Strategies To Avoid Backyard Horse Issues

Farriers share their techniques for dodging common foot problems that tend to pile up with their novice owners

Pictured Above: Thrush and white line disease are among the most common problems that backyard horses have because of the less-than-ideal living conditions and failure to maintain a regular schedule. However, backyard horse owners are more likely to get involved with applying thrush treatments, add sand to the paddock or pick out the feet.

Caring for backyard horses can be difficult, sometimes because of the environment in which they are kept, or because some owners don’t maintain a regular hoof-care schedule because of the cost or a lack of horsemanship.

But there are ways to address the challenges.

Farrier Dean Moshier remembers a 4-H Club horse that had been ridden over the years by two young sisters. The horse largely was forgotten as the girls aged until the family decided to show the horse at an annual local fair and called Moshier about 5 weeks before the event. He first trimmed the feet, and then returned before the fair to shoe the horse at the family’s request.

“The first year, they never rescheduled after I put shoes on the horse. So this poor creature was going around the field trying to lose four shoes randomly and having four different lengths of feet,” Moshier recalls.

Farrier Takeaways

  • Shorter trimming rotations might not be desirable with flat feet, which are more common among unshod backyard horses.
  • Teaching backyard horse owners some basic hoof-care tasks to maintain their horses’ feet between visits can help avoid minor problems from escalating.
  • Warning clients that delays…
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Ron perszewski

Ron Perszewski

Ron Perszewski is a freelance writer and former associate editor of Ameri­can Farriers Journal.

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