My senior horse has trouble standing comfortably for the Farrier. What can I do?
Older horses, or horses with injuries, need the support of all four of their limbs! They may have arthritis, general stiffness, old man crankiness, or extra pain when they need to stand on an injured leg. When the Farrier comes, we ask our horses to overcome all of that and hold their leg up for extended periods of time.
We can do a few things to make our horses have better and easier Farrier visits. Some ideas here:
- Warm your horse up! Arthritic limbs and stiff joints are loosened after exercise. I’m not saying take your retired lawnmower of a horse for a cross country gallop, but a trail ride or a nice long hand walk will do wonders. It’s best to finish your horse’s exercise just as you Farrier is pulling up!
- You may also find that your horse would do better after some ice therapy if he’s nursing a fresh injury. Some older injuries do best with some heat. If you are unsure, ask your Veterinarian which would be best for your horse’s medical situation and do a little therapy (hot or cold) before the Farrier visits. Again, timing is everything!
- Ask your Farrier to use a hoof stand if your horse is good with them. These are adjustable, and let your horse rest of the stand, not your Farrier. This can be better for everyone. You can request that you Farrier also lower the stand, if possible, to reduce joint strain.
Hoof stands are adjustable!
- Ask your Farrier to give your horse a break if he starts to fidget, jerk his leg, or lean too much. I like to be with my horses when the Farrier is there. Farriers can give us lots of insight into how our horses are feeling. Not only can the Farrier tell you how your horse is wearing down his shoes or hooves, but he can tell you what legs are harder for your horse to stand on. Valuable information in the long term care of your horse!
- Maybe the hoof stand is a bad idea, so perhaps your Farrier can hold the hoof. This allows your Farrier to get instant feedback if that leg needs to rest. Your horse also won't topple over the stand if he needs to pull away.
- Talk to your Veterinarian about giving your horse some medicinal comfort before the Farrier comes. There are loads of pain reliving options (like NSAIDS as well as other medicines), and your Veterinarian can help you pick the best one. Your Veterinarian can also give you an estimate of how long it takes before the different options “kick in” so you can time it just right.
- Use a padded hoof boot on a sore leg or hoof. For example, if your horse has an injury on the right leg, use a padded hoof boot on that leg so that when the farrier is working on the left leg, the standing injured leg is more comfortable. This is especially true for bruised soles and abscesses.
Prop up and support injured limbs during farrier visits. Hoof boots are one option.
How do you help your older or injured horse have a comfortable Farrier visit?