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  1. #1
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    Default Please give me the words to say to my farrier

    Little bit of background. I've used this farrier for five years. He is the only one who has ever shod my appy mare. I was satisfied until the last two times he shod her when I noticed that her almost round feet were fast becoming narrow. Her heel was narrow. Her frog looked long and narrow and then to top it off she started forging. This mare nine years old has NEVER forged before. I was going to talk to him about it the last time he came to shoe but when he pulled her shoes we found whiteline disease and I was so horrified that I didn't mention the other.

    Now I've been treating her feet for seven months and the wld is gone. Her feet are absolutely beautiful, almost round, wide heel, lovely wide frog. Rode her barefoot day before yesterday and nary a hint of forging. I...want...her..feet..to... stay.. like.. this but I cannot keep her bare. We ride on too many rocks.

    My blacksmith is a good friend and I love him but I can't let him murder my horses feet. When I mentioned the forging before he swore he wasn't doing one thing different but I know he was. I hate to fire him but if he can't do better then I have no choice.

    Now what do I say to him? I want the feet to stay this wide! I want the heel and frog to stay JUST like this? OR?

    What does it sound to you that he is doing to my horses feet? Leaving too much toe? Pinching the heel in?
    He often rasps toes off from the front, does that sound wrong?

    Somebody please give me some ammunition so I can at least sound like I know what I'm talking about so I can take him on Monday when he comes to put the first shoes she's had in seven months on.

    Sadly I even suspect that the wld came about because of the crappy shoeing jobs.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  2. #2
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    Get hoof boots for riding on rocks. Then you don't need shoes.



  3. #3
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    I'm not anti-shoe...but it sounds like she's doing well right now barefoot--who has been trimming her during this period? Same person?
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  4. #4
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    If boots don't work for you, I would tell your farrier pretty much what you told us, minus the history of course. Point out that the concerns you had prior to discovering the WLD (narrow hoof, forging) have gone away and you're very happy with her hooves bare. Ask him how he will maintain that health with shoes, especially in regards to the issues you had.

    If he's unwilling or unable to give you an answer on that, you may want to consider finding a new farrier. Communication is key and he should have a theory behind what he is doing, even if it's a pretty basic one. Of course, even with a good idea of the theories behind what he is doing he may fail in practice and then you'll probably have to find someone else. Hopefully things will stay nice and healthy though.

    ETA since we've had a couple of posts encouraging you to keep her barefoot... Before you think she can't stay that way, take a look at the trim. While many farriers do a good barefoot trim, IME there are also quite a few who carve out a lot of sole and just generally don't do the trim it takes for a horse to stay sound over harder terrain without shoes. It might be something to look into if you're concerned about how she will do in shoes.



  5. #5
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    Farriers are difficult to deal with IMHO ~ Jingles for your anguish.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by amastrike View Post
    Get hoof boots for riding on rocks. Then you don't need shoes.
    I honestly thought about that but have seen too many strong young hands struggle to get boots on. Mine are not strong nor young. Just seems like way more hassle than I want to go through.

    Thanks for the suggestion though.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    I'm not anti-shoe...but it sounds like she's doing well right now barefoot--who has been trimming her during this period? Same person?

    He's the only one who has ever shod her (about two and a half years) and he trimmed her from the time she was three. She is nine now.

    I wish I could ride her barefoot but where we ride some of the trails are pure rock. I don't think any horse's feet could stand up to it long as much as we ride.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CosMonster View Post
    If boots don't work for you, I would tell your farrier pretty much what you told us, minus the history of course. Point out that the concerns you had prior to discovering the WLD (narrow hoof, forging) have gone away and you're very happy with her hooves bare. Ask him how he will maintain that health with shoes, especially in regards to the issues you had.

    If he's unwilling or unable to give you an answer on that, you may want to consider finding a new farrier. Communication is key and he should have a theory behind what he is doing, even if it's a pretty basic one. Of course, even with a good idea of the theories behind what he is doing he may fail in practice and then you'll probably have to find someone else. Hopefully things will stay nice and healthy though.

    ETA since we've had a couple of posts encouraging you to keep her barefoot... Before you think she can't stay that way, take a look at the trim. While many farriers do a good barefoot trim, IME there are also quite a few who carve out a lot of sole and just generally don't do the trim it takes for a horse to stay sound over harder terrain without shoes. It might be something to look into if you're concerned about how she will do in shoes.
    Just tell him I want the feet to continue looking JUST LIKE THIS instead of Do it this or that way? Sounds good to me and a whole lot easier.

    He doesn't carve out sole. Every now and then her sole just starts chunking off and then we're down to new.

    I have another highly recommended farrier's number and will certainly change if I see my horses feet going down the drain again but it will be a really hurtful thing to have to let my friend go.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  9. #9
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    I'm not necessarily anti-shoe, but I would just like to say I have a horse who always had mild soreness barefoot over even slightly rocky ground and narrow feet with shoes who is now able to go barefoot over our rocky trails (and I bet we rival you for rockiness...we ride in a particularly rocky area of the Rocky Mountains ) with no issues, and her feet are healthier than ever. Changing her trim and conditioning her feet (just like if we would have to if we suddenly stopped wearing shoes, even though I usually hate comparing hooves and feet) was the trick. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that no horse could do it. I know more than a few horses who go barefoot over very difficult terrain.

