Young horses that haven’t been shod before present a challenge to any farrier and if you get more than one of them on a given day or several in a given week, it can really affect how much work you can get done.   

Tommy Boudreau, a veteran farrier from Mineral Springs, Texas, has a system with young horses.  

Boudreau always starts with the left front foot, reasoning that most horses are more accustomed to being approached from the left side. He’ll approach with a rasp in his right hand.

  “I walk up and pet him, reach down the leg and get the foot picked up and pared out, nipped off and trimmed as quickly as I can,” he says. “If he’s jumping around, my nippers are in my back pocket, my hoof knife is in the boot on my apron, and if we move 20 feet down the barn aisle, I’m moving with him and still have everything with me because I can tuck my rasp under my right armpit. John Merino taught me that.”

  If he needs to, Boudreau will set the foot down and calm the horse. He’ll try to have a couple of different-sized shoes where he can reach them quickly.  

“I may grab a triple 0 and a double 0. I’ll stick those in my back pocket as well, sticking one heel of the shoe down into my pocket. Then I can trim the foot, rasp it, take a shoe out of my pocket and take a look for size — and get an idea about the shape it needs to be. Then I can go to the anvil and shape it,” he says.   “Lee Green taught me about using my hoof knife to measure the foot. I can lay it across the foot and when I go to the anvil I can lay my hoof knife on the shoe and make sure I have it the right width or length. This is a really handy trick,” he says. Read more of Boudreau's tips int he January/February 2013 issue of American Farriers Journal.