Everything comes down to the feet, and we’re not just talking about legs. We rely on farriers to improve our horse’s hooves, help keep them sound and moving gracefully. It is a demanding and dangerous job to begin with so we horse owners should do everything we can to make the experience smoother and safer for everyone.
Here are some things you can do before the next visit:
- Train your horse to pick up his feet. Yup, this seems obvious but it’s one of the biggest complaints from farriers – horses who don’t pick up and or hold the leg up to be worked on.
- Tell your farrier about any cues you’ve taught your horse so your farrier can use the same ones.
- Be on time and ready. These folks keep very busy and are usually on a tight schedule, so be ready for your appointment.
- Have a horse handler present. Often the farrier knows the horse and is OK working alone, but don’t depend on that. He or she may need a second pair of hands to help keep a fidgety horse still while he’s being trimmed.
- Clean out the hooves so the farrier can see what he or she is working on and doesn’t have to spend time picking out manure.
- Make sure your horses legs are clean and dry when the farrier arrives. Wet and muddy legs can make for messy and unpleasant work conditions for your farrier.
- Apply fly spray so your farrier doesn’t get kicked because of a little (or not-so-little) insect. We suggest our water-based UltraShield line of course.
- Give your farrier a clean, safe, and well lit place to work. Busy aisles, inclement weather, and dark spaces can make it more difficult for your farrier to do their best work.
- Hoof conditioner will make trimming easier. Apply Hooflex one or two days before the farrier comes, not a half hour before – no one wants to hold onto a freshly-oiled hoof!
- Pay your farrier. Let’s rephrase that – pay your farrier when and how they ask to be paid. You’ll be more likely to see them again in 6 weeks!
- Once you find a good farrier for your horse, stick with him. He’ll understand you and your horse better the longer he works with you. Remember – it’s a team effort between you, the farrier and your vet!