Difficult with farrier

Doodle92

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Not my horse but my friends. We have tried everything we can think of and we are getting nowhere. Pony is a very genuine 5yo. There are somethings she is not great with and her go to is to barge forward and push you out of the way. In other ways she is a saint. Very straightforward and easy. They have had her for 15months now. They are very kind people and have never given the horse cause to worry or raised a voice to her. Perhaps a little too nice as they don’t have the quickness to remind her she is not allowed to barge through people.

Problem is she will not have her feet trimmed by the farrier. She needs iv sedation. Last time she was sedated for teeth and needed topped up for her feet to be trimmed. They have tried every available farrier. Women and men. The farrier is incredibly calm and patient. We did manage with a whacking dose of dormosedan the time before. Luckily she is ok without shoes and she does enough work that her feet can go for 10 weeks or so.

In her stable or outside makes no difference. On the yard or the school no different. Her stable is beside where horses are shod and she has been left alone on her stable numerous times to watch. Owners can pick up feet and gently rasp with an old rasp without an issue. Other people can pick up her feet with no issues. We have tried leaving a towel beside the farrier with the smoke etc and leaving it in her stable so she smells it. We have tried treats/licks/fruit as bribery. I can hold her from barging forwards which allowed us to manage with dormosedan but her owners can’t stop the barging mostly.

She is incredibly sweet. Can be led around by a 7yo child but add a farrier and all reasoning goes. We had thought it was just a case of time and consistent handling but she is literally no better. They got her at 4yo without shoes in. As sure as we can be she has never had them on. This may well be because she has been too difficult but she is also a native and probably not broken long before they got her and never needed them.

Vet has checked her over incase it is something to do with farrier causing pain and couldn’t find anything but not had a full work up. She is fine to pick up and out feet day to day.

Have we missed something obvious?
 

Jessey

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How is she generally with strangers? could you rasp her feet? is she genuinely good for the owners to do feet or are they accepting leaning, pulling feet away/having to hang on etc. as being good? what does she do if the farrier tries without sedation?
I think realistically it needs someone to be watching the subtle signs when it happens, I would probably get someone experienced with feral youngsters, or perhaps even pay the farrier to do some training or send her to a trainer to specifically work through this issue given the owners sound unable to even manage bolshy behaviour.
 
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carthorse

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In addition to what @Jessey has said, which I think is the most likely way forward, what exactly did the vet check and to what level?
 

Doodle92

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Thanks both.

She can be wary of strangers but not to any extreme. Other people can handle her feet and rasp them. We have tried the people who don’t normally have anything to do with her. She does occasionally pull her foot away when picking out and they can’t hold on. They know this is an issue and they try. But equally her 10yo owner picks her feet out daily with no problems. She had an issue with one of her feet over the winter and she was bad for me with pulling her feet away. But it hurt, I managed to hang on and get the job done. But yes that is an issue. That said she is not terrible. She will stop barging you if you rattle her but quite often owners have missed the initial sign and she has barged once.

If the farrier dosnt sedate her she throws herself around. Crashes in to walls. Throws herself on the ground. Along with the just barging around. She seems to genuinely panic. Even the farrier just saying hi over the door upsets her. She is now restricted as to which farrier will work with her as they don’t see the point on that hastle just for a trim. Current farrier is brilliant and he tries to be quick and efficient and rather than spend ages getting it perfect he will still do a good job but not hang around.

Im not sure what vet checks were done, I wasn’t there. We wondered if it was the angle the legs were held at. More recently I have seen the vet hold legs like a farrier with no issue. They had her vetted when bought. The vet has seen her being shod as won’t leave until she is done. So the vets are fully informed and aware of the issue but can’t offer more advice than has already been given. But it is hard to see anything when she is throwing herself around. Vet has suggested clicker training.

I’m making her out to sound terrible. She is anything but. She can hack out with Robin throwing himself about and she just ignores him and carry’s on. She is great for owners small 7yo son and 10yo daughter. It is just her feet and specifically the farrier. They have even tried him coming to her first to see if the less smells of the day might help.
 

Jessey

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It sounds an interesting one, I’d probably ask the farrier to just pick feet up and not trim a couple of times when he’s there doing others, combined with some clicker training or some such they should be able to turn it around pretty quickly given she’s good for the kids the rest of the time. Young horses do often find balancing for longer periods hard and if before they got her she got roughly handled for it, or possibly never really taught what it’s all about (the just hang on to get it done method), that can cause the fight before you even start.
 

Doodle92

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We said that 15months ago. She just needs to learn it’s no big deal. But they are getting nowhere. We did think a bad experience or whatever and would just take patience. It’s like the farrier turns up and she looses all sense of anything. I know nothing about clicker training but vet has given them a name who might be able
To come out or just help at a distance.
 
