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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2014
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    Pennsylvania
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    Default Bad Manners for the Farrier.

    The DB informed me today that J was a complete a$$hat today when my farrier came out to do his feet. Today was the second time that the farrier has come to the new barn - the first time, J was antsy but not awful. The farrier told DB today that J was getting pretty close to being the least behaved horse he's dealt with and he was getting very frustrated.

    This farrier has worked with J since before I bought him. He knows J's feet and I like the way he trims and shoes and I obviously want to keep him as my farrier. At the old, past barn where the farrier shod him, J was depressed and very rundown but he stood quietly because of this.

    At this new barn, J now has an emerging personality (see my thread, Paging the Equine Psychiatrist) and even the farrier has commented that it's nice to see him like this. However, he is also now quite herd-bound. There are about 6 other horses currently at this barn, in paired turnout. When J gets brought in, his manners go out the window. DB told me that J would not stand still today and was constantly moving around, causing the farrier to drop shoes, and was generally being an a$$hat.

    I don't want J's bad manners to cause a rift between my farrier and myself. My initial plan is to bring J in while the others are turned out much more often (hard because I work full time) and work on making him pay attention to me. But does anyone have any specific suggestions that I can work on with J to start improving his behavior when standing for the farrier (or vet, also applicable)?


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2009
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    The Sunshine State
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    258

    Default

    Do you pick his feet daily? If so, how does he behave? Helps to know whether it is a herd bound issue, or if he does not like his feet being messed with.

    Regardless, I would bring him in while the others are out and pick his feet as much as possible. Hang a hay net for him, and make it a pleasant experience.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2012
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    gulf coast
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    Default

    There is a gel tranquilizer that is given by mouth, and very effective if you want to go that route. The horse needs to be schooled on ground manners ASAP, and I find that being ridden or lunged helps get rid of any extra energy that inspires bad behavior."A tired horse is a good horse."


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2007
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    Wilsonville, Ontario, CANADA
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    Default

    Or - do you capitulate to keep things pleasant for the farrier and bring a buddy in that he can see while he is getting done so he behaves? And then slowly work on "weaning" him from the others?


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
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    MI USA
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    7,652

    Default

    How about taking him for a good ride or workout session prior to the arrival of the Farrier? Maybe PAY a Trainer to come that day to put in the ride time (an hour of planned work?) if you can't manage the time for it? Horse gets the benefit of being worked, possibly rather TIRED before he needs to stand quietly. Tired should be good aid in making it easy for horse to behave better. And I would bring in a second horse, whoever he is turned out with that day, to just hang out in a stall so J can see him while getting his hooves cared for. You want to avoid doing things that "set him off" when possible, and you say he is getting herd bound. So give him a buddy for Farrier time in the barn, avoid the "alone" problem to aid the Farrier. Farrier is NOT the horse trainer, YOU have to get horse able to be easily worked on for Farrier.

    Yes it would be wonderful if horse behaved well "just because he is supposed to", but that doesn't seem to be happening. Rather than keep doing the same stuff, change your methods, hoping for a DIFFERENT, better result for the Farrier. You can work on improving manners alone, when Farrier doesn't have to wait around for you to train your horse! Are YOU doing any foot handling on a daily basis? I have found that simple change can be very helpful in manners improvement.

    With your comments about how much more lively J has gotten with a better management program, you may find he has few or no real good basics in his training. I have seen that happen a number of times when horse is in poor shape, then changes hands and gets fed better.


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2003
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    It's not really mid nor west
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NurseHorsey View Post
    At this new barn, J now has an emerging personality (see my thread, Paging the Equine Psychiatrist) and even the farrier has commented that it's nice to see him like this. However, he is also now quite herd-bound. There are about 6 other horses currently at this barn, in paired turnout. When J gets brought in, his manners go out the window. DB told me that J would not stand still today and was constantly moving around, causing the farrier to drop shoes, and was generally being an a$$hat.
    This doesn't sound like he's being an "asshat", this sounds like herdbound panic. You need to either 1) work on bringing him in by himself until he can be calm about it, or 2) bring his friend with him to babysit during the appointment. Getting him upset and then fighting with the farrier will just make this a more and more negative experience, and is dangerous for all parties involved.
    If you can't do either, he needs to be sedated.
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2012
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    450

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    I agree. If it's something you cannot be there for, to correct,have the handler bring in another buddy of his with him to hang out and keep him company. See if that makes a difference.

    Is it the ideal answer? No. Ultimately, you want the horse confident enough in himself/handler that they can stand quietly.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowneDragon View Post
    This doesn't sound like he's being an "asshat", this sounds like herdbound panic. You need to either 1) work on bringing him in by himself until he can be calm about it, or 2) bring his friend with him to babysit during the appointment. Getting him upset and then fighting with the farrier will just make this a more and more negative experience, and is dangerous for all parties involved.
    If you can't do either, he needs to be sedated.


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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 26, 2011
    Location
    WNC
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    Default

    There is a gel tranquilizer that is given by mouth, and very effective if you want to go that route.
    I believe you're talking about the gel Dormosedan; I used to give it to my donkey before his trims. (Now he's used to the farrier and the routine so he doesn't need it anymore.) Small tube, easy to give, gel needs to be squirted under the tongue.

    If you use Dormosedan, it needs to be given about 45-60 minutes in advance and lasts a few hours beyond it (something like 3-5 hrs if I remember correctly). No access to food during his drugged state. My donkey (standard, not mini) got lethargic, not knocked out.
    It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.


