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