Should Farriers Sedate Horses for Hoof Care?

Q. Should farriers sedate clients’ horses for hoof care is a continuing question in the industry. Farriers, equine veterinarians and horse owners share their thoughts in a recent American Farriers Journal social media post

“I have a new pony who has a lot of anxiety. She hasn’t always been good for my farrier. I am working on her reactions to things. She is now on Regu-Mate, and I gave her a half dose of Trazodone yesterday for the farrier. She is better each time.”

— Renee Voshell Binkley, Middletown, Del.

“I’ve witnessed a 2-year-old Thoroughbred that had been drugged so much during her first year for her feet that she was totally cooked. You should only use sedation in emergency situations. Not as a Band-Aid for poor horsemanship.”

— Gayle Dickson, Shepperton, Australia

“I have a rescue horse that had bad experiences with farriers, so I give the Dorm. I can’t put anything in his mouth either. Sometimes it just takes time. I’m not getting my farrier hurt. He’s awesome.”

— Sherry Ferell-Esquivel, Auberry, Calif. 

“It is illegal in most states. And you are totally liable if things go bad. Have seen several shoers kill horses over the years.”

— Dr. Shawn Frehner, Las Vegas, Nev.

“It’s up to the owner of the horse to train them correctly. I had one with degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis, and the last 12 months his pain became worse. My farrier worked with him, not against, and we had no need to sedate. Farriers…

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