    Also there are quite a few different boots. Easyboots IME are fairly difficult to get on, but if you're only doing fairly light riding over the rocks Cavallos are very easy (they're too bulky for more strenuous work IME). For harder riding Renegades are good and I've heard they're easy to put on, although I have never done it myself.

    I have a couple of clients who have arthritic hands and use Cavallos or Renegades with little problems.

    I'm not trying to push you in any direction since I don't know you or your horse, I just wanted to point out that there may be more options than you think.

    ETA just saw your post and pretty much! I know when I'm working on a horse, I prefer someone telling me what they're happy with and asking me how to keep it that way! Obviously any professional needs to be made aware of problems they might not see, and any issues should be discussed, but in this situation I think that's the best way to go about it.
    Last edited by CosMonster; Jan. 20, 2010 at 05:59 PM. Reason: missed a post :)



  10. #10
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    Do you have the shoes he pulled when you seen the WLD? If so take a look and see what size it is. By the sounds of it he is putting to small of a shoe on. make sure that teh shoe is the size of the foot he is putting on. if it looks smaller then he needs to go up in size and cut the heels off to size the shoe, not put a smaller shoe on and then make the hoof smaller. He just might not want to do the work that goes along with shoeing a mid size foot. My gelding was like this his foot set in between to size shoes and it was extra work for my farrier but as the foot got better it fit the bigger size better. I am thinking that he started with one size and as her hoof grow that size got to small but he didn't want to go to the bigger size and do the extra work. I am not saying that is what happened but it sounds that way.
    My life motto now is "You can't fix stupid!"

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CosMonster View Post
    I'm not necessarily anti-shoe, but I would just like to say I have a horse who always had mild soreness barefoot over even slightly rocky ground and narrow feet with shoes who is now able to go barefoot over our rocky trails (and I bet we rival you for rockiness...we ride in a particularly rocky area of the Rocky Mountains ) with no issues, and her feet are healthier than ever. Changing her trim and conditioning her feet (just like if we would have to if we suddenly stopped wearing shoes, even though I usually hate comparing hooves and feet) was the trick. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that no horse could do it. I know more than a few horses who go barefoot over very difficult terrain.

    Also there are quite a few different boots. Easyboots IME are fairly difficult to get on, but if you're only doing fairly light riding over the rocks Cavallos are very easy (they're too bulky for more strenuous work IME). For harder riding Renegades are good and I've heard they're easy to put on, although I have never done it myself.

    I have a couple of clients who have arthritic hands and use Cavallos or Renegades with little problems.

    I'm not trying to push you in any direction since I don't know you or your horse, I just wanted to point out that there may be more options than you think.

    ETA just saw your post and pretty much! I know when I'm working on a horse, I prefer someone telling me what they're happy with and asking me how to keep it that way! Obviously any professional needs to be made aware of problems they might not see, and any issues should be discussed, but in this situation I think that's the best way to go about it.
    Thanks I will check out the Renegades.

    I honestly don't think a horses feet could hold up to a whole lot of these trails.
    I rode my gelding on them bare three or four days a week and while he didn't get sore and did really well I soon noticed his foot was getting shorter and shorter as if someone was way too regularly filing them down.
    I didn't want to let them wear down to a numb.

    I think I will just tell him that I had become seriously concerned about the last two shoeings and was he going to be able to keep the feet in the shape they are now. Guess I don't have to try to tell him what to do other than that. I think I will ask him how are we going to do that!
    Right now it's been four weeks since she was trimmed and I rode her day before yesterday although I kept her on the not so rocky trails and her feet are wonderful. I sure do want them to stay wonderful.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
    Do you have the shoes he pulled when you seen the WLD? If so take a look and see what size it is. By the sounds of it he is putting to small of a shoe on. make sure that teh shoe is the size of the foot he is putting on. if it looks smaller then he needs to go up in size and cut the heels off to size the shoe, not put a smaller shoe on and then make the hoof smaller. He just might not want to do the work that goes along with shoeing a mid size foot. My gelding was like this his foot set in between to size shoes and it was extra work for my farrier but as the foot got better it fit the bigger size better. I am thinking that he started with one size and as her hoof grow that size got to small but he didn't want to go to the bigger size and do the extra work. I am not saying that is what happened but it sounds that way.
    I did wonder about the shoe size. I THINK I have one in the barn. Will check in the morning. I don't think he likes to do a lot of work if he doesn't have to.

    Nobody has responded when I asked if it seemed wrong for a farrier to trim a foot, put a shoe on, put the foot on the stand and file toe off.
    Anybody?
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  13. #13
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    That's entirely appropriate, in fact I would want that done, correctly, for breakover. When the foot becomes pointed I would wonder if he had stopped shaping the toe; if the toe is taken back, the breakover comes sooner and they don't grab the front foot, also they can reach out better in front. Depends on what your horse's feet really look like. '

    I suggest making a post about this over in horseshoes.com in the "farriers helping owners" section. The farriers there can help you understand what your farrier is doing and why he might be doing it, and what to say to him and how to evaluate the work. They will want to see pics, so get good photos of the feet up close from the outside, from the front, from the back, include pics of how the heels look, and picked up good pics of the sole.

