Turn ’Em In, Teach ’Em Or Ignore ’Em?

Q. I recently attended a clinic (all names will be withheld due to professional courtesy) that was presented by a horseshoeing school instructor. During his presentation, he commented about running into many horses that had been neglected. Not just neglected feet but also left-on halters that were actually embedded in the horse’s face.

A ripple of remarks could have very quickly become a tidal wave of dissension among the ranks of the clinic’s attendees, but I think we all handled it rather well.

Remarks from the clinic attendees ranged from “Did you tell the horse owner how to improve his horse care techniques?” to “Did you turn the horse owner in to the authorities?”

The clinician said that he wouldn’t report such neglect cases mainly because he felt his “small-town” community would then refuse to bring any more horses to his school and it would ruin his business.

Another shoeing instructor (who was there as an observer — not as a clinician) disagreed and remarked that it is the duty of all horse-care professionals to look out for the horse.

Several other farriers said that he should have at least said something to the horse owner and inform them of the proper way to care for the horse.

One farrier mentioned that maintaining a “don’t-say-anything” approach only encourages his students to do the same and horses will continue to suffer because horse owners won’t see the error of their ways.

A farrier that I apprenticed with used to say things…

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