For some horses, a farrier appointment is full of fear and anxiety. They're difficult to hold and keep calm making the experience a traumatic one for the horse and a stressful one for the owner and farrier. Today's article features important and useful tips to make this necessary task an easier one.
As a farrier it's important recognize subtle signs as they're a predictor for how the horse will react. Watch for tension in their belly and stress in their eyes. Take it slow, and if you see the horse you're working on is becoming agitated, move them so they can shift their focus.
As owners, be sure to spend some time around your horse's legs, picking up their hooves and holding them for a bit of time and even simulate rasp movements. You want your horse to be comfortable with their legs being touched and played with.
"In the end my goal is for horses to allow anyone, in any area, to pick up and handle their hooves for cleaning, doctoring, trimming, rasping, nailing and even hot shoeing. With my young horses I focus on these basics and include them in every session. If I’m riding, for example, each time I dismount I walk around and pick up all four hooves and hold them for a bit. When possible, I simulate rasp strokes and even the pounding of the nails by tapping their hooves with my hands."
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