    Good luck
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  14. #14
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    Sorry...when you said that he was the only one who had "shod" her, I wasn't sure if he was also the one doing trimming or if you only used him when the horse was shod--ie: had shoes.

    Quote Originally Posted by pj View Post

    Nobody has responded when I asked if it seemed wrong for a farrier to trim a foot, put a shoe on, put the foot on the stand and file toe off.
    Anybody?
    People may refer to this as different things...some call it "finishing" some call it "dressing the toe", I would call it "dubbing" the toe and I don't really feel like it's that helpful. With a shoe on, I think it's mostly aesthetic. Downside is that it thins the hoof wall.

    IME, farriers most often do this for aesthetic reasons when they've set the shoe back in order to make the breakover faster. When the horse is barefoot, you might do this to smooth out flare...but to really address the breakover, you'd be creating the angle from below

    IMHO, filing from the topin any major amount is "dubbing" and is actually kind of counterproductive as it thins the wall.

    It sounds like *maybe* this guy isn't getting the right shoe size/fitting the shoe appropriately. Just pulling out a stock shoe and nailing it on and making the hoof fit the shoe.

    I don't feel like it's really fair to assess your farrier's ability/tactics from behind my computer though. For all I know, what you've got right now is a flared foot--not a healthy one--sometimes "bigger" isn't always better.

    But from your initial description, I'd *guess* that the horse was essentially being crammed into a too small shoe and was having too much toe and that is what caused separation and the opportunity for the WLD stuff.

    Again, just a guesstimate because I can't see your horse.

    Based on your later explanation about rocks w/ your previous gelding (ie: concerned he was wearing down too much)...I'm not so sure that it really WAS too much. In fact, that's kind of the "barefoot model"...their feet adapt. If you are regularly riding on this terrain, I think that more than likely, your gelding was never "too short" it just wasn't what you were used to seeing because IME, a lot of people seem to be okay with the look of a long toe.

    I know that at my barn, people have mentioned how "short" my mare's toes look...but honestly, they're exactly right for her and precisely what her feet look like when she's in work on rough terrain. She's sound, feet are healthy, but she does not have a lot of toe.

    It might be wise to surf around the web and take a gander at some of the barefoot sites to see some examples (I am not a Ramey "follower" per se but I do like his site as far as examples.) Google Dr. Bowker too. You'll see some REAL short toes. I think that's his mantra! LOL But these are functional, sound horses.

    If you can see lots of good healthy feet, then you will be better equipped to know what to look for.

    Good luck!
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  15. #15
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    I think it's important to be able to talk to the people you hire to help take care of your horse, and to ask questions of them so you can educate yourself. They won't be your only source of information, obviously, but they are key sources.

    In this case, I would point out how healthy the hooves are now, and that the shape is fundamentally different from when the horse wore shoes. That the current shape seems to be working (no WLD, no forging) and that you'd like to keep that shape with shoes. And then ask if it's possible, or if you're missing something. That is your farrier's cue to provide additional information, if there is any. Otherwise, to retain the wider hoof.

    Good luck.



  16. #16
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    I have Cavallos and have had Renegades and I have a pair of easy boots.

    The easy boots are the hardest to put on and take off.


    The Renegades are easy to put on and take off, BUT the fit has to be so close that in 4 weeks after a trim they no longer fit, the same was true for another boarder here at the barn, except theirs didn't fit three weeks after a trim! I couldn't see having two sets of Renegades in two different sizes so I sold them. I loved them, WHEN they fit.

    The Cavallos are by FAR my favorite, easy on and easy off! No tugging or jerking or prying to get off or on, literally on in a few seconds and they stay on no matter what, sand, mud, streams, rocks, running, everything. DO use pastern wraps though as the band could rub them raw.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pj View Post
    I honestly thought about that but have seen too many strong young hands struggle to get boots on. Mine are not strong nor young. Just seems like way more hassle than I want to go through.

    Thanks for the suggestion though.
    Try the cavallo simple boot. I bought some this past fall when I needed to pull my horse's front shoes. I foxhunted him in pretty rough territory. The boots stayed on beautifully and they really are "simple" to get on and off.
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  18. #18
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    Thanks, Buddyroo, interesting information and much appreciated.

    Her foot doesn't have any flare at this time I do recognize flare.
    It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow but if possible I will try to get some pictures of her feet.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  19. #19
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    If I can get pictures tomorrow I will try the farrier site.
    Thank you for the suggestion.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by stryder View Post
    In this case, I would point out how healthy the hooves are now, and that the shape is fundamentally different from when the horse wore shoes. That the current shape seems to be working (no WLD, no forging) and that you'd like to keep that shape with shoes. And then ask if it's possible, or if you're missing something. That is your farrier's cue to provide additional information, if there is any. Otherwise, to retain the wider hoof.

    Good luck.
    Thank you!

    This is what I'm planning on doing.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



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