Farriers' Roundtable

How do you handle the shoeing of an ill-tempered horse? 

- North Carolina Farrier

A. If you own a horseshoeing school, unfortunately, you learn a lot about dealing with owners and shoeing unwilling animals.

There are some owners that want you to shoe an animal without defending yourself or disciplining the horse. With this sort of person, we simply try to avoid working on the horse. 

There are customers on the other side of the fence that bring their own throw-rope and have a nickname for their twitch that was handed down by Grampa. We try to keep this type of owner away from the animal while it is being shod.

The best fix for a bad horse is training. Because of time constraints and the need to make a living, we don’t often have time to round-pen a bad horse. Also, when we do it for a customer, we charge $60 per hour, which isn’t an option for most shoeing school customers. 

So, you must take time to get a read on the horse’s personality.  

If a horse is scared, it has to be dealt with differently than a mean horse. With a scared horse, move slowly, stay calm and never react out of anger.

With the mean horse we try using a blindfold first. From there, we will use a nose twitch or a lip-chain. The person handling the horse needs to have the most experience with horses, as well as a good understanding about equine psychology and…

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