Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at
from Cherry Hill


November 2000

Hoof Power
Hoof Care
How To Think
Like A Horse
Making Not Breaking by Cherry Hill
Your Horse Barn DVD
Horse For Sale by Cherry Hill
Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage
How to Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hill

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  2000 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

This newsletter is a personal letter from me to you,
a fellow horse owner and enthusiast.

My goal is to send you interesting stories and helpful seasonal tips for your
horse care, training, and riding.


Hello Friend,  

     If you received this newsletter in error, please accept my apology, read the opening paragraphs and then go to the end of this newsletter to see how to be removed from the list.

    Due to two modem deaths, the breaking-in of two new computers, and software problems, I have not been able to answer any e-mail questions this past month.  Also, the thousands of e-mail addresses of all of my business, personal, and newsletter recipients got mixed together into one huge list which necessitated a big sorting which I am not sure has been error-free.  You are likely assigned to a different list number than you were previously and some of you have received this newsletter in error.  And if you are reading this newsletter posted on the Roundup page but didn't receive a copy, you were probably accidentally deleted so need to sign up again here:  (

  The free e-mail advice service ("Ask Cherry") has been suspended until next year so I can enjoy family visits and the holidays and catch up!  



Training a Horse for Shoeing

Training the Foal for Farrier Work - Sherlock Series


New Department in Western Horseman Magazine - "The Fix-It Guy"


New Postings on the Roundup Page
Book News and Reviews

Our Recent Magazine Articles


Training a Horse for Shoeing
excerpt from Maximum Hoof Power

    If you want your farrier to do his best work and look forward to coming back to your barn, train your horses to be cooperative and relaxed for shoeing.  It is not in your farrier's job description to train your horse. And it is unfair for you to expect him to take the time and to risk injury by handling an untrained horse.  If you raise young horses, begin early with their training.
    To see Sherlock learn how to stand for farrier care, read the continuing adventures of his training by clicking here.

Your Horse Barn DVDA horse should be able to do all of the following before a farrier is asked to work on him.

   Stand tied without pulling back.
   Stand still while tied unless asked to move.
   Stand tied without pawing.
   Pick up all four feet cooperatively.
   Stand in balance when any leg is held for two minutes without moving, leaning, trying to pull his leg away, fidgeting, or nibbling.
   Move sideways to the left and right on cue one step at a time while tied.
   Back up and stepping forward on cue one step at a time while tied.
   Allow all four legs to be brought backward.
   Allow all four legs to be brought forward on a hoof stand or knee for at least thirty seconds.

    Many foals require corrective rasping of their hooves at two months of age or earlier.  To prepare the foal for the farrier's first visit, hold a regular series of hoof handling lessons.  They should begin the first day of the foal's life when you accustom the foal to being caught and having its body and legs handled.  When the foal is a week old, you should be able to pick up a leg and hold it with a competent handler holding the foal with a halter alongside the stall wall or a sturdy fence.  (It is best to have the mare tied nearby.)  At first just pick the legs up briefly but increase the amount of time to at least 30 seconds per leg.  (An older horse will be expected to hold a leg up for 2-3 minutes.)  This will condition the foal to stand still long enough for the farrier to trim his hooves.  When you can hold the leg without struggle, gently bend the hoof from side to side and from front to back.  This accustoms the foal to the movements the farrier will make during trimming.

     A properly conditioned foal will likely retain his good manners throughout his life, but leg-handling lessons should be reviewed to reinforce manners and to decrease the chance of injury should the horse get caught in rope or wire.  All yearlings and two year olds should receive a formal series of conditioning and restraint lessons by a competent, experienced trainer. 

     So that a horse of any age is comfortable having his legs handled and the lessons proceed safely, follow these guidelines:

             1.  Work in close to the horse's body.  This helps restrain the horse, gives a horse an added measure of confidence, and is safer for the handler.

            2.  Minimize the amount of sideways pull you exert on the horse's leg.  Try to lift the leg in the plane it which it normally moves, that is, underneath the horse's body.  With a tiny foal, this may require you to crouch down to the foal's level.

