Horsemanship Skills are Key to Handling the Hind Feet

Ohio farrier says slowing down and listening to the horse are key to successfully get into the hind driving position

Farrier Takeaways

  • The farrier sets the tone for the shoeing visit before ever getting under the horse. Talking to clients and greeting the horse will put everyone
    at ease.
  • Picking up the hind foot starts at the hip. A gentle nudge is all that is needed to result in a subtle shift of weight to the opposite leg.
  • Initially, most horses lift the hind foot too high and too far under their body. Instead of fighting to pull the leg where you want it, give the leg a moment to relax and it will slowly drop down and back.

It’s a simple operation with a lot to discuss: the hind driving position. Farriers assume this position to trim hind feet and to pull and nail hind shoes.

In the traditional stance, we place the horse’s hind cannon bone over our inside thigh and prop the toe against our outside knee. When we use a hoof stand, the hind cannon bone still comes over our inside thigh, but now the toe is propped up in the cradle of the hoof stand. Despite the seeming simplicity of the maneuver, many farriers struggle with efficiently getting into the hind driving position. After years of teaching farrier students and mentoring other experienced farriers through ride-alongs, I have learned some techniques that I have found to be helpful; taking into consideration both farrier and horse conformation. In this article, I am presenting the traditional, as well as the hoof stand method, to successfully pick up…

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Kirk underschultz headshot

Kirk Underschultz

Kirk Underschultz is a farrier from Amanda, Ohio, who spent most of his career working in therapeutic shoeing. He recently transitioned to an only trim business.

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