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How to Deal with Softhearted Clients and Spoiled Horses

Farriers offer advice on how to break bad habits of both owners and horses


Pictured Above: When clients allow their horses to be pushy with humans, they are allowing them to be rude and dominant, Aili Sundberg says. Horses have rules they live by in their social group. Intruding horses are kicked and bitten.

Farriers are generally prepared to deal with just about any situation they are faced with in terms of the horse’s behavior — determining whether it’s scared, nervous, inexperienced, in pain or spoiled — and having a strategy to successfully handle that horse. Sometimes the client is more challenging than the horse, especially a softhearted client with a spoiled horse.

It may be difficult to do what you have to do with that horse without these clients “firing” you because they think you are abusing their horse. What are the appropriate discipline techniques for farriers to use?

Often the farrier must diplomatically try to make the client aware of the fact that horses do sometimes need to be corrected, disciplined or re-trained. It might be necessary to help owners learn how to handle their spoiled horse, and enable the owner to be part of a re-training process so the horse respects the owner and has better manners for a farrier.

Aili Sundberg, a farrier in British Columbia who recently moved to Hawaii, says this is a problem she is very passionate about.

“This is a touchy subject among farriers because we don’t always know how much force we are allowed to use with a bad horse, what our tactics should be…

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Heather Smith Thomas

Heather Smith Thomas is a freelance writer based in Salmon, Idaho. She has been writing books and articles for nearly 50 years.

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