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Farriery in Horses

By Deidre M. Carson, BVSc, MRCVS & Sidney W. Ricketts, LVO, BSc, BVSc, DESM, DipECEIM, FRCPath, FRCVS.

Care & Wellness, Pet Services

It is a well recognized saying 'no foot no horse'.  Caring for your horse's feet and hooves and ensuring that he is attended to regularly by your farrier will safeguard his long term soundness.

How should I prepare my horse for the farrier?

farriery-1In order for him to be well trimmed and shod he must be well behaved.

Your farrier will need an area to work that is safe, well lit, and dry.

A shortage of farriers means that they are busy people and an early booking is recommended so that your horse's appointment is at the correct time.

Hooves should be picked out, cleaned and not oiled prior to the farrier's visit.

Somebody competent to hold the horse will be required.

What should I expect of a good farrier?

Your farrier should turn up on time or contact you if delayed.

He should treat you and your horse with respect.

He should advise you on hoof problems and the type of shoes best suited to your horse's needs in relation to the work you wish him to do.

He should advise you when veterinary treatment or a specialist farrier is needed.

He should shoe or trim your horse competently.

What constitutes a well shod horse?

  • Balanced feet
  • Shoes that fit (neither too long nor too short)
  • The correct weight and section of metal for your horse and its uses
  • Smooth and regular clenches at about a third of the way up the hoof wall
  • The hoof wall finished without rough rasp marks
  • Clips set into the hoof wall
  • A trimmed frog
  • Shod at maximum intervals of 6-8 weeks
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