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What is acceptable?

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  • What is acceptable?

    I was wondering what you guys consider an acceptable reprimand for a farrier to use when getting after a horse? Now I'm not talking about a horse that is nasty and bites/kicks/strikes with the intent to hurt someone; I'm talking about a young horse trying to pull a leg away or something like that...

    I'm asking because my youngster tried to pull a back leg away from the farrier today and promptly got kicked in the gut with the farrier's boot!! I practically bit my tongue off trying to keep myself from saying what I was thinking. I don't consider this acceptable under any circumstances, EVER! (I am also on the search for a new farrier now...)

    Is this something you see a lot of farriers do? I was shocked!!

  • #2
    Was he pulling away or trying to kick the farrier? Has the farrier corrected your horse or other horse like this before? Have you worked with your horse enough to to be certain he is trained properly for the farrier? Was it the first time he pulled away or has this been an ongoing uncorrected problem? How long has this farrier been attending to this horse? How had you been correcting your horse for his misbehavior?

    In general I do not allow my farrier to correct my horses. Of course they are trained to stand immaculately before the farrier gets to them. IF they should pull away when a shoe is being nailed on they are in BIG trouble. And God help them if they try to kick the farrier because a boot to the gut is the least of their worries! I expect absolute compliance! I do not want my farrier hurt. But at the same time, I am the trainer, not the farrier. It is my JOB to be sure the horse STAND and not kick or pull away. I have had brutal farriers work horses over. And I will not stand for that either!

    A correction is a correction - but what was your horse really corrected for?
    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


    • #3
      I do see that a lot with farriers sadly and it really amazes me people continue to use them. I had a farrier that I used for the very first time after moving to a different state haul off and SLAM my gelding in the gut with his rasp b/c he leaned on him a little. He developed a hematoma on his belly line because of it. I didn't even wait for him to finish the shoe job, just told him to pack up and leave.

      I'm all for appropriate discipline for misbehavior and make it a point to be present during farrier visits (even though my BO often offers) b/c I want to make sure my horses 'mind their manners' so to speak. I would have no problem with a farrier disciplining a horse that was truly acting up but a rasp to the gut for something so minor (or at all) is abuse IMO.

      I now have a farrier that is very calm and gentle with the horses (he's especially great with youngsters unfamiliar with being shod) and he does sometimes discipline a horse if they act up but it always what I consider acceptable (Ie: open hand swat to get their attention). I don't LOVE his work but he does the best he can and in my area he is the cream of the crop both personality and ability wise.


      • #4
        That is totally unacceptable. I have never had a farrier do that to one of my horses, and if they ever did, they would be asked to leave immediately.
        I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo


        • #5
          I must say I have a very ZEN farrier right now - the horses adore him. And that makes all the difference.
          "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


          • #6
            Originally posted by LoveLongManes View Post
            I'm asking because my youngster tried to pull a back leg away from the farrier today and promptly got kicked in the gut with the farrier's boot!! I practically bit my tongue off trying to keep myself from saying what I was thinking. I don't consider this acceptable under any circumstances, EVER! (I am also on the search for a new farrier now...)

            Is this something you see a lot of farriers do? I was shocked!!
            I had the EXACT same thing happen to one of my 3 year olds last fall. He wasn't kicking, biting, just wiggling a little. The #&@$%& of a farrier literally took a run at him and kicked him in the gut with this steel toed boot. I was absolutely fuming, and I felt just horrible for my poor horse. Needless to say, that was the last time he did my horses feet. And a couple of my friends won't use him now either because of it, so he did lose a fair bit of business because of it.


            • #7
              Not appropriate at all. I don't expect the farrier to train the horse-that is my job. But still that is just not acceptable. If he/she doesn't want to shoe a horse, he can say that and move on.


              • #8
                My horse used to stand perfectly for the farrier, and then the farrier I was using drove him nuts. He tried to pull a hoof away from her one day, and she let it go and then whacked him with her hand. He gets really upset and worked up about physical reactions and stuff like that, so he got progressively worse for her--ripping his feet away, almost rearing, etc. Meanwhile he was fine for me whenever I picked his feet, but when she'd come, he was getting himself into a state right away. I was a new horse owner and didn't know if it was just me not correcting him enough, as the farrier told me, or what. The last straw was when she whacked him in the chest with the rasp, hard enough to leave a dent! That was the last time she worked on him.

