A farrier's role in a therapeutic case requires analysis of all of the variables a horse can face. Therefore, being able to adjust when needed is a key attribute in this type of footcare work. According to Leighton, Iowa, farrier Jeff Ridley, you must keep an Open Mind.

“You can’t get locked in on what worked for this horse or that horse,” Ridley says. “None of the horses have read the anatomy books and if they had, they wouldn’t all believe what they read.”

Obviously, Ridley says, therapeutic cases require a greater commitment of a farrier’s time. You can’t simply trim and shoe an injured horse and come back 6 or 8 weeks later and see how it’s doing.

“These horses will react to whatever you do, either positively or negatively,” Ridley notes. “That’s another reason you need to communicate with the owner. Check in more often, at least once a week. Call the owner. Ask how the horse is getting along. That builds trust. Keep the vet in the loop as well.”

Read more on the requirements of therapeutic work in the December 2013 edition of American Farriers Journal.