Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Trainer vs Farrier

So, it's not really trainer vs farrier but I am getting somewhat conflicting advice from the two of them and not sure what to do.

Background: I have used the same farrier with Fawkes for all 3 plus years I have owned him.

Back in the day when I didn't even have a bridle that fit him and he was still barefoot  
I really like and respect my farrier.  He is willing to listen to me and the horse, while having that typical farrier take no shit attitude.  In fact, he is the one who ended up with me finding out about Fawkes' back because he told me he didn't think Fawkes' was being a jerk but was in actual pain while being shod.  Also, in all this time, Fawkes has never had a hot nail, or been trimmed too short, or been lame ever due to his feet.  He did get footsore last summer and we added pads, but that is because of hard Colorado dirt and thin TB soles.

On the other side, I have been riding with this trainer for about 13 months now.  She is the Fawkes whisperer.  She gets him; knows when to coddle him and when to get after him.  Can tell when he is really scared and when he is playing up the situation.  She has been doing this horse thing a very long time.

So what is the problem?  Farrier likes to keep Fawkes on around a 6-7 week trim cycle.  Trainer thinks he is being done too often.  I don't really care as long as my horse is happy.  And I generally just do what the pros say because I usually hire people who know a lot more than I do about this stuff.
Hoof shot from when I was looking at him to adopt

Fawkes does not grow a ton of hoof, never has.  He has been on farrier's formula since last summer with no noticeable difference to date.  Each time the farrier comes he gets new shoes (right now only fronts) and a trim.  I briefly mentioned to farrier once going longer between visits and he sort of agreed but then scheduled this visit 6ish weeks out.  I had to reschedule so we are at 7 now but my trainer is concerned this is still too soon.  Last cycle she also was concerned it was too soon.

But on the flip side, his feet seem to be in fine shape and he seems happy.  My farrier is one of the cheaper in the area so I don't think he is doing Fawkes extra to make more money.  Also my horse is kind of a pain to shoe sometimes (some of it was pain, some of it just Fawkes) so I doubt he would be trying to spend more time with us.
Hoof while being shod last November

What do I do?  I haven't had them speak to each other and I am hesitant to go that route for a few reasons.  Maybe I should suck it up and ask them to do that anyways? Is there anything I can look at on his feet to determine for myself if he is being done at the right frequency?  Should I talk to them both separately and ask them their rationale and try and decide which is better?  Should I just keep trusting my farrier since this is his specialty?  Could I have a more first world problem?  I don't think so but horseland is my escape from reality so I truly hate dealing with any conflict there.

Blech.  Otherwise, things are good.  The chiro came out last week and for the first time said Fawkes' back is in great shape so we can go to every other month adjustments.  Yay says my bank account.

Had a lesson over the weekend with yet another perfect example of the horse training me.  As evidenced in many pictures, when Fawkes gets to a pole/jump, he likes to drop his head and sight see.  Obligingly, I drop my hands and often tip forward too.  Which affects his motion.  These days are now over.  Hands up, eyes up, leg on.  In the lesson he was night and day different when I ignored his request instead of giving in.  Huh, the horse doesn't know best??  Who would have thought.  Sigh, I am supposed to be the brains in this operation but this is why we take lessons!


  1. I have been on a seven week trim cycle and am moving to six weeks because of hoof growth. I, personally, would abide with what your farrier recommends, unless you are seeing adverse effects.

  2. If he's sound, stick with your farrier. When I trim (on a barefoot horse) in the summer, I can literally take something off once a week. Over the winter, I've been shaping them up every 3-4 weeks.

  3. Lurker commenting for the first time. :) I agree with Karen and Carly: if he's sound, stick with the farrier's recommendation. It's his area of expertise and it sounds like he is a good one.

    In my experience, a lot more harm can come from too long hooves than those that are trimmed more frequently, especially when they have shoes. My main mare was shod every 5-6 weeks, no longer, when she had front shoes. Both of mine are now barefoot. I trim a little every 2 weeks in the summer, every 4 weeks in the winter.