                The next trim, he tried to pull away from my current farrier; my farrier stayed calm, held on, and waited for him to cut it out. Then he continued with the trim. Sam stood quietly. He's stood quietly ever since, and last time I'm pretty sure he fell asleep mid-trim. I love that my farrier stays calm and consistent no matter what; I can't imagine him hitting a horse unless that horse was actually trying deliberately to hurt him.
                "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                • #9
                  I'm okay with a boot or a rasp to the belly if it's well deserved. Then again, I am standing right next to the farrier, and I will always beat them to it. If the farrier has to discipline my horse, then I am not doing my job as the handler.

                  Some farriers don't read horses very well and may not discipline appropriately. However, just as many owners don't read their horses well, and putz around endlessly when a good slap to the belly would straighten things out.

                  In general, I side with the farriers (though not all of them are created equal).


                  • #10
                    No matter what my mare did, my farrier would never kick her in the belly, or anywhere else for that matter. I have told him that if she acts up, a smack on the belly with the rasp is okay. He's never had to...well, he never has .
                    She was trimmed just last week and pulled the last foot away from him just as he was finishing. He picked it back up, held it for a moment, and then told her she was done.
                    There's nothing like a good farrier. I've been very lucky.
                    Founding Member of "I Kept 'Off Topic Day!' Open"


                    • #11
                      In my opinion a boot or a rasp to the belly is totally unacceptable.
                      There are far better ways of dealing with rude behaviour.
                      I had a stand in farrier come to my place when my current one was away on Honeymoon.
                      He booted my Wb gelding for doing no more than being annoyed by a fly.
                      Farrier had to get out of the way very fast as my horse lined him up and jammed him against the rail and would have given him back had I not got a whip and moved him sideways.

                      Farrier was lucky and I told him he was lucky that I was nice enough to intervene but also told him if he tried it again I would let the horse 'nail' him.

                      My usual farrier is very good and is very patient. He trimmed a 4 month old filly of mine last week and she had only just been weaned. This was the first time she had been trimmed on her own and she was very naughty and trying to go up everytime he picked up her front leg.
                      He got the job done quietly and I have no doubt next time the filly will have gotten over her 'just weaned' bad temper and will be back to her mellow self.
                      Beating her for being naughty would have just made her very anxious and afraid. She was already upset about being away from mum.


                      • #12
                        I am a huge believer in getting a farrier who is also a good horseman/horsewoman. I know a couple farriers who are very knowledgeable and do a great job, but are much, much too harsh for my horse. There is one farrier in particular, who is a nice guy and does decent work, but my mare always misbehaves for him. My mare has a bit of arthritis in her hocks and can be funny when she gets shod in the back- she isn't being bad, but will sometimes pull her foot away or pull back because she is genuinely worried about the pain. (We give a couple grams of bute before which helps, but is just something we have to work around.) With this farrier, she is a thousand times worse than with my regular farrier, and it's not that he hits her or anything, but he is just a little rough in general and also less experienced. She responds SO much better to my regular farrier. I guess this is a little off topic, but just my two cents!


                        • #13
                          I can't input on your situation, as I wasn't there, but I have pretty strict criteria for what horses do with their legs. I can get hurt bad or killed by them, as can other people.

                          I would say that I would not think twice if someone did that to my horses if they got funny with a leg when a person had it.

                          I used the technique your farrier used with a mare that was handy with the hind end. I can't imagine that he hurt your horse. I think it freaks them out because they aren't used to anything happening there.

                          I draw the line at someone using an implement on a horse and I think there are RARE cases where you connect with a horse's face. (Sometimes, it is just by accident, if they move towards you as you react, they can get it, but I don't believe in deliberately hitting them in the face.)
                          "Fool! Don't you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you." Cleopatra VII


                          • #14
                            i think patience has a lot to do with it. i always like to hold my horse for the farrier, for a myriad of reasons, but mainly so i can make sure he behaves. i agree with Woodland- i am the trainer, not the farrier. i've seen different farriers blow up for different reasons, all with different "training" techniques, and none of them work to correct an issue. i like to remind them of their fruitless efforts...it takes training, not beating...duh.


