Horsemanship is a necessity for longevity and success as a farrier. It contributes to your safety and is the essence of understanding of horses. Without it, a farrier will have a short, unproductive career.
Horsemanship in its most basic definition is just that: horse-man-relationship. It is a journey rather than a destination. Horsemanship can be difficult to teach, in large part because some people just seem to have “it,” while others may work a lifetime with horses and never get “it.” There is a close relationship between horsemanship and safety as it pertains to farriers.
Don’t think you can man-handle a horse, because even the smallest ones are stronger than you. Avoid backing a horse into a “mental corner” using restraints that it is not accustomed to. They will come out fighting. Your handling skills need to persuade the horse to resist its fight or flight instinct.
It is important though, to know when to say when. While it should not be our job to train the horse to stand or pick up its feet, many such situations fall to us. Generally, when it is time for a restraint, it is time to call it quits. No horse is worth you suffering an injury.
The horse may lack handling or may be in pain and over reactive. The owner may be willing to work with the animal, or circumstances may require tranquilization. For liability reasons, always call a vet for drug administration.
Dean Moshier says some farriers…