Farrier Tom Ryan says there are ways around most problems, as long as the farrier has the time and technical ability.
“With a youngster, trim him the first couple of times, then shoe him in pairs. Put fronts on one week and hinds the next. Don’t try and do it all at once, because their concentration spans are short.”
Obviously, Tom says, some horses object to the nailing process.
“Some will accept quite a high level of hammering, others are more ticklish. So you might have to change your style – tap, tap rather than bang, bang.
Tom believes it is often a good idea to let the horse have frequent rests.
“Put three nails in, then let him put his foot down for a while,” he says.
“It’s a bit like dentist’s chair syndrome. He’s drilling away until you think you can’t stand any more, then he lets you have a break and you feel much better.”
Owners must also play their part, explains Tom, beginning with providing a safe, level surface on which to stand the horse. Tom will not shoe without someone present.
If you know your horse is likely to be difficult, then warn the farrier and be prepared to pay an hourly rate if necessary, so that he can take enough time.
Sometimes, it is also better to get your vet to sedate the horse. But, on the whole, Tom believes that sedation may only be necessary as a last resort for safety’s sake.