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by Woodland View Post
                              Was he pulling away or trying to kick the farrier? Has the farrier corrected your horse or other horse like this before? Have you worked with your horse enough to to be certain he is trained properly for the farrier? Was it the first time he pulled away or has this been an ongoing uncorrected problem? How long has this farrier been attending to this horse? How had you been correcting your horse for his misbehavior?

                              A correction is a correction - but what was your horse really corrected for?
                              My youngster was trying to pull her leg away, like she was off balance or just getting tired of holding her leg up. It definitely wasn't dirty; she didn't try to kick and she never has. She has been trimmed by this farrier before and sometimes is a little nervous but always stands very nicely and gives him no trouble, and up to this point he has been slow and patient with her. She has had lots of work done with her feet, by myself and others, so she is used to having them handled. The farrier has been trimming her for almost 2 years now.

                              I certainly wouldn't have minded if he had draw off and given her a smack on the bum or even the belly, but to sit her hoof down on the ground, draw his own leg back and ram her in the gut with the toe of his cowboy boots??

                              Thank you for everyone's opinions so far!


                              • #16
                                If my farrier hit with a rasp or especially, kicked my horse, that would be the last time he would work on her. And he would be lucky to escape with his hindparts intact. A swat, jerk or a growl, fine, but hauling back and kicking her in the belly? That is asking for a verbal assault like he's never had before.

                                However, I would never have to worry about that. He is patient and kind, though firm, as the day is long.

                                The only time I would even entertain such a harsh correction would be imminent danger or threat to a human. Not an inconvenience or an annoyance, but a serious danger. A jerk back of the leg or fidgeting does not fall into that category.


                                • #17
                                  I don't like seeing horses kicked in the belly--it does seem to be common among some farriers, but I can say from years of both training and shoeing horses, I have never had to kick a horse in the belly. I have also only rarely had to strike a horse with a tool, and the reason for those instances was that the horse was acting aggressively towards me and I needed to react aggressively to correct it--no time to drop the tool. I have, however, adjusted my force accordingly. If the situation was as the OP described it, it does sound like an inappropriate response in my opinion.
                                  exploring the relationship between horse and human


                                  • #18
                                    My farrier kicked my horse under the belly after giving him a few stern warnings (horse was being impatient, wanted to go back out w/ his buddies, and kept trying to pull his feet away); I don't blame my farrier. The horse was wearing a winter blanket and a smack anywhere else surely would not have even registered.

                                    I had been trying to make some corrections but other than giving a few jerks on the lead, what are you supposed to do when you are standing at the horse's head?

                                    Woodlands: what do you do to your horses if they pull away, what does "in big trouble" mean?
                                    Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


                                    • #19
                                      I don't know - I would be pretty peeved if the farrier reared back and kicked my horses in the belly. A smack with a hand serves the same purpose and is less likely to injure the horse.

                                      Though my horses have only been bad for the farrier twice each. Once horse #1 popped an abcess two days later, so I am sure he was in pain. Time number two both horses were bad. The farrier had not recovered from his back injection and did a really crappy job, including trimming both horses so short that they were standing on sole, rather than hoof wall 24 hours later. That was the last time that farrier worked on my horses. Horse #2 was bad the first time he was done by the current farrier, but farrier was taking a super long time and the horse is not renowned for his patience.

                                      My pet peeve about some farriers are the ones who finish trimming a foot and then drop it on the cement aisle. Makes me crazy. I actually asked a farrier once who was terrible about it if he would like it if someone held his foot up in the air two feet and then dropped it without warning on the toe on cement. He looked at me, said he'd never thought about it that way, and never did to my horses again.


                                      • #20
                                        It's all about trust (owners) and timing (farrier). My farrier has given a swift correction to a horse of mine. He is under the horse, he can feel motion, the intent and act on it.

                                        A horse has to be submissive & patient to having it's hooves worked on. Pulling a leg, especially a powerful rear leg, can torque your farrier's body not to mention hurt him/her.