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Horses want two basic things in life, peace and comfort. When experiences meet these criteria they are agreeable much of the time. This includes easily tolerating regular trimming and shoeing. But for some horses the recurring visits can be anxiety-provoking for the horse, which may show signs of impatience and nervousness, making the farrier’s handling more complex.
There are several reasons horses can become unnerved during farrier visits. This is a look at environmental, physiological and biological factors that contribute to a horse feeling anxious. Also included are suggestions for strategies for partnering with your clients and their horses to have an appointment book filled with calm horses.
Horses are naturally designed to be on high alert. As prey animals, their innate mission is to stay out of harm’s way. Unlike humans, horses do not analyze and contemplate the level of a proposed threat — they simply react by fighting or fleeing. This intense drive to avoid danger has allowed them to survive millions of years of evolution.
In the wild, horses have plenty of space to roam and escape from a perceived threat. Domestic horses are confined to paddocks and stalls. Feeling “closed…