Today was farrier day both at the barn and at home. The horses haven’t been trimmed up much during the winter and I like some of them to have shoes on for the riding season so I had my farrier, Ricky Flicek, come out today to trim everyone up. This way their feet will be in good shape for Ricky to put shoes on them in the beginning of May.
Before Ricky was due to arrive at the barn, my friend’s daughter, Natasha, and I turned Joon and Tío loose in the indoor arena to run off some of their pent-up energy. With our March thaw and freeze, the pastures are very icy and the horses are not able to run and play outside to work off their exuberance. It’s always a good thing to have them ready and willing to stand calmly for the farrier!
As he was trimming their feet, I asked Ricky what would be some good tips to give horse owners and/or handlers to get their horses ready for a visit from the farrier. His first and foremost answer was to teach the horse to stand still, which is part of basic ground manners. It makes his job so much easier if he’s not constantly having the hoof pulled out of his hand, not to mention the fact that it can be dangerous for him to be underneath a moving horse.
He also suggests that the handler hold the lead rope close to the halter instead of 3 or 4 feet down the lead, which gives the horse’s head too much room and leverage. What people don’t seem to realize is that when the horse is moving his head around, his weight is shifting on and off of the foot that the farrier is holding. Also, keep your horse’s nose off of the farrier’s back - Ricky has said that so many people say to him “my horse doesn’t bite” but he’s been bitten before by many of those same horses!
One last thing that Ricky mentioned was not to be feeding grain to other horses in the barn while he’s trying to trim or shoe a horse. As good as a horse can usually be, when they see others getting grain and they aren’t, it’s very hard to concentrate on standing still.
I always have a good visit with Ricky while he’s working on my horses’ feet; I thoroughly enjoy his time here. Before he leaves I always try to line up the next visit as a courtesy to him, telling him what horses will need to be trimmed and which ones will need shoes so he can plan accordingly.