Cupping Hoof

Tips For Shoeing The Young Or Inexperienced Horse

Trainer shares how to teach a horse to let its feet

Part of your chosen career as a farrier involves shoeing young horses, or sometimes older horses that have never been shod. This can be a traumatic experience for the horse and, consequently, a dangerous job for you.

You have the right, of course, to expect that your clients have either taught, or had someone else teach, the horse to pick up his feet. Don’t be too surprised, however, if this is not the case.

In this situation, inform the owner that before you can shoe safely, the horse must be taught to pick up his feet and allow them to be handled. If they want you to do this, tell them it is a process, explain the process and charge them an appropriate fee for this training.

Why? Because you’ll be earning money for something you might otherwise have to teach anyway to protect yourself.

Handling Is Teaching

I believe that anyone handling a horse is also teaching that horse. We should try in a calm and supportive way to teach them to accept shoeing. Our goal here is to trim the feet and place four shoes on them, while the horse remains relaxed and we remain safe.

If our goal was merely to get the shoes on (and sadly this may be the case with some shoers and some owners), we could strap the horse onto a rotation table, turn it upside down and get the job done. We could also drug the horse in order to minimize the…

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