I live in constant fear that my horseshoer will “fire me” or leave the area. Does that sound weird?
Well, here’s the deal. Good horseshoers are hard to find. My mare requires hot shoeing because three of her feet are odd-shaped, especially one front foot which is somewhat of a club-foot. The two hinds require bar shoes. On top of that she wears size 3 shoes which he orders ahead of time since he doesn’t usually carry shoes that big. I also understand dressage horses are shod differently than other horses. I don’t know exactly want the difference is. I leave that up to my shoer and trust him to handle it.
My particular shoer used to teach the horseshoeing school at the local community college until they shut down the program. Unfortunately, he has back issues so shoeing my horse can be a trial for him. Gailey is a leaner, and we’re talking about 1350 pounds of leaning. My poor shoer is moaning and groaning the entire time.
He’s also the first shoer who’s actually explained a few things to me about her. First of all, when he works on her feet and then releases her foot, she holds the foot up as if she’s going to kick him. I used to swat her for that behavior, and my former shoers would get after her. This shoer doesn’t. He explained to me that she’s arthritic, and it takes her a while to uncramp her foot and put it back down after he’s held it up for a while.
Also she makes it hard for him to pick up her foot and place it on his little foot stand (I have no idea what those things are called). He’s the first shoer who’s explained that her hocks get sore, and it hurts for them to be lifted up that high and held in position.
I never realized any of this. I thought she was being belligerent so did my former shoers.
A few months ago when he came to shoe her, she’d been on bute for a few weeks because of lameness. He said it was the easiest time he’d ever had shoeing her. She wasn’t resistant and didn’t fight him when he lifted her legs. I was mortified. I hadn’t realized how sore she’d been and how much her arthritis affected the shoeing process, not just for her comfort but also for his.
I’ve started buting her a few days before each shoeing to make it more comfortable for both of them.
A few weeks ago, I was really sick and missed my shoeing appointment. I didn’t know I missed it until a week later, I was that sick. I’ve never missed an appointment before so I started calling my shoer and apologizing profusely. After a few days of nail-biting in dread that he may add me to his list of fired clients, he finally called me back. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
He's a great shoer, and he's also entertaining. Someday he should go on the road as a comedy act.
Now he’s threatening to move to Boise, but I’ll cross my fingers he doesn’t. Searching for a new horseshoer who understands Gailey and her issues would not be an easy process.
If you have a good horseshoer, treat them like gold. It seems to be a dying art.