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Draft owners/Farriers Help Please

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  • Draft owners/Farriers Help Please

    6 year, 16hh, Clyde mare. Had since September was told when I bought her "good for farrier, no stocks" (she had shoes when i got her) beginning to have my doubts. My farrier, God Bless him, was out last night, this was the third time he has worked with her, she gets worse every time. I have been trying to work with her 10-15 minutes a day on just lifting her feet but see no progress either, always a big struggle. Have no other problems with her and I know drafts are not famous for their cooperation in this area so....any hints or suggestions for someone without access to stocks? Thanks
    "They spend 11 months stuggling to live, and 25 years trying to die" my farrier

    "They are dangerous on both ends and crafty in the middle"

  • #2
    I don't know what you are doing to work on picking up the feet, but this worked for me with our draft crosses.

    Stand as if you are going to pick up the front foot, next to the shoulder, but don't bend down, don't grab the foot etc.

    Firmly, but moderately, press your pointed finger into their shoulder just above the leg while saying 'give' or 'foot' or something like that.

    Most will react eventually by shifting away from the poking finger. As soon as they do, release your finger and slide down the leg picking up the foot. Do it over and over enough and they will shift weight and pick up the foot when you stand in position and give the verbal command.

    Now getting them to continue to hold the foot up is more of a problem. One thing we found was to be VERY aware of how they are standing... are they balanced or not. If not, you may need to ask the farrier to rebalance and start again if they can or else you'll end up with them leaning on the farrier.

    Good luck


    • #3
      I suggest you contact Bruce Matthews
      Alvin, TX 77511
      Phone: 281-414-3098
      and ask him where you can purchase a copy of his video about training your Draft horse to stand for the farrier. Its first rate and will be invaluable to you. Also ask him about purchasing the harness that he uses in lieu of stocks. Its a great addition to your equipment. Be sure to tell him I said 'Hi'.

      For the record, Bruce is one of the foremost draft horse shoers in the country and his system has proven invaluable to/for many farriers.


      • Original Poster

        Just had a very nice conversation with Bruce he explained the method, and told me where to get the harness, and sending him the $ for the dvd. Thanks Rick for the information.
        "They spend 11 months stuggling to live, and 25 years trying to die" my farrier

        "They are dangerous on both ends and crafty in the middle"


        • #5
          You may have already thought of this, but is it possible that she is sore or hurt and having trouble balancing?

          I'm only suggesting it from another angle than what Rick Burten is suggesting...because I suspect that training will fix the issue for you...BUT my Clydesdale mare was pretty good with her hooves, and the odd time she'd try something naughty, it was resolved with quick, sharp discipline. Almost never needed. To me, this was a horse that was adequately trained, and like all horses, periodically tested and needed a reminder.

          The only time she didn't "smarten up" was when she was past 9 months pregnant...and I strongly believe that she just couldn't balance on 3 legs at that point. She was pulling her hoof away, wouldn't lift it, leaning...once the had the foal, she was the same as ever with her hooves, I trim her myself. When her filly was born, I was suddenly understanding of why she had some trouble balancing. I CAN NOT BELIEVE THAT SOMETHING THAT BIG WAS INSIDE HER BELLY.

          I'm not advocating abandoning trimming...just that if this is truly a recent development, it might also be short-lived or easily resolved.
          Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


          • Original Poster

            Rugbygirl; Yes that is always a thought, and one that I have had, but I feel pretty secure in ruling it out due to the fact that while waiting for the farrier she picked her hind leg up and "scratched" it with her teeth. So pretty flexible and not in any pain that would prevent her from bending like a petzel Then this morning when I turned her out, no other horses involved, she ran off bucking and got all 4 off the ground So I just think it is me, not being experienced with drafts and I will admit that my farrier only has limited experience with them. She may very well be testing, and maybe I just haven't found out how to properly ask her yet. Did PPE w/flexions on her when I got her, no hints of back/lameness/pain issues vet was quite happy with her.
            "They spend 11 months stuggling to live, and 25 years trying to die" my farrier

            "They are dangerous on both ends and crafty in the middle"


            • #7
              One of the farriers at Forging Ahead, the farrier group that comes to the Morven Park vet hospital in Leesburg, has a large amount of draft experience. If you are not too far away, you might make an appointment for your Clydesdale. Forging Ahead will also make suggestions for your regular farrier.


              • #8
                I would try something like Drive NJ said, but instead of immediately picking up the foot ( rewarding the correct behavior with something uncomfortable) as soon as the foot comes up, give a treat and lots of praise. Progress to holding the foot then immediately a treat praise etc. . I don't like to give lots of treats to my draft cross, he doesn't need them, but he would learn calculus for a carrot he is just so food motivated. Seems to be common to a lot of the drafts.
                "Here? It's like asking a bunch of rednecks which is better--Ford or Chevy?" ~Deltawave


                • #9
                  Have you thought about putting her on an EPSM Diet? It does sound like a training issue, but either way, the diet can't hurt, and may even help.
                  The Equine Wellness and Nutrition FB Group - Come join us!!


                  • #10
                    Wondering why this would be a problem with ALL draft horses? I have a draft cross mare and she does have problems with this. But I believe her to be PSSM, have even seen her spasm radically while one front foot is held up (opposite side); I am very curious about this.


                    • Original Poster

                      NB: do this already, do reward for good behavior or even a little lift, unfortunately she now seems to be more focused on the reward then what I am asking, of course she doesn't get one unless she tries what I ask but if seems to make it a little more of struggle because she is trying to pick my pockets

                      Freebird: she is getting good forage and supplemental fat as a preventative measure, no signs of EPSM but yes I didn't think if would hurt either.

                      Really do think it is a training issue, be it hers or mine:

                      Thanks everyone for your suggestions it's appreciated. I really have a loyalty to my farrier but do know of a draft farrier in my area if it comes to it.
                      "They spend 11 months stuggling to live, and 25 years trying to die" my farrier

                      "They are dangerous on both ends and crafty in the middle"


                      • #12
                        My draft mare is great for the farrier. Lifts up the required foot even before the farrier asks. Her mother had EPSM, and had some difficulty at times.

                        Balance is key. Start with the horse stood up square. Turn the horse's head away from the side the farrier is on for front feet, and toward the side the farrier is on for hind feet. Doesn't need to be a huge bend in the neck -- just enough to unweight the required foot.
                        My Equestrian Art Photography page