February 2018

Don’t Tell Me How to Do My Job


Have you ever experienced someone taking offense at being told how they were supposed to do something? I have witnessed it a lot, and it can especially true with farriers. I’ve heard people complain about how a horse owner insisted on a certain way to shoe the horse, or a horse trainer who thinks he can shoe is going to tell you how to do it. Of course, I’ve had it happen to me, but what I’ve decided is that even if working together is complicated, it’s worth it. I’ve found that if you want to succeed, it takes a team. From the vet and the farrier, to the owner and trainer, each one has an important job to do. I believe that trying to be open-minded and maintaining good lines of communication is key, always keeping in mind that “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” As an equine professional, having a horse at its’ very best is the number one goal for our team. Horses can’t speak English, and I feel we should be listening for every opportunity for them to tell us there’s a problem. Of course, no one likes being told how to do their job, but it’s important to keep the common goal in view. Each member of the team has an important role. A veterinarian can contribute a lot to your team, but the only problem is that they only get to see the horse when there is an issue or if maintenance is due. Your farrier should ideally see your horses 9-10 times a year. They might be able to notice if anything is out of the ordinary and be able to recognize some early warning signs. Some of these would include if a horse is sore here or there, doesn’t want to stand normally, or if there is a foot or leg problem. When I’m problem solving a horse’s issue, I find it very helpful to be able to work together with the owner and vet toward a solution. The owner, trainer, or groom gets to see that horse every day, and in some cases, all day every day! There is a lot of value in the day-to-day view. They know what kind of day the horse has been having, if the horse been eating and drinking normally. They are familiar with inconsistencies in performance, or if the horse spends its’ days crabby and performing poorly. Even if the owner or trainer is unfamiliar with the technicalities of veterinary care or hoof care, they can recognize red flags and it can really save the horse by relaying the information. Each [...]

Don’t Tell Me How to Do My Job 2018-03-01T21:23:34+00:00

August 2017

Don’t Touch the Heels!


Have you ever heard others complain that, "My farrier cut all the heel off?" Or perhaps you’ve even said yourself, "Don't touch the heels, that's how the last guy crippled him." I'm sure I have at least thousands of times. It's a misconception, however, to think that leaving excess heel will help "stand your horse up." In fact, common sense may trick you into thinking, the more stood up the better. That is simply false information, and the side effects can lead to real problems. I'm not saying to only take off heel; I'm just saying it’s necessary to take off some of the heel to get the foot back up under the leg where it's supposed to be. Heels grow forward and at a greater angle than the toe. Hoof balance with good heel support is a major key in achieving soundness with any horse. Simply chopping the toes off is not enough to back the whole foot up. The red lines indicate the long heels first point of ground contact. The yellow lines indicate the first point of ground contact of a trimmed back heel. You will notice the red line is a lot further forward than the yellow line. The problem with this is that it puts the load of the horse (weight distribution) directly over the bony column, navicular region, and coffin joint, thereby affecting the whole foot. Further back is the yellow line where the hoof is designed to take the load of the horse, over the Digital Cushion. Problems that can result from excess heel: Heel pain Navicular disease Coffin joint injections Navicular bursa requiring injections Jamming of the coronary band, leading to quarter cracks, therefore causing the foot to become more under run Heels contracting/crushing Toes running forward Horse's will feel cumbersome and slow footed, etc. By Lee Olsen Hoof Care Specialist and AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier Got questions about equine hoof care? Join Lee's Facebook group, "Ask the Farrier," and be part of the iron-sharpening discussions. Upcoming Hoof Care Clinic

Don’t Touch the Heels! 2018-03-01T21:34:11+00:00

April 2017