How do you use your tactile senses to help trim and/or shoe a horse?

A: I use tactile senses constantly while shoeing. If just trimming, I feel the contour of the hoof wall while working on the bottom of hoof. This saves me from checking repeatedly by eye. I don’t skip the eye reference, but this cuts down on the repeated switching of positions.

I always start my nails by feel. I hold the nail with my thumb and forefinger and lay the other three fingers against the hoof wall to feel the depth that I want to drive that nail. The last thing I do before nailing on a shoe is feel the sole parameter to make certain I will not add sole pressure with the shoe. I do the same to the hoof surface of the shoe for the same reason.

The final inspection of my clinches is also done by feel.

It’s not a good shoeing job if I don’t have a good feeling about it.

— Steve Stanley, Versailles, Ky.

A: Calm farrier, calm equine. The first few times with weanlings can take a while. I hold them by the hoof wall until they realize no harm will be done. This makes long-term hoof care much easier.

— Gary Spears, Granbury, Texas

A: First, I observe the horse owner and how they handle the horse. I also look for any children who may be around and whether they are well behaved. If the kids are good, the horses usually are, too. If not, you might have problems.

Second, I touch…

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