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Training Your Horse For The Farrier

Aug 8, 2008
One of the most important aspects of your horses care is to see to their hoof care. In order to receive proper care from a farrier you must give your horse a certain amount of training so as to make his job easier and make it easier on the horse in the bargain. There are so many horses that snatch thier feet away and fidget, sometimes actually leaning their weight on the farrier. Then you have the extremely untrained horse that will kick out at a farrier. This wastes time and money for him and is very embarrassing to the horses owner.

Finding a good farrier is a job in itself. If your horse is untrained and gives a lot of trouble while handling their feet a good farrier will not give you the time of day, or he will charge you much more so that he doesn't loose money on the added time it takes him to trim and shoe your horse. An answer for some is to sedate their horse but a good horse owner will not use sedation as the permanent answer.

It is the responsibility of the owner to train the horse to willingly allow the farrier to work on their feet, lifting his foot to the farrier. It is best to start from a colt with tending to his feet and lifting them every day from the beginning so that it is a natural thing for him or her. If the horse is already older and still untrained then training can be done fairly quickly by being patience and not asking for too much too soon.

The first session of training should be anywhere from five to twenty minutes twice a day. If you don't have time for two sessions then once a day will also give some results, but will end up taking much longer. Work with the horse untied as tieing him could cause him to panic. Begin with the front legs and rub him on the neck. Slowly make your way down the shoulder and if he is okay with that then keep preceding to the foreleg and eventually to the hoof.

Keep repeating this procedure for a couple of days and then on the third day start to try to lift his leg up by tickeling the back side of the foot. This usually causes the horse to lift his foot voluntarily but you may have to try and lift it yourself. After the horse finally gives you his foot, you may want to lean in to his shoulder a bit to encourage him to shift his weight to the remaining legs for balance. This shifting will feel more secure for him and he will be less likely to get upset. If the horse tries to take his foot from you, hang on for dear life. Don't give in and stay close to his body. Putting the foot back on the ground needs to be your decision not his and he must understand that. Wait until he is relaxed before you place the hoof back down.

Its simple really. Just keep repeating this until you can take his foot and stretch it forward just as a farrier would do. Repetition is the key and doing all this slowly and matter-of-factly as possible. Then get others to come and lift his foot in the same way until he is comfortable with different people coming to lift his leg. By the time the farrier comes to trim and shoe your horse you will have already desensitized your horse to having his legs handled.
About the Author
Beth is the webmaster of Posh Pampered Pets. If you have any questions regarding Horse Supplies or Posh Pampered Pets , please feel free to call 979-221-7251 or email info@poshpamperedpets.com
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