Farrier Steve Foxworth and assistant Matt Lamoreaux

Shoeing in an area in which the horse does not feel closed in or trapped helps to de-escalate a horse’s natural prey instincts to flee.

Proven Strategies for Calming Nervous Horses for Hoof Care

Simple techniques can make footcare an easier task

Farrier Takeaways

  • Horses might have had a bad experience with a farrier, but they are not naturally afraid of farriers.
  • Farriers who have adopted a partnership mindset have a good quality of life because the horse and human client are comfortable with them.
  • There is no substitute for spending time learning about horse behavior.

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.

Natural Instincts

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…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all American Farriers Journal content and archives online.

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.

Top Articles

Current Issue

View More

Current Issue

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings