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Help­ing horses with a fear of the far­rier Crumbly hoof so­lu­tions

QMy horse is ter­ri­fied of the far­rier and rears up – es­pe­cially when smoke bil­lows around him. What can I do to build his con­fi­dence? Ali­son Free­man, Worces­ter

AIs­sues com­ing from the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween far­ri­ers and horses can create a great deal of anx­i­ety and dis­rup­tion that can have an af­fect on both equine wel­fare and hu­man well-be­ing. As we know, horses are in­cred­i­bly emo­tional mam­mals and they are also mir­rors of us, re­flect­ing back our emo­tions. They have amaz­ingly de­vel­oped senses and use this in­for­ma­tion to as­sess and in­ter­act with their en­vi­ron­ment. Also, as prey an­i­mals, they’re hard wired to re­act to per­ceived dan­ger through a fight or flight re­sponse.

Understand his fears

Shoe­ing brings an ar­ray of new noises, smells and sen­sa­tions into your horse’s en­vi­ron­ment, many of which come di­rectly from be­neath his body to the edge of his pe­riph­eral vi­sion. For that rea­son, it’s crit­i­cal that you in­tro­duce your horse to shoe­ing with em­pa­thy, un­der­stand­ing and ex­per­tise. If your horse is re­spond­ing in this way, bring in the sup­port of an equine be­haviourist and work with your far­rier to iden­tify and understand what the trig­ger is and what re­sponse that trig­ger is cre­at­ing within your horse. Once you understand the prob­lem, you can move for­ward as a team to ad­dress any learned be­hav­iour and rein­tro­duce your horse to the stim­uli at­tached to the process.

The smells and sounds as­so­ci­ated with shoe­ing can be scary for some horses

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