Q: How should unsafe horses be handled? Farriers, equine veterinarians and horse owners share their thoughts in a recent American Farriers Journal social media post.

"All owners need to make sure their horses can safely have their feet worked on. Horsemanship is slowly being lost. It is so unfair to the horse and your service people."

— Christine Collins, Weatherford, Texas

"I think a lot of horse owners immediately assume their horse is being “bad” when in actuality it’s pain related (i.e. sore stifles) that is making it difficult for them to stand for the farrier. I give my older off-the-track Thoroughbred a couple grams of Bute before trimming and he is much better."

— Casey Dyer, Greenlawn, N.Y

"Remember the two Ts - training or tranquilizer."

— Stephanie Dyches, Blackville, S.C.

"Every owner is responsible for the manners of their horse. If the horse has an issue, the farrier should be told in advance so you can work together. My first horse had a ringbone in front and hock disease behind. Every farrier understood before picking up a foot that she could not stand for long periods on three legs. My current pair stand like rocks, as they should. Manners for the farrier and the vet matter."

— Susan Geisel, Hogansville, Ga.

"Your horse is your responsibility. A responsible horse owner needs to ensure that it can be safely handled by the vet, the farrier and anyone else who may be working with it. If you purchase a horse that you cannot handle and you don’t have the know-how or the expertise to fix the presenting issues, get an experienced horse person or trainer to do it for you. If you can’t afford that, you should not have purchased a horse that was outside your experience level and you need to find a new placement. There is no excuse to put a farrier in danger because you chose to act irresponsibly. Farriers are not trainers. The job is hard enough on their bodies, there is no reason to increase the risk for harm."

— Serena Goth, Kamloops, British Columbia

"Hopefully the owner is standing with the farrier making sure their horse behaves. I always want to be involved."

— Cindy Hewitt, Stacey, Minn.

"We need to immediately recognize bad owners too and walk away. One needs to learn good business sense, as well as very good horsemanship skills when working with other people’s horses."

— Luke Steele, Benloch, Australia

"Unfortunately, there are still some old timers who still think the farrier should arrive, catch your horses, trim or shoe without any assistance, train your horse to pick up its feet, etc. They are always the ones who will not adhere to a schedule. Those owners should get rid of their horses and get out of the horse business. They have been left behind."

— Cheryl Millwood, Woodruff, S.C.

"prey animal in a confined space and cross-tied isn’t a good option for a claustrophobic horse. Then someone it may or may not know or trust grabs his leg and holds on. An alternative is to have a calm owner or handler hold horse in an open area while the farrier works. It’s not a magic solution, but it goes a long way to making it less scary and stressful."

— Linda Deppe, Pewaukee, Wis.

"The conditions under which horses are kept gets increasingly worse as the years go on — minimal turnout, harsh training methods to accelerate skill development, shortchanging appropriate preventive healthcare, and the list goes on. many horses have pain in their body, which increases the risk for the Farrier, but people chalk it up to behavior. If our feet hurt, we would struggle too. I do everything to support my farrier’s work so he can do his best work safely and the horses have a good experience. That involves paying my trainer to be there when he’s there, bringing in the vet to X-ray the foot so the farrier can better shape the foot, purchasing a sedative for yet another horse, and paying my trainer for 2 hours every 6 weeks to handle the horses for the farrier.

— Lisa Daigle, Campobello, S.C.