            3.  Never let your horse decide when it is time to put his foot down.  You choose the moment.  It should be when the horse is standing quietly, not struggling.  Then place the hoof decisively on the ground (don't let it just drop).

            4.  When you are picking up a left leg, push the horse's weight over to the horse's right shoulder or hip with your shoulder or elbow.

            5.  Don't try to pick up a hoof by force.  Rather, take advantage of the horse's inborn withdrawal reflex.  When a wild horse's leg is touched by a branch or a buzzing fly, the horse's automatic reaction is to pick up his leg, often very quickly and high.  Your domestic horse will still exhibit this reflex, especially if you touch it in a strategic area. But because you will also want to be able to groom, bandage, and clip your horse's legs without him picking them up, you must teach him to differentiate between your command to pick up a foot and the one that tells him to keep his feet on the ground.
            To teach him to pick his foot up, give the voice command, "Foot", and at the same time, pinch the tendon area above the fetlock.  The pinching will cause your horse to pick up his foot.  Be ready to catch his hoof or he will put it right back down as part of the reflex cycle.  With time you can teach your horse to respond to the voice command alone.

            6.  Once you have grasped the hoof, hold it in a natural position without pulling the leg outward or over-flexing the joints.  If the process is made comfortable for a horse, especially for a foal, he will be less likely to struggle.  If a horse does try to pull his leg away from you, you will have a better chance of hanging on if you tip the toe up so the fetlock and pastern are hyperflexed.  This tends to block nerve transmissions and reflexes.  With very "thin-skinned" sensitive horses, it sometimes is better to hold onto the hoof rather than the leg for the first few lessons.

            7.  Use generous body-to-body contact to assure the horse that your control is not tenuous.  However, do not allow or encourage your horse to lean on you.  Although it may not be difficult to support part of the body weight of a 100 pound foal, it won't take long before that foal is a 1200 pound animal.  If he has learned that leaning is OK, he will likely retain the habit for life.

            8.  When bringing the hind leg of a young or short horse backward, take care not to raise the leg too high (to accommodate the height of your "lap") as this may cause the horse discomfort in the joints, especially the stifle.  Many times the reason a horse struggles is because his joints are being stressed due to improper leg lifting.  If you are lifting the hind leg of a young or small horse in a conscientious fashion and the horse struggles because of impatience or poor temper, you can sometimes retain a hold of him by using a "hock lock".  Drape your arm nearest the horse over his hock.  With your other hand, tip the toe of the hoof up.  This gives you a leverage advantage in the event the young horse tries to pull away.  The competency of the person on the lead rope will have a big effect on how a horse of any age behaves while having his legs handled.



Horse For Sale by Cherry Hill    A knowledgeable farrier usually doesn't mind a curious young horse briefly inspecting him and his tools with polite sniffing.  However, dishonest nibbling when the farrier's back is to the horse (which is 90% of the time) is unacceptable.  To prevent such a habit from forming, as you train your horse, use "farrier positions" (such as drawing a front leg forward on your knee as if a hoof stand) to "bait" and test your horse.  If your horse sees this as an opportunity to nibble, either discipline him using a bop on the nose with the back of your upper arm, a tug on his lead rope or chain, or have an assistant reprimand the horse.

    If a horse is not sufficiently confident when separated from other horses, he may desperately attempt to retain communication with or physical proximity to his buddies.  The chronic case is referred to as herd-bound or barn-sour: the insecure horse links comfort, companionship, and food with the barn, a particular stall, or with certain horses.  What your farrier has to deal with is a horse that screams, paws, swerves sideways, defecates repeatedly, and in general, pays more attention to where his buddies are than to the farrier working on him.  This is very unsafe (and nerve-wracking) for your farrier.  What may seem to be a "normal" insecurity in a young or inexperienced horse may evolve into a long-standing and dangerous habit.

    Ideally, a horse should be "weaned" from its herdmates just as it was from its mother but this should be approached as a systematic training project, not begun the morning of your farrier's visit.  If young horses are routinely kept in separate pens or stalls or periodically tied alone to a hitching post for several hours at a time, they soon accept separation and begin developing a healthy self-confidence.