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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 4, 2003
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    Clinton, BC
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    Default

    The dormosedan is a pretty heavy duty tranquilizer, even in its oral form. May be overkill in this situation. Try atravet, a lighter tranquilizer, more of a stress reducer than something that will completely knock him out. With the atravet, the horse can still learn, just in a stress reduced state. Injectable or oral, and cheaper to use than dorm. Your vet will sell you some to try if you ask, and you have a decent relationship with your vet.

    With the herdboundness, when your horse is with YOU, you are the most influentcial and interesting and powerful being in your horses life. His focus should be on YOU and YOU alone. His equine buddies forgotten, for the moment. If this is not the case, you have some relationship work to do with your horse to get to this state.


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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2014
    Location
    Pennsylvania
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    Wow, a ton of good advice.

    He is very good with any manipulation of his hooves. Picking his feet is no issue and he isn't antsy about it at all.

    I do agree with you, goodhors, that it could be that now that J has an emerging personality, that holes in his training are appearing. I definitely think it's the case with our undersaddle work and I've most definitely discovered some issues with his groundwork as well. I've been working on both of these aspects but the farrier appointment just went so horribly that I'll be specifically focusing on that part for the next 6 weeks.

    I'm also going to be present at the next appointment. DB doesn't ride but since we got J, he has become very good at handling him. However, he does get nervous when J acts up and isn't the best at discipline. So I will be the handler at the next appointment.

    I'm going to talk to the BO about possibly bringing in his pasture-mate to reduce his panic. I'm sure she will be OK with it but the horse is owned by someone else so I obviously need to ask permission from both the BO and the horse's owner.


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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
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    Northeast
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    11,350

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TrueColours View Post
    Or - do you capitulate to keep things pleasant for the farrier and bring a buddy in that he can see while he is getting done so he behaves? And then slowly work on "weaning" him from the others?
    Usually gets the best results with the least amount of human and equine trauma.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.


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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    Bring his pasture buddy with him. Mine tend to react the same way.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2004
    Location
    Whidbey Is, Wash.
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    10,236

    Default

    I tried the gel dorm with less than stellar results. Odie fought through it.

    I spoke with the vet and he said he's heard of animals being able to get around the oral for some reason. Whether it's because getting it under the tongue is difficult and injecting it is more exact, or what, I don't know...and my vet is too PC to tell me if that's what he suspects happened.

    If you like your farrier, either sedate your horse or bring in a buddy. Rory is a jerk whether he has a friend or not, I don't know why because he's normally fine with me. However, I'm buckling down on ANY behavior now while I'm picking his feet. Pull on me even a little, and he gets popped. Odie? It's always been a rodeo with the farrier, even though he used to be great with me. After the injury, now he's not even great with me, whether it's a memory of pain/loss of use of a limb or some lingering discomfort, it's a scene for even front feet. Now that's he recovered to the point that we're getting regular trims again, and I happen to LIKE my farrier, he is getting stuck with dorm before his next appointment. Yeah, it's strong, but like I said, I like my farrier. And my donkey. Why make it a crappy situation for them both?
    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl



  14. #14
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    When mine decide to be total jerks, I just tranq them...that's if the buddy doesn't work.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2012
    Posts
    106

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    Dealing with a herdbound horse is especially difficult when they’re turned out in pairs- I find they tend to get more hysterical about separation when it’s just two. My usual method of dealing with herdbound-ness is working them hard, and keeping the brain occupied with tasks. That won’t work in the instance of a farrier appointment, when the goal is to have them stand still. I’m in agreement with those that suggest bringing the buddy in- that could bring the drama way down for the next farrier visit.

    If bringing a buddy in isn’t an option, or you do and your horse is still being a pain, I’d suggest temporarily using a sedative to keep your farrier happy and safe while you continue to work on ground training. I have used dormosedan gel successfully to shoe a difficult horse. I spent a good amount of time consulting with my vet on the proper dosage, and safe handling technique (gloves are a must). Dosages vary quite a bit from horse to horse. For example, my thoroughbred required about 3 times the dosage of my warmblood, who was about 500lbs heavier. The TB has always burned through and fights sedation like crazy though. My vet recommended that I start with a conservative dose, and administer more if the initial dose is not enough. It does take the full 45 minutes to really take effect. Administering sublingually can be difficult, but I’ve found it easier to put it between the lip and gums rather than under the tongue. It took me two farrier appointments with the dormosedan before we weaned off of it, now about two years later the horse stands ground-tied for the farrier.



  16. #16
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    Mar. 31, 2012
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    Coastal NC
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    I agree with bringing the buddy in. It is just easier. It sounds like he knows how to stand and behave for the farrier, which is a ground manner issue. The being a turd in the aforementioned situation is just a herd issue, not a farrier issue, which to me are two different things.

    All of mine are done at the same time and stand and watch at their stall doors. Horses are herd animals and it is hard to expect them to do otherwise.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2001
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    Lexington, KY--GO BIG BLUE!!
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    1.) Bring in a buddy. Easing the psychological stress of being alone can really, really help.

    2.) Have a very good handler. Calm, confident, no-nonsense, whom the farrier trusts. Someone who won't make bad behavior worse, who is capable and experienced at using a stud chain if necessary, over the nose or under the upper lip.

    3.) Distraction. Some horses with bad blacksmith history come to associate getting their feet done with pain or stress, they get anxious and uncomfortable. A bucket of grain, fed in tiny handfuls as a reward for standing can be a HUGE help. I normally insist on good behavior at ALL times, just because I say so, not because a treat is expected. However, I want my excellent farrier to be safe and allowed to do his job well...and if it takes some food to make the horse stand quietly during the retraining process, I'll gladly do it.
    “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
    ? Albert Einstein

    ~AJ~



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