Hoof Health Hinges on Dynamic Climates

Ever-changing environment can leave your clients’ horses struggling to adapt

Pictured Above: Excessive moisture in the environment the horse lives in can promote thrush, white line disease and loosen clinches on shoes.

Farrier Takeaways

  • Managing healthy hooves is as much about establishing solid relationships with clients as it is about learning the technicalities of the trade.
  • Because the climate and type of footing that horses perform on can vary dramatically, it’s critical to study the horse’s movement and make trimming/shoeing decisions based on the horse as much as the environment.
  • Changing shoe sizes might help prepare a horse for sudden environmental shifts. A horse that is shod in a 1 or 2 in a given environment might need a larger or smaller shoe, depending on whether it is moving to a wet or a dry climate.

After a client invests $40,000 on footing for their arena, it’s hard — maybe impossible — to convince them it’s ruining their horse’s feet. Uxbridge, Ontario, farrier Dave Dawson had a client express concern that their horses were frequently tripping and stumbling. The client also complained that their veterinary and farrier bills each increased by 25%. Dawson grabbed a handful of the footing consisting of felt pad mixed with sand. It felt like sandpaper.

“I explained that it was a footing issue,” he says. “Immediately there’s a defense mechanism that comes into play and that is, ‘We are not changing the footing. We just spent so much money. It’s your job to figure out the feet.’”

Because of examples like this, Dawson likens farriers…

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Katie navarra

Katie Navarra

Katie Navarra is a freelance writer who draws from her experiences owning and showing horses, and inter­viewing the industry’s leading pro­fessionals.

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