As the old adage goes, ‘no hoof, no horse’. Every equestrian knows the absolute truth of this statement which makes your farrier one the most important professionals in your horses life.
Your farrier is a very busy person, travelling long distances each day to trim and shoe the horses of multiple clients.
As an owner, it is your responsibility to do all you can to assist them to do their job well. Here are our top 5 tips to make the farrier's job easier.
If you are on a tight schedule to make it to work after your early morning appointment you might think you are too busy to properly clean your horses hoofs.
But chances are that your farrier has appointments straight after yours and doesn’t want to spend a few minutes wiping the mud off your horses lower legs and hooves and picking out caked feet.
A quick hose down and pick of all four hooves beforehand will be much appreciated by your farrier.
It is a lot easier for your farrier to do their job to a high standard if they have a flat, dry area to work. No one wants to stand out in the rain getting wet and cold, particularly when they have a long and busy day ahead.
A flat surface is necessary because it makes it much easier for your horse to balance on three legs. A flat surface also makes it easy for your farrier to check his trimming is even and to assess any gait problems if necessary.
Your farrier is there to trim and/or shoe your horse, not to train them to stand still and behave themselves. Extra time spent with a fidgety and restless horse will make them late for their next client.
If you know that your horse is difficult for the farrier then you can always ask for them to allocate extra time to work on acceptance and relaxation with the farrier.
For your horses welfare you should stick to one farrier and a regular shoeing or trimming schedule.
If you leave too much time before appointments the excess growth in hoof length can add huge amounts of pressure to the soft tissue in your horses limbs.
Keep things easy by booking your appointment in the same time slot each time or discuss your next appointment time at the end of each visit.
You cannot leave hoof maintenance purely up to the farrier. To maintain health and soundness and make each visit easier on your farrier you need to maintain excellent hoof care practices between appointments.
Ideally, you should pick your horses hooves daily and check for any issues like stone bruising, chips or abscesses. Contact your vet or farrier for advice if you have any concerns.
A supplement in their feed, as well as hoof oil, may help to increase hoof strength and health, helping to keep your horse happy and sound.