Sunday, March 21, 2010

Aidol's Story....... The New Farrier

Part 1

It was in November when I found myself facing the prospect of a new farrier. Having heard horror stories at the show barn I knew farriers are just like horse trainers. There are good ones AND there are bad ones and probably some in the middle. I was really worried about ending up with someone who didn't know what they were doing or one that wasn't kind to the horses. Either way would be a losing situation for me.

I figured the best way to find some one reputable was to ask those people that I knew from this area. For me that meant the people at the feed store. They were pretty much it for my contact with other horse people other than my friend, Joy Manning but her farrier wasn't taking on new clients.

Funny thing about the feed store was they directed me to their little bulletin board. That thing didn't give me much confidence. I was pretty sure that farriers posting cards to pick up clients were either new or had issues keeping clients. Either way there wasn't much hope of a farrier that would know about Arabian show horses there.

Sure there could be the possibility of an experienced farrier being "new" to the area so that would be a reason to post on a feed store board. Knowing how far farriers travel for clients I thought the odds of that were slim to none. I looked through the cards anyway but didn't take numbers.

I think I finally ended up with a number provided by one of the feed store clerks. This farrier was somehow connected to her and had good references. I'd learn later that references are only as good as the experience of the person giving them. As usual that lesson would be learned the hard way.

The day arrived for this farrier visit and he talked a good game. As we worked through the first couple of horses I felt a little more confident. The horses seemed to get along with the guy and their feet looked like I thought they should.

It was only when it came time to do Aidol's feet that the light bulb went on in my head. This guy turned out to be darn close to my worst nightmare.

I always warn people who handle my horses what their issues might be. I don't want anyone caught off guard or injured because I didn't give them necessary information. Any horse can have quirks and it's good to know what they are BEFORE you find them out for yourself. That way you can adapt your behavior to maybe ward off problems.

I told this guy right up front about Aidol's issues with having his feet picked up. As usual I went into great length because I wanted him to understand how important it was to deal with the horse THE HORSE'S WAY.

That meant instead of reaching over and grabbing a hoof, you needed to put your hand gently on his shoulder or hip (depending on front or hind) while talking to him and slowly run your hand down his leg. When you actually reach the foot and want the horse to lift it, you need a light cluck and the horse will readily accommodate the request.

I also told this guy what Aidol would do if he didn't follow my instructions. The horse would jump out of his skin. Fly backwards and try to escape in no uncertain terms. The fact Aidol had no history with this farrier only guaranteed the horse would be MORE concerned NOT less. Aidol would be wary just looking at this big hurken guy wanting to touch him, let alone pick up his feet.

The whole time I'm talking this guy is nodding his head. I'm getting the "Yes, Mam" treatment so I think the farrier understands. He asked no questions but I really thought he got it..............that is until he got near the horse.

This guy, with no warning, tries to bend down and GRAB Aidol's left front hoof. The horse's eyes bulged. His head flew straight up in the air as he flew backwards as fast as he could travel. The horse continued his backward flight until he hit the end of that lead and beyond. Then he started to fight to get free.

I flew back with him trying to get the horse under control despite the fact a searing pain shot through my hand. All I could think about was calming the horse and worrying about the rest later. Aidol didn't need this to become a major incident.

To be continued................

Getting Done


  1. I hate it when they smile and nod or yes mam you with zero interest in what you are saying. My current farrier and I have a deal about younsters or problem horse .I pay him on those ones by the hour (my suggestion not his) so he feels comfortable taking the time it takes. We have never had it cost more than a regular trim, because with the gorund rules laid out , he is not rushing and pushing and they seem to all do well

  2. Sometimes they think we 'women' are a little to over protective when it comes to dealing with our horses, I think. So they just barge in and do what they feel is the macho way. It's so important to find a caring talented farrier. We've been through some that were nightmares(like the guy who hit them with the rasp) etc. but thank goodness we now have a wonderful farrier who I wouldn't trade for the world. Live and learn.

  3. what a nightmare! i just love it when they smile at you while they're thinking 'sure, lady - this horse is just spoiled, but i know what i'm doing!' and then, disaster.

    i have been there too and, with 2 horses with pssm and one with shivers, it is a potential disaster every time. we once had a farrier who not only did a horrible job on their feet, but i once saw him give one of my most sensitive horses a good whack under his belly with the rasp for trying to pull his leg away! i hate to think what he did when i wasn't looking :-\

    i was terrified at the prospect of looking for a new farrier after moving to a new area where i didn't know anyone. i loved my previous farrier and he was able to recommend someone who turned out to be great; he, in turn, introduced us to our vet who we love. and his wife is even my dog's vet! he handles the horses so well i actually feel comfortable with him stopping in while i'm not home. that's saying A LOT! we really lucked out.

    hope this story has a happy ending. if not, i at least hope there's no permanent damage :-\

  4. Aww, hell. I KNEW it would wind up like that. Poor baby. He really needed to be terrified all over again....