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Jessey

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I just remembered seeing this a few years ago, a friend tried it and reported success. I wouldn’t dare try it on Jess, she’d deck me in a flash for thinking about it, but I suspect Hank would merrily play with it and forget anything else going on, so judgement would be crucial I’d think
 

carthorse

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Could they try scheduling in a farrier visit for the start of the day? I'm just wondering if him not smelling like a farrier and maybe not having his shoeing chaps on would help if it's a bad memory time. Is there a man she trusts whose coat he could put on so he smells familiar? Literally walk in, give her a treat, maybe pick up a foot, give another treat and leave - yes it's going to need a helpful farrier who has the time to schedule in some faff appointments, and it's going to cost some money but it may be worthwhile. As a last resort they could learn to do a basic trim themselves, but she'd still need checks by a farrier and if she ever had something like an abscess or laminitis then being ok with a farrier is crucial so I'd say it's worth the effort.
 

Doodle92

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Yes we have tried that. I meant to say but maybe left it out. (Coming first thing)They have tried leaving a towel with him and then leaving it in her stable. Farrier has tried without his chaps but is warey of that with him having less protection. The farrier, in fact any farrier that is up, will give her a pat if she is in at the same time that still gets her very upset and she won’t take a treat. I thought we were getting somewhere as I have positioned Robin right outside her door to be shod a couple of times and then ignored her. She wasn’t too bad with that but stayed at the far corner, at least she wasn’t flipping out. However as soon as the farrier even looked at her last time she needed a top up of iv sedation the vet had given to do teeth. If we tie her in the stalls with a horse being shod in the next door stall she will rear, pull back and leave. Farrier is incredibly kind and willing to wait while top up worked and also organising round when vet can be there. We do think he is getting fed up tho Owner is happy to pay extra for visits, extra time etc but she actually seems worse with extra fussing and better just leaving alone and doing when needed which dose
not make sense. Plus just the cost of a vet and iv sedation every time is huge. Owner is willing to do this as she needs her feet done obviously. Last time she was iv sedated she fought the farrier so hard but when left alone she very nearly went down she had so much. She then takes several hours to come out of it.
 

Doodle92

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And yes the worry of her needing emergency treatment is a worry. She should be ok if vet can do it. We got a poultice in without too much hastle when she had an issue with her foot but a farrier digging around in foot would not happen. There MUST be something we are missing. I would understand if she was a nightmare to do anything with but she is not.
 

carthorse

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Maybe it will be a case of having the owner learn how to do frequent routine trims and then maybe sedating once or twice a year for a farrier to check her and do any rebalancing that's needed. Sometimes we have to make the best of a bad job. And keep up with having her around whenever a farrier is working, getting them to fuss her etc.
 

Jessey

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Random but maybe try borrowing a shirt from the farrier and wearing it while feeding her, so she starts to associate his smell with a good thing frequently
 

Doodle92

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Random is doable!!

Carthorse you are probably right. Luckily her feet are generally good and if they are looking a little long or ragged a decent road hack helps. She can feel the stones sometimes but they cope and unlike shows will ever be an option.
 

Huggy

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I know this sounds silly, but do you know of a female trimmer? Hogan has finally settled with our farrier, but I know he's not keen on men, and a friend suggested perhaps he'd be better with a woman. He's still wary of men, and yet totally fine with strange women.
 

carthorse

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Can they trace the previous owners and find out if there's a reason for this behaviour? Maybe if you knew a cause it would be easier to find a solution.

One other thought, what's she like if the owners aren't around, and ideally no one who expects trouble? Is she playing to a sympathetic audience?
 

Doodle92

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The people they got her from hadn’t had her long but also had issues (which I think were massively played down) and suggested vicks on her nose. We were just chatting about that last night as she had forgotten that info and we will try it next time. Tracing further back they can’t come up with anything.

I am happy to try without owner being there and have offered that before. I will offer again.
 
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carthorse

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Or even get someone who has never had much to do with her, if some of it is naughtiness that has worked in the past she may be better with someone she hardly knows. Given all that's been tried and looked into I do wonder if it's a learned behaviour and the reason she's so anti farriers is one has, in the past, got the better of her so now she's even more assertive in her initial try with them. I wonder if ultimately this is the sort of horse you get someone like Michael Peace in to work with if they have the money, his methods seem very calm, as is his body language, but he gets the job done and in a way that I would expect most owners to then carry on from.
 

Doodle92

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Im sure they would be more than happy to get someone like that in. I will suggest that. She was off to investigate the person the vet suggested. I couldn’t even guess at her name even thought she told me, but she does clicker training and I think based at the vet school.
 
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