and comfortable place to work.  the horses are waiting.  You have a strong halter and leadrope in your hand.  Now here are some DOs and DON'Ts for the actual farrier visit:

     DO offer to hold young stuff if it is their first time or so for trimming.
     DON'T feel offended if your offer is rejected.
     DO have plenty of fly repellent on hand.
     DON'T wait until your farrier's visit to acquaint your horse with a spray bottle.
     DO tell your horseshoer the name, age and use of each animal.  You may continue and chronicle each ribbon he's won, the time he went through the fence, the first time you showed him a pig, but...
     DON'T expect your farrier to carry on a conversation.  He(she) is there for one reason alone - to provide a professional service that allows you to participate in your favorite horse activities.
     DO pay attention to your horse's behavior but
     DON"T take your nervous horse for a hike down the gravel driveway on freshly trimmed feet while the farrier is shaping a shoe.
     DO discuss stable management and hoof care with your farrier.  Ask him about the symptoms of problems he sees in your horse's feet and listen to his recommendations to remedy them.
     DON'T expect miracles in one visit.  If you bought a horse that had been neglected for two years, or have a horse with crooked legs, or board at a stable that only cleans stalls once a week, don't think that your farrier has a magic rasp that can cure cracks, founder, conformation flaws or thrush.  Work together toward gradual, permanent results.
     DO have your payment in full ready before he leaves.     DON"T make him ask.
     DO ask him how long until the next shoeing.
     DO offer him a place to wash up and a glass of water but
     DON'T offer him supper.  It's waiting on the table and we're planning to go out tonight!  

  2009 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information 

 
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  2009 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

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