Information is important to any decision-making process. It’s particularly critical when trimming and shoeing a horse.

Illinois farrier Steve Sermersheim considers a number of factors before tending to feet.

“The horse’s job is going to determine how I trim and shoe it, and how often I’m going to shoe it,” he told attendees of Saturday’s D.L. Schwartz Farrier Supply clinic in Berne, Ind.

Age and how the horse goes are important to consider, as well.

“How old a horse is very important,” says Sermersheim, who is owner and director of the Midwest Horseshoeing School in Divernon, Ill. “The older a horse gets, the sorer it gets.”

Sermersheim watches a new horse on multiple surfaces when it’s lame.

 “If I’m seeing a new horse, I want to see it go before I even touch its foot,” he says. “When I watch it go, I might pick up on a problem. If I touch it before I watch it go, I might be that guy who causes a problem.”

Another area Sermersheim considers is body score.

“It drives me crazy that we don’t look at the whole horse,” he says. “As farriers, we look at the feet first. I catch myself doing it, too. I get asked why I consider body score. If the horse is out of shape, it probably doesn’t have good feet. If the horse is in nice shape and muscled up, it probably has good blood flow and good feet.”