Preparing for the Farrier: Part 1
- August 23, 2017
- Savanna Simmons
I visited with Doug and Jacob Butler of Butler Professional Farrier School in Crawford, Nebraska, earlier this year for an article in Tri-State Livestock New’s Horse Round-Up 2017. Read the story here. The Butler Family has an incredible amount of knowledge to share, and Jacob has composed a three-part series for Cavvy Savvy.
Often as farriers we assume that owners recognize their responsibility of teaching their horse to stand or take action when the horse doesn’t. However, I recognize with many first time horse owners I need to stop and take time to explain their role. Farriers are not responsible for training their horse. A farrier’s task is not easy and can be made harder with an unruly or misbehaved horse.
A farrier enjoys working for owners who have experience and want to do anything possible to make the job easier. Owners recognize and know the routine, anticipating what a farrier may need or how they can help. The owner will take action and decide appropriately how to discipline or reprimand a horse for unruly behavior.
I have divided a horse owner’s role in to three areas: before farrier appointment, during the appointment and after the appointment.
Before your appointment
First, if a horse never has to stand in one place for very long, it should be tied up for the length of a shoeing appointment. Some horses are naturally impatient and learn as they are tied up, they will survive and it isn’t the end. The horse recognizes through practice that it can stand, so when the farrier comes to trim or shoe it isn’t anything new. Since the farrier comes to your location, the horse should be tied where it will be worked on. It can be frustrating when a horse is nervous, acting like it has never had to stand very long.
Second, an owner should pick up their horse’s feet regularly in preparation for the farrier. As legs and feet are handled, feet are picked out as each foot is held up. Owners can observe the condition of their horse’s feet, check that shoes are secure and prevent a serious thrush infection. Teaching a horse to pick up its feet is part of good horse training. Younger horses need to establish good habits with consistent training to stand still for the length of time it takes for trimming or shoeing. It is easier to establish these habits of good behavior while horses are young.
Third, exercise the horse to encourage it to stand still. Traditionally horses were used for work and transportation. When a horse is ridden and used regularly, it will be happy to stand and not have to do anything. I have had an owner decide to work a horse in the middle of a shoeing appointment. This should be done prior to the appointment.
About Savanna Simmons
I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...