Friday, March 28, 2008

My horse's farrier issues

In my last post about today's farrier visit, I mentioned my horse's past farrier issues. He's been pretty good about it since he came to Denver, but it has only been since spring of 2007 that he started tolerating the farrier at all.

When we rescued Panama at 11 months old, he had never been seen by the farrier. His first farrier visit was within the first month or two, and he did fine.

His second farrier visit was another matter entirely. I've heard bits and pieces of the story, so this is what I think happened:

This was when Panama was a little over one year old, so he had started getting a bit of an attitude from not being gelded. He didn't want to submit to the farrier, so the farrier twitched him.

Remember how I said my horse doesn't react well to force? Well, as you can imagine the twitching didn't go over so well. The farrier still wasn't able to get Panama's feet done, and at one point he even reared up and kicked my brother-in-law in the face. Basically all that was accomplished was to create in Panama a fear of farriers.

For months after that, Panama wouldn't let a farrier so much as come near him. He turned into a crazy horse as soon as he saw their tools. Then in March 2007 we happened to be there for a farrier visit. I stood at his head and spoke soothingly to him the entire time, and the for the first time in months a farrier was able to get three out of four feet done.

The next farrier visit — which we weren't present for — went well too, but I like to think that it was my influence that helped him turn that corner. As I mentioned before, Panama responds very well to coaxing, and I think that March was the first time anyone had attempted anything like that with him during a farrier visit.

I found a good farrier shortly after bringing Panama to Denver, and I haven't had any problems with him since. Although he still doesn't like the farrier's tools, he seems to like the farrier, who is very patient and attentive. I also think he feels comforted by my presence when I hold him for the farrier.



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