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Re: Stableizer/Dangerous to shoe horses

Lif Strand <>  said:

> Question:  Same farrier all along?

I'd be inclined to agree.  I think the key may be some unobvious detail
about the way the horse is being handled by the farrier.

My horse was sold to me with the statement that I should tell the
farrier *not* to use his foot stand on this horse's front legs because the
horse would back off the foot stand and panic.  Sure enough, my original
farrier had this exact same experience.  Stand is a little too high, horse
gets tired and tries to back off the stand, foot gets stuck, horse panics
and rears backward to get off the stand.  It was a scarey thing to watch,
and very upsetting for horse and owner alike!  So, it was just a standing
rule:  don't use the foot stand on this horse.

When I changed farriers last year I repeated this warning.  The farrier
humored me for a few visits, then proceeded to use the foot stand--a
big tall one he uses on all the warmbloods he shoes--on my 15 hand
Morgan with no problems whatsoever.  It turns out *all* of this 18 year
old horse's previous farriers had been making the same mistake with
the stand.  Basically, they put it too straight in front of him in a
that made it acutely painful for the horse to keep his leg there for any
length of time, so he'd try to back off, get stuck, and the panic would
ensue.  My new farrier puts the stand way off to the side, actually past
the other front leg so that my horse's leg is crossing in front of the
other leg, at the angle that my horse's naturally crooked front leg
conformation dictates.  Used properly, my little black horse has no
problems with the stand at all.

I'd be trying to figure out what the farrier the folks who had no trouble
with the horse was doing that these other farriers are not.  Is there
any pattern to the explosions?  Always left?  Always right?  Front?
Rear?  As leg is being lifted?  Put down?  After n minutes?  At a
particular step?  It may be just the tiniest unobvious thing.

It could be that the horse has some kind of subtle chronic pain
caused by a training injury that the farrier's exaggerated leg
manipulations aggravates.  Maybe a therapist experienced in
stretching could diagnose the configuration that triggers pain.
(Or, at last resort, even a vet! :-)

I won't tell you about the time my yearling filly was acting up in
the crossties and I more or less beat her into standing still ("This
horse has to learn how to behave!")  only to discover the puncture
wound in her hip right underneath where I was trying to brush.  She
hadn't picked that day to fidget and threaten because she was onery,
but because she hurt.  The only way to stand the shame is to
realize it is mistakes like that that eventually turn you into some
semblance of a horseman.

Linda B. Merims
Masschusetts, USA

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