Equine Behavior & Training
Nothing makes me dread the day ahead quite like knowing I have a very difficult animal to work with. Horses, donkeys, mules and ponies can be extremely dangerous (or even deadly) if not properly trained and desensitized to hoof handling and trimming or shoeing. Sometimes owners acquire new animals with unknown histories, and sometimes behavioral problems are long-standing and chronically problematic. In any case, it is very important to let your hoof care provider know that your horse might have an aversion to hoof handling.
In some situations, a professional trainer should be used because the behavior is really out of control. In other situations, the owner can work with the horse daily on picking up and holding the feet calmly or accepting the hoof trimming tools. It is always a good idea to tell your farrier or trimmer that your animal needs additional training in this department. Extra time may need to be scheduled to keep the rest of the day on track, or sometimes these difficult animals should be scheduled at the end of the day. If you own such an animal, please be patient, honest, and dedicated to a solution! Veterinarians can be present to sedate the horse if the behavior is extreme. Drugs such as Dormosedan or Xylazine are generally very safe and help ensure everyone stays safe.
Serious injuries can occur to the horse owner, the handler, and the hoof care provider if horses aren't properly trained and desensitized. Always be sure to provide a safe environment to work in that is free of clutter and loud noise. You may love the country music radio station but this can be a distraction to the horse while he needs to be calm and focused. Lawn mowers, children on bicycles, dogs, etc. all can create a stressful environment for the horse at trimming time.
Yes this is my arm, and yes that
is a hoof print on it...
This is my broken finger tip caused by another training deficiency.
Equine Owner Requirements
1. Please be ON TIME for appointments! 9 times out of 10, I arrive early. Have your horse caught, feet picked out, fly sprayed, haltered and ready to go.
2. Your horse needs to be trained to stand quietly and peacefully for hoof handling. Rearing, kicking, striking, twirling in circles, calling to buddy horses, can't be fly sprayed, won't lift hooves, leans, jerks, pulls, yanks......all of these behaviors are extremely dangerous and exhausting for everyone involved. I will deny services when these behaviors are preventing a safe working experience. Veterinary presence with sedation is an excellent choice for unruly animals.
3. Apply adequate fly spray in the summer months and have ample shade available. This is West Tennessee guys. No one wants to stand in the blaring sun in 98 degree heat in August. Your horse doesn't either! Fans are great but not required. I usually bring my own so an electrical outlet is also helpful. In the winter wet months, a nice dry firm area free of mud and rain is needed.
4. Please have loose dogs contained and any distractions kept to a minimum. Horses usually stand better with less distractions.
5. Full payment at the time of service is customary policy. Thank you! :)