Why Owner Horse Handling Is Critical To Your Shoeing Success

Forging and shoeing skills mean nothing to the horses you work with

Like medical doctors suffering from poor bedside manners, Pat Parelli says some shoers need to improve their anvil-side manners. This means developing rapport and confidence with both the horses you shoe and their owners.

Having once worked as a farrier’s helper, the well-known horse trainer and equine behaviorist from Pagosa Springs, Colo., has a solid understanding about  what it takes to shoe horses.

“A good farrier has to be a great horse handler, be good in dealing with the hoof and have excellent forging skills,” he told attendees at the recent Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium in Louisville, Ky. “But if you are a five-star blacksmith at the anvil and forge — yet poor when it comes to handling horses or doing hoof work — you have a serious problem.

“The horse really doesn’t care about your forging or hoof skills. The only thing that matters to him are your horse-handling skills.”

Starting The Day Wrong

Parelli says it’s typical for a shoer to show up early in the morning at a barn to find the client still in her bathrobe and floppy slippers. This usually means the horses haven’t been fed or brought in from the pasture.

“As a result, the horse’s mental attitude is stirred up when you arrive,” he says. “There’s no prior preparation of the horse and the feet haven’t been picked.

“While it may seem like the problem is the fault of the client, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the…

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Frank lessiter

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has spent more than 50 years in the agricultural and equine publishing business. The sixth generation member to live on the family’s Centennial farm in Michigan, he is the Editor/Publisher of American Farriers Journal.

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