I’m looking for some tips to make my horses better for the farrier. My farrier of 8 years recently retired so I had a new one this last go round. Only one of my horses somewhat “behaved” - they were all fidgety and didn’t want to stand. I understand some of this is likely due to the new farrier just being new - he does things a little differently than the old farrier and tends to hold legs up longer than they were previously used to. But even my typically really good mare who has been worked on by a couple of different farriers over the last few years was pretty bad - moving around and yanking her feet away. My two young horses (2 yrs and 4 yrs) are always a little fidgety and the 2 yr old occasionally cops an attitude and yanks her feet away.
I have one specific mare who has always been a huge challenge though now she will at least stand for a trim. She gets sedated for shoes. Because of her, I have spent a significant of time working with everyone on holding still with their feet and having manners about it. The real issue is they are fine with me and a several of the people I routinely ride with don’t have problems either. I can pick up and hold feet for as long as I need to, bang on them, move the leg around without dropping it, stretch legs out etc - both tied and not tied, in the barn and loose in the pasture with all the other horses.
They all know as soon as I reach down to pick up a foot, they are expected to stand still and let me do what I need to do. Everyone has been hobble trained, I can slip a rope around a foot and they will give to pressure (FYI great to teach as one of the horses somehow managed to get herself tangled in her lead rope this summer - to the point she knocked herself down (still haven’t figured that one out) but she went still when it wrapped around her foot and I was able to get her loose without any damage).
I just don’t understand why this doesn’t translate to better behavior for the farrier. They always have full bellies. Exercising before has never made much of a difference and makes my bad mare even worse. My old farrier was very good with everyone and was pretty patient with the young one. The new one seems to be too and I’m very happy with him. Good farriers are really hard to find in my area and I want to be the client they look forward to seeing with well-behaved horses and not the one they fire because of ill-behaved horses. Plus I would be horrified if my horses ever hurt the farrier.