The Right Farrier
We live in a time when advances in hoof-care technology are providing us with ever more options for correcting problems and enhancing foot health. One thing that hasn’t changed? The importance of your hoof-care professional. For anything that’s nailed, glued, or otherwise affixed to your horse’s feet, the competency of your farrier is all important. An ideal trim—one that leaves the foot balanced and level—is the essential starting point, followed by knowledge of how to affix the footwear in question. For tips on finding and keeping a good professional, see the box at far right.
[RELATED: Take care of your horse’s summer hoof needs.]
The new SoftRider performance shoe
incorporates polymers that simulate actual hoof tissue and mimic the function of the frog for maximum shock absorption. By centering the horse’s weight in the middle of the hoof, SoftRiders also increase blood flow. Other design elements improve break- over and reduce strain. As with all shoes, proper application is key, so be sure your practitioner is knowledgeable.
Find a Good ’Un
No specialized training or degree is legally required to work as a farrier or trimmer. That means it’s up to you to make sure the professional you choose is qualified. Certification by the American Farrier’s Association is a major safeguard, and experience with your type of horse (reining? trail? endurance?) is helpful. Word of mouth from someone you trust is often the best way to find a pro with the experience and creativity to optimize the functioning of your horse’s feet.
Keep Him or Her Happy
Good hoof-care professionals are worth their weight in gold. Pamper yours! Always have your horse caught and ready to go at the time of the appointment, with clean, dry legs and feet. Provide a tidy, sheltered, well-lit place in which to work, with rubber mats underneath a definite plus. Remove any distractions, such as noisy equipment or barking dogs. Prepare your horse in advance as needed to make sure he’ll be quiet and well behaved. Give advance notice if you must cancel an appointment, and of course always pay on time.