Nightmare to shoe...

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by Teal, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Teal

    Teal Well-known Member

    Has anyone had any experience with a horse that is a total nightmare to shoe? What, if anything, can I do to desensitize or help my horse get over this?

    She has been shod by a great farrier three times now, each time has been absolutely appalling and has had to be twitched, each time getting worse. This week following farrier visit (I wasn't there unfortunately) she has carried on so much that the farrier does not want to shoe her again. My past experience has been that usually after being twitched once, they usually seem to get over the shoeing for the next time, but this mare is getting worse and worse. Before getting shoes on she was totally fine to just trim.

    She hasnt had a bad experience, has only been shod the three times by a master farrier who I have never heard a bad word about, I have every confidence he is doing a fantastic job.

    I have been having a few issues with her of late, she has developed a bit of an attitude when asked to do something she doesn't want to do (floating especially, and she has apparently at times been a bit difficult to handle by stablehands at my Agistment - she is on full board - though I haven't had any issue with general handling), could this be another aspect of that? I am looking into getting some help with her in this regard, have contacted Geoff Sandell and waiting to hear back. She is in bloody good condition and probably feeling full of herself and has developed this attitude, but I am hoping to sort these issues out soon with some help.

    Back to the farrier problem, how can I help her get over this? At this stage it's looking like her shoes are coming off, not to go back on. Which, while that is ok for the work we do, is completely ridiculous to have a horse that just flat out can't be shod!

    Any experience or ideas would be much appreciated :)
  2. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    OKee dokey.

    I have experienced a number of horses where this is present.

    IN the past - the largest issue has been acute sacroiliac problems that have only been exsacerbated by farrier work.

    Is it hinds in particular? or all the way around?

    The other issues on totally sound horses is lack of training. They simply do not know how to stand on 3 legs, or have had a bad experience in their opinion, and this is important to consider. What we see as a bad experience - does not nessesarily reflect on the horses opinions.

    Something that is imperitive to a horse that is good to trim or shoe - is acceptance and relaxation. Apprehension musnt come into this, and if it does, it will only work with a HUGE dose of trust.

    They may have stumbled, cramped, ect ect .....been growled at - and simply associated this with the 3 legged stance - or the farrier.

    Farriers that dont positionally support well in the foundation stages of a horses training can also encourage this negative behaviour.

    And then....some horses are just stubborn - and convinced that they know best, and must have their own feet all to themselves, or generally are inherently suspicious and sensitive.

    ALL across the board with SOUND horses - I reccomend GOOD, empathetic, calm, and responsible leg restraint training.

    BUT - exclude soundness issue first with thourogh and correct flexion testing, and examination THROUGHOUT a farrier procedure.

    Examination and observation can be a huge asset.

    Do not attempt to resolve a training issue, or do leg restraint training with any doubts on a horses soundness throughout farrier procedures, NOT standard pace testing **) Always be certain through good testing first.

    I hope I havent scared you too much with my passion on this subject :)
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  3. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    All I can say is that from her point of view, she must be benefiting from this behaviour in some way.

    Can you not work with her and her legs and feet most days until she gets better?

    Whats she like to pick out her hooves? Can you put her legs between your knees like the farrier and tap and muck about? What would her reaction be if you did this?

    I would work on ground work first...getting her respect, then leg work...getting her obedience.**)
  4. Teal

    Teal Well-known Member

    She has only ever been shod on fronts, no shoes on hinds.

    I am reluctant to say she is uncomfortable standing on three legs as before she had shoes put on she was fine to be trimmed. It seems to be just the shoes that is causing the issue. Does that make a difference?

    She is quite naturally suspicious, but in saying that I have never actually had an ISSUE with this prior to the past couple of months. She is suspicious and can be tense but had never behaved badly previously.

    While it may well be a training issue I would be more inclined to say that issue would be more likely to be the issue of spitting it when asked/made to do something she doesn't want to. She does know how to stand on three legs, while she is very inexperienced she is 7 years old and has obviously had 7 years worth of farrier trims before I have decided to shoe her. I have had her for a year and no problems untill I wanted shoes on her four months ago...
  5. Teal

    Teal Well-known Member

    This is what I have been doing since her LAST farrier visit six weeks ago. I pick her feet out each time I ride (every other day) and have been trying to bang on her shoes as much as I can with a hoofpick. She tries to get her foot away from me. I have tried to keep going and only put her foot down and praise when she keeps her foot still...but she is very strong and often gets her foot away. A few weeks ago she was soon this and struck out (not violently but to get foot away) forwards and got her leg hooked over her leadrope where she was tied. She didn't panic and was good, but stuck for a second untill I freed her. Now since this I am having trouble picking this foot up :( I get it eventually but she is definitely not as comfortable/happy having her feet handled anymore.