     One of the underlying obstacles in getting any horse to stand still is the fact that horses are born wanderers.  When the nomadic tendency is thwarted by excessive confinement or improperly applied restraint and embellished by excessive feed and inadequate exercise, vices such as pawing, weaving, and pacing can result.  Regular exercise is essential for the horse's physical and mental well-being.  A fresh horse, even if well-trained, might get antsy when asked to stand still for shoeing.  A very high-strung horse that has inadequate exercise is over-reactive, often nervous, and generally unsafe.

     An exhausted horse is not the answer either.  Such a horse will probably be tuned out, unresponsive, and will likely lean on the farrier. Some horses learn these lazy habits because a timid owner doesn't know how to encourage the horse to cooperate.  Most horses can be taught in a simple and non-aggressive way to pick up their feet and hold them up without leaning.

     Although most horses defecate unabashedly while being shod, few will urinate, especially if the shoeing area is a hard floor that splatters back. If a normally co-operative horse becomes extremely restless, give him the opportunity to relieve himself in a bedded stall.

     The timing of a farrier appointment can affect a horse's behavior.  If a particular horse's time to be shod comes just as his exercise buddies are being turned out, he may be thinking of running more than standing still. Although a horse should be expected to cooperate with fair demands any time, anywhere, it might make your farrier's job less pleasant if he has to shoe your horse when feed buckets are banging, stall doors are sliding open and closed, traffic in the aisle is bumper to bumper, or horses are bucking and twisting in a nearby arena or pen.

     Be sure to inform your farrier of any traumatic experiences your horse may have had that could affect his behavior during shoeing.  If your horse flipped over in the cross ties last week when you tried to vacuum him and has been nervous there ever since and that is where the farrier normally works, you'd better let him know.


Western Horseman has New Regular Feature - "The Fix-It Guy"

Beginning with the October 2000 issue, Western Horseman has started a new regular feature by my mate Richard Klimesh, "The Fix-It Guy".  You can read about it in Pat Close's opening editorial on page 12 and see the first installment, "Keeping Rubber Mats Together" on page 166.

Western Horseman invites readers of their magazine to send in problems for "The Fix-It Guy":

If you have a question regarding stable maintenance, send it to:

The Fixit Guy
Box 7980
Colorado Springs CO 80933




New Postings on the Roundup Page

Biting Prevention


Vices and Bad Habits

Speed Control

Speed Up

Slow Down

Fear of Water

Cribbing and Wood Chewing


Book News and Reviews

Maximum Hoof Power  review in October 2000 Quarter Horse Journal on page 126.


Our Recent Magazine Articles

Here's a roundup of the most recent magazine articles by the "Klim-Team", Richard Klimesh and Cherry Hill

November 2000, Horse & Rider
"Give Him a Peel" (Ergot Removal), p. 35
Winning Ways, "Ride Forward with Finesse" Horsemanship Pattern, p. 46
"Trailer Shopping Made Easy", p. 68

October 2000 Western Horseman
"Introducing the Fix-It Guy", p. 12
"The Fix-It Guy - "Keeping Rubber Mats Together", P. 166

October 2000 Horse & Rider

"Mouth Wash - Flushing the Mouth before Giving Oral Medication", p. 39
"Muckbusters - Cleaning a Stall and Manure Management", p. 44

September 2000 Western Horseman
"Selecting a Barn Site", p. 72
"The Klim Team", p. 102

September 2000 Horse & Rider
"Got Bots?", p. 37
"Horsekeeping on 2 Acres", p. 48
"The Cushion Question" (therapeutic saddle pads), p. 88

September 2000 Miniature Horse Voice
"Electric Fence - How it Works...How to Troubleshoot it"


Coming Attractions 

My training philosophies, catching a horse, winter riding, more foal training, and tips on buying and selling horses.


Cherry Hill doesn't do endorsements!

I don't accept payment to recommend or endorse any horse products in my articles, books or this newsletter.  I do, however, mention names of products that I am currently using and find satisfactory.  I do this to give you a starting point or help narrow the field.  Sometimes finding the right product or piece of tack is the beginning of the answer to a training or horsekeeping problem.

That's it for this month.

Keep your mind in the middle and a leg on each side.

Cherry Hill

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  2000 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

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