Be prepared for a visit by your farrier by following these tips:
- Have your horse(s) ready before they arrive. Get them out of the pasture and have them in a stall waiting or tied waiting when your farrier/vet arrives. Farriers sometimes run behind schedule. This is just part of working with animals; they don't run on our schedules. However, it is good practice to be ready for them at the appointed time.
- Make sure the horse(s) are reasonably clean. They don’t need a full bath, but hose and dry muddy feet, pick hooves and clean loose hair/dirt from the body.
- Have fly spray available and apply (if necessary) before they arrive.
- Have a place set up at your location for the farrier to work on your horse. This can be as simple as a hitching rail under a tree or in your barn aisle. It should be level, dry, well lit and if outside, preferably in the shade and/or next to a wind block. If shoeing is required, a power source should be readily available.
- Put your pets away. They can be a distraction for the horse and therefore harder on the farrier.
- If you have small children, have an extra person with you to hold the horse or watch the kids.
- Always have someone hold the horse; do not plan to have the horse tied when being worked on. It is safer if your horse is untied while being worked on.
- Do not allow additional horse traffic down the aisle or near the horse during the visit.
- Do not allow other horses to interact with the horse being worked on; do not allow them to smell each other.
- If the visit is near feeding time, try to coordinate so the horse isn't being worked on when grain is being poured/hay is being thrown.
- Don’t allow distractions like a tractor, a wheel barrow, etc to come by until your farrier has finished their work or is at a convenient stopping point. When someone is standing under a horse, it is not a good time to add commotion.
- For safety, stand on the same side as your farrier is working.
- Other distractions such as allowing the horse to eat grass while being worked on make the job more difficult due to weight distribution. The horse should be standing square, head off the ground and facing forward.
- Work on preparing your horse to stand quiet for a period of time and pick up feet in preparation for farrier visits. Anxious or fractious horses can create additional stress while being worked on. Hire a trainer if you need help – it is worth the money spent to have a horse that stands quietly.
- Be sure the halter fits well for the horse being worked on. A poorly fitting halter can give the horse additional room to move and may easily slip out of it. If your horse runs through the halter, try a bridle. Do not tie a horse with a bridle.
- Don't make your farrier or veterinarian ask you about payment. Be proactive and have payment ready or have an agreed upon payment plan.
Brought to you by the Minnesota Horse Council Education Committee;
the information is intended for guidance purposed only.