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You Can’t Hurry Horsemanship

Horsemanship is a difficult subject to tackle in magazine articles or conference presentations. I feel like it is impossible to explain to the uninitiated what horsemanship is in a 30-minute presentation. It would only serve to confuse.

I am disappointed in what appears to be a forgotten fact — as professional farriers, we are HORSEshoers, not HOOFshoers. It is this erroneous focus that gets so many young people started off incorrectly and serves to virtually guarantee their sooner-than-later failure. I’ve witnessed a precipitous drop in even the most basic levels of horsemanship skills among young farriers today, while — not surprisingly — witnessing what appears to be an exponential rise in serious, career-ending injuries to some of these same young people.

I believe the rush into what seems to be “quick money” among farrier students is the same attitude that gets so many of my horse clients in trouble. These clients are so eager to “get in the saddle” that they short-cut proper foundational preparation in the young horse. Many novice farriers won’t take the time to build horsemanship skills, but they may be forced to take the time to recover from broken legs, hands, backs and fractured skulls. Some are never able to recover because they are paralyzed or killed from a kick to the head or crushed under the weight of an unruly horse. Here’s the catch — the horse telegraphed all the way from Hong Kong what it was going to do, but the inexperienced owner or…

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James-wyatt-weatherford

James Wyatt Weatherford

James Wyatt Weatherford is a professional farrier and horseman based in Chandler, Ariz. He’s been a farrier since 1975. His Facebook page has hundreds of posts on equine behavior and farrier science. He returns all of his phone calls.

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