With Your Farrier
© 2009 Cherry Hill
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.
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.
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
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,
It is unnecessary to fight a horse.
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
to hold young stuff if it is their first time or so for trimming.
DON'T feel offended if your offer is rejected.
have plenty of fly repellent on hand.
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
DO pay attention to your horse's
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
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 ©