Ever wondered why your farrier is a bit, well, grumpy? The following things could have something to do with it...
1. You’re late for your appointment
Farriers have a busy schedule and someone not turning up on time throws it all out. Anyway, being late is just rude and disrespectful. Don’t do it. If you can’t make the appointment so someone at your yard is going to be holding your horse for you while he’s shod, make sure they’re clear about what time they’re needed.
2. Your horse is still in the field
See above. If the horse isn’t actually ready to be shod, it’s no different to you being late.
3. Your horse is filthy
OK, so a lot of horses live out, and yes, there’s a slight tendency towards rain and mud in the UK in autumn. So get to the yard ahead of your appointment, brush off your horse’s legs, pick out his feet and wipe them clean with a dry towel. You wouldn’t go to the dentist without cleaning your teeth first, would you? This is no different.
4. Your horse has got wet legs
You may have thought washing the mud off your horse’s legs or giving him a proper bath before shoeing was a good idea — but farrier’s rasps are designed to work on dry feet, and wet hooves can blunt them, plus wet hooves retain moisture so the shoeing isn’t as accurate. And farriers don’t want to have to go to their next client with wet trousers! Again, the soggy British weather has a lot to answer for, but if you’re able to give your farrier a dry horse and a dry area to work with, you’ll soon become his/her favourite client.
5. You’ve read some articles about horse’s hooves and now think you’re an expert
Maybe you’ve read something about how all horses are better off barefoot. Maybe you’re convinced your horse needs remedial shoeing. Good luck with convincing your farrier that any of this is necessary, unless the advice is coming from an expert like your vet. Farrier train for years to get their qualifications, so they should be able to recommend what’s best for your horse’s feet.
6. You’ve completely ignored all the helpful advice you were given at your last appointment
Your farrier thinks it would be better for your horse’s hooves if your horse came in at night instead of living out full-time. You think that’s a great idea — only what with family and work commitments, you wouldn’t actually have time to ride if you did that. So the horse stays out, and your farrier gets grumpier. Smile a lot, offer to make him/her loads of cups of tea, and change the subject every time it comes up. Or if you’re serious about improving your horse’s hooves, act on his suggestions before he comes next time.
7. Your horse has just kicked him or trod on his/her foot.
The first time your horse does this, most farriers will probably groan a bit and then get on with their job, while you apologise profusely. But if it happens repeatedly, then it’s time for you as the owner to work on your horse’s manners and/or confidence as appropriate. It’s not the farrier’s job to train your horse to stand politely to be worked on. And if your horse won’t do so, then you may find yourself looking for a new farrier…
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