    I am thinking that the whole debacle of shoeing her (it is pretty extreme, I didnt realize how bad as I am not there for farrier usually) in itself is traumatizing her a bit?
  6. Better Gun

    Better Gun New Member

    If she was ok to trim in the past you may find its the sensation of the nails going through the hoof or the hammer tapping them in that is causing the problem. When you pick out the hoof have some a bit heavies than the hoof pick hand like a small hammer and use that to tap the shoe. While the intetion is there with the hoof pick it doesnt quite have the force to replicate the hammer.

    Also be very aware of how and where you hold the foot. Lots of horses have a comfortable position where they are happy to stand on three legs. Unfortunately this is not always the best position for us however we have to adapt to it as it will make your life a lot easier. Some farriers while great at what they do, may just hold the foot in a position that just does not suit that particular horse. A slight change to the position may make the world of difference.

    Once she is ok with the tapping and position and it comes to shoeing, ask the farrier to try only putting one (or two if she will allow it) nails in the foot then placing it down for a good break. Even put two nails into the other foot before coming back to it. Then from there on, just put in one nail, place the foot down and let her relax. I find this helps alot of horses as having their foot up for six nails can annoy them and cause them to misbehave. By doing it one at a time it builds confidence and often works out quicker than fighting with them :) and hopefully after a few times you can build up to doing two, then three nails and so on.
  7. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    I'm honestly amazed the farrier came back three times!!!!! *#)

    Sorry but I am going to be brutally honest here - she sounds like she's being a rude, dominant cow. If my horse snatches his foot away from he gets a smacked arse and he doesn't do it again!!!!

    Get tough on her in all aspects - don't let her get away with a thing, become the leader in this relationship!!!! Praise her and tell her she's fabulous when she IS fabulous and come down on her like a ton of bricks when she steps outta line.

    If she is still awful to shoe after that I would suspect she has something else going on that hammering etc exacerbates - ie sub clinical laminitis, navicular, pedal osteitis, I could go on and on lol.

    But I am laying bets on being a snot first up **)
  8. NumidianHorse

    NumidianHorse Active Member

    ... I'm curious to know - why does she need the shoes? (genuine Q as I have shoeless STB & QH)

    ... If she has been fine just having trims previously, it seems like she's genuinely concerned about something associated with shoes.

    If she was mine, I'd cut back on riding time in favour of more ground work to find out what is going on with the feet / any other issues. I'd hate to just assume it was her attitude if I hadn't invested a lot of time ruling out pain / fear etc ... and would feel I'd short-changed her if all I was interested in was what I got out of the relationship (riding) vs what I put in (groundwork).

    Hope you get good outcome soon **)
  9. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    To pick up a front leg (if the horse does not want to), just squeeze the chestnut as you ask for a pick up with the other hand, and for a back leg, squeeze the skin on the hock. The trick is to apply a gentle squeeze and increase it until you get a pick up...then obviously stop squeezing.:D

    If she is reaching the front leg forwards (like striking out), pick up the leg and have it in a more back (closer to hind leg) position, not a forward position, because they seem to be able to snatch it forwards and up more easily when its already forward.

    I would be doing intensive leg re-training on this horse. Get her to the point where you can pick up each leg from either side. So once she is getting good at picking up and holding, then start picking up all four legs from the near side and all four legs from the off side.

    Just be determined, fair and inventive, and get that horse fixed so your poor old farrier does not burst a fooo fooo valve!:D

  10. dirtbug

    dirtbug Gold Member

    oh a nightmare to shoe sounds like my boy, who when i first started taking him to the farrier i was certain they would say get lost never bring him back again :(

    hes a absolute pig with his hinds so i took him to Fred who helped with teaching Billy to stand on 3 legs...

    and i try as much as i can to pick up and hold his back legs in farriers positions at home...

    he really throws you about, but we are getting there, hes just a right piglet, i knew we were making progress when i got told we are now on the christmas list by the farriers wife LOL but its still a long haul :(

    I prefer to only have his hinds trimmed (shoes on front) i dont dare ask for hind shoes my farrier might police escort me off the property LOL
  11. Snippit32

    Snippit32 Well-known Member

    If she's not sore, I would suggest leg restraints training. I must admit it sounds like she's being a bit of a "madam". Good luck
  12. Picup436

    Picup436 Active Member

    I would get some professional help with this mare. It sounds like she's being a troll and her being able to snatch her foot back from you wouldn't be helping.

    I would also speak to the farrier about her feet as well, I have a younster that has really thin walls and has fronts on. My farrrier uses the smallest/thinnest nails he possibly can, and only puts in the bare minimum. If he forgets and uses a bigger size she will jack up straight away until he changes them over to the small nails again.
  13. GoWelshCobs

    GoWelshCobs Well-known Member

    i will be different and say i could be fear, if you dont know her full history she might have had a traumatic experience in her past which could be the reason for her reaction to the shoes.

    my horse i found out had a traumatic experience with having his rear feet done.

    he would lay down, shake, eyes would roll.

    it has taken 2 years of consistent handling to get him comfortable to have his backs picked up. he still cannot have his rears between your legs prefers to put it on a stand.

    make sure you have a farrier who is willing to be calm and patient and take as long as it takes, you may have to pay for their time but i would rather that then one who get shitty and snaps.

    i had leg restraint training done and for him it wasnt a quick fix, it taught him he could stand or 3 legs but didnt get him over the fear.

    luckily he is a cob so has decent feet and for now doesnt need shoes.

