Rags & Tigger Show: Dies Irae, Farrier Style

Let me just say that I have had horses that were easy to trim & shoe, OK to trim (I keep mine barefoot here), mostly OK to trim, and unreliably OK to trim.   Then came Tigger.  And, once I had him, Rags, who is only now willing to give a hoof (the fronts anyway) and doesn’t think he should have to stand still once someone’s holding it.  Tigger is eleven now, and Rags is still five or maybe six.   I have had, on the whole, farriers I got along with quite well, and who kept whatever equine I had healthy in its hooves.  The hardest hooves were Kuincey’s…a bay mare with four coal black ones, and, as her farrier said ‘Hooves like hockey pucks.”  Never cracked, never chipped, no problems.   The worst hooves were in two chestnuts, each with some white feet, and another chestnut with narrow, thin-walled and thin-soled feet.  In terms of behavior, Mac was probably the worst before Tigger.

Tigger, as you probably know by now, comes of extremely “hot” breeding and had a rough time as  young horse–scars to prove it.  He never had a person, and he was trained fairly late and somewhat harshly in a way that led to carrying himself hollow-backed and head high, pulled in so tight that it scarred his tongue.  He is anxious, sometimes truly fearful, and reactive many things.  He’s better than he was, but not yet fully attached.  The accident last fall, when he severely damaged his back at the SI joint, left him in pain a lot.  So…working on his feet has been difficult.  For him as much as for farriers.  If he’s not in pain, and the farrier doesn’t scare him, he’s actually reasonably good, but he and my former (very good) farrier did not hit it off the first time, and I knew the man had serious health problems and was hoping to retire soon.  Finding the right farrier for a very hot Arabian (not all are this hot)  who distrusts people isn’t easy.  I now have Jaime Rodriguez, who is large, calm, and slow-moving.  Last time, Tigger acted up some but not as much as some of his other clients. Today Jaime suggested doing them both outside in the 30 x 40 foot north barn lot.  It was clear, warm, with a tiny breeze.  So he did Tigger first.   And it was as if Tigger became another horse.  He gave his feet.  He stood still (mostly, until the last hind leg which put all the back end weight on the damaged-but-nearly-healed side.  And he didn’t fight, really, just took the leg back when he wanted to stand on all fours briefly.

Rags was a bit bratty, but not bad either.  Both trims were very nice, and the horses are moving well afterwards.  So Dies Irae turned into Dies Pacem, for the owner.


6 thoughts on “Rags & Tigger Show: Dies Irae, Farrier Style

    1. My trainer/coach/friend Laci (who found the right home for the horse who bucked me off in 2018 and then bucked her off after 30 days of training, and who found me Ragtime) found me Jaime. Lucky me, to have found Laci.

  1. After Dancer had some issues (farrier tried to overflex where she had torn some patella ligaments) then a different farrier threatened to rip her leg off and beat her to death with it (promptly fired), I found one who was willing to work with me to retrain her (I bought McDonaldland cookies for him to give her, I reprimanded as needed, he rewarded her for good behavior). We were last of the day so he wasn’t in a hurry and she was in the stall with clean feet when he got there. It took several visits but she became very good. Her daughter has been touchy about the hinds (again some pain) but only became bad when she was really injured and mostly worries and pulls away (her face when asked to pick up the foot on the degloved leg after a certain amount of healing was priceless). Patient AND talented farriers who are also dependable are a fabulous resource.

    1. Oh, those are SERIOUS reasons for a horse to become difficult. I would not have thought of your solution for Dance, of having the farrier reward her. I’ve had farriers who, though very good, “did not believe in” rewarding horses with cookies or even carrot pieces. One of my good friends, ranch-raised, still thinks it’s downright immoral to reward horses for good behavior (SIGH.) They cannot see that reward, and bribe, aren’t the same thing, but they all understand that they want to be paid for their work. The boys today are happy with their feet (yesterday Rags was just a bit touchy and careful, and Tigger, who had run like a bandit right after his trim, was a bit touchy on the injured leg–propping that leg to ease it–I think from the change in angle, not too close a trim.) So tomorrow I hope to get on Rags for a short ride. Tig’s back to sassy-pants trotting today and Rags is clearly comfortable again.

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