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Many horses can be difficult or dangerous if the farrier is unable to develop a rapport with them through empathy and proper handling. Basic horsemanship skills are crucial for avoiding injury to both horse and human, as well as for becoming a successful farrier. Being able to develop good relationships with the horses you work on not only ensures your safety but also makes your job much more enjoyable.
James Wyatt Weatherford, a horseman and professional farrier in Chandler, Ariz., has been shoeing horses for 40 years. He built his reputation as a farrier who had the horsemanship skills to handle horses that some people call “man-eaters” — the horses that other farriers don’t want to or can’t deal with.
“Yet those same horses desperately need someone who can properly and safely take care of their feet,” Weatherford says. “They need hoof care, proper nutrition and health care just like any other horse. However, if you can’t catch them or they are fractious and dangerous, you can’t provide that care.”