  14. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    I had a mare like this :) First time she went to be shod she the nails going in. A few weeks of having her foot tapped with a light hammer before the next shoeing and she was fine. She had also been fine with trims only.

    My young arab filly snatches her legs and it isn't just being a rude dominant cow. Turns out that she was VERY sore through her hind hamstring which was what was causing her to muck around. Course she had learnt that it hurts to pick up the hind leg so now we have to retrain her that it won't hurt - luckily she was treated for the leg pain soon after I got her so it isn't too well ingrained. I have a great farrier (well trimmer :D) who will take the time to work with me with my problem ponies... waves to Claireb **)

    Agree with the first bit. Troll part might be due to something other than manners though but also agree that "winning" by being able to get the leg off the handler wouldn't help.

    And I will never, ever attempt to shoe Diva. I value both my life and my farriers :p Fronts we could probably do but hinds I doubt very much. She stands nicely to be trimmed though :)*
  15. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Mmmm, but I still won't allow a horse to behave in a way that could injure me eg snatching foot away from handler. No matter whether it's pain or brain.

    So still a smacked arse I'm afraid!

    Shifting weight, turning on quarters, etc show discomfort and that is fine, I listen to that. But actively snatching legs away is a no-no for me, no matter what is wrong. It's rude and dangerous.

    Getting prodded by the doctor often hurts but I can't slap her ;)*#)

    But I have to be honest, from what the OP has posted this horse just sounds plain rude.
  16. Leti loves Elmo

    Leti loves Elmo Well-known Member

    Get her joints checked. She could be hurting. Also a lot older horses get worst with the twitch. Putting the twitch can and obviously has upset her more as she knows something is coming that she didnt like the last time. Once she has already had the bad experience the twitch will do nothing. You have to have it on before it becomes a problem.
  17. izzy2512

    izzy2512 Gold Member

    Same with Ralph :)* Claires the only one who can trim him :p
  18. Teal

    Teal Well-known Member

    I do know her full history, she has not had a traumatic experience. I bought her from a friend who has had her since she was two, she bought her directly from her breeder. She had never had shoes on prior to me putting them on a few months ago. The farrier also suggested this but I know for fact there is nothing in her past for this to be an excuse. She had always been good to trim, always standing nicely on three legs. If she is good to trim, how could she be unsound to stand on three legs? It is something that arises ONLY from shoeing.

    I do agree she is being a bit of a troll who just says NO! However in saying that I think her initial bad behavior spiraled a bit out of control, creating a negative/traumatic experience from her own behaviour so each time it gets worse as she remembers the debacle from last she is now scared.

    I think she needs to learn she must hold her foot up when asked to, but in turn must be reassured that this is not going to result in something bad happening to her...and also become desensitised to the banging action/noises of being shod. Problem is while I am sure I can train her to hold her feet up for me, I dont think she will behave the same way when under stress when actually getting shod. She tends to get upset and lose her mind a little bit, and training etc goes out the window.
  19. Better Gun

    Better Gun New Member

    It can be tough because some horses and farriers just dont get along. Some farriers are great but one day they are a bit rushed or an off mood and the horse picks up on this and they dont behave. You just have to lucky enought to find one who is relaxed and takes the time required to do the best thing for your horse (as has been suggested you may have to pay a bit extra for time). Shoeing is a difficult job and horses are funny creatures. I have one horse I shoe who no matter what mood i'm in when i start it, I always enjoy it. I also have another who can be an angel or a troll just depending on how we both feel on the day :) the key is finding one who suits your horse and you shouldnt be afraid to try a few different ones until you find them.
  20. Denny

    Denny Well-known Member

    I was training a clients horse that came to me as a recently broken 5 year old that had never been shod. She was fine to trim but once the farrier started hammering the nails in would to go to pieces.

    I sent her to Watkins for leg restraint training and then organised their farrier to go out and shoe her there.

    The leg restraint training helped at lot -but the biggest thing we learnt with this mare was that she didn't like loud noises - so even with the leg restraint training she would still get flustered when the nailing started... She wouldn't rip her leg away from the farrier and have a tanty like before but would be very much "awake" and "aware" of what was going on around her!! I also spent a bit of time with my farrier - teaching him what the mare had learnt at Watkins so he in turn could help her thru her fear.

    Between shoeings every day I would "hammer" the hoof pick on her feet to start to desensitise her to the sound as well and the feeling. She improved greatly between each shoeing and I believe now she is easy to shoe.

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