When the owner takes an active role in hoof care the farrier and, ultimately, the horse are the beneficiaries. However, it can be difficult to get that buy-in with novice horse owners because many of them are new to owning horses and inexperienced in their understanding of equine care and handling.
Tommy Boudreau, a farrier in Mineral Wells, Texas, says that when he works with new owners’ horses for the first time, they often ask the same question: How often do the horses need to be trimmed or shod? He says this is the best opportunity for you to take on the role as the footcare expert.
“I can start helping them learn more about hoof care,” he says. “I visit with a new client and discuss issues like the horse’s job and how it might mean we need to shoe performance horses more frequently than backyard horses.”
Tia Nelson, a veterinarian and farrier in Helena, Mont., says that during the first few shoeings, owners need to know why the things farriers ask them to do are important.
“We ask them to look at feet and legs, and make sure there aren’t any lumps, bumps, cuts, swellings or lameness,” she says. “Unless the owner checks the feet, he or she won’t know if there is anything wrong.
“They can reduce the risks for problems, so there is a payoff — an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. They can see a small problem before it…