Evaluating Your Horse’s Shoeing

“The more you, as a horse owner, know about how hooves function, what to look for, and how to talk about your horse’s hooves, the more effective you will be in evaluating and caring for the foundation of your horse’s athletic abilities.”  DawnHoof

Evaluating your horse’s shoeing presents one of the ongoing difficulties horse owners face.

Oftentimes an owner senses that “something is wrong with the shoes” but cannot put a finger on the proper verbiage. Talking with the farrier or even the vet can be frustrating and make an owner feel less sure of her instincts.

“One thing I can say for sure. No matter where you live and ride, there are a lot of horseowners frustrated with their horse’s hoofcare!”   DawnHoof

Shoeing horses involves more than applying a shoe to a hoof and keeping it there. The feet are the foundation, the platform of your horse’s longevity and athletics.

Lad's New Shoes

If the foundation is off, the movement is off. The performance is off, and the horse is off — however subtly.

We want our horse’s movement supple, connected, and with impulsion.

But more and more she moves heavily, reluctantly, stabbing at the ground. We try changing saddles, bit, bridle, teeth floats, supplementation, body work, injections – to little or no avail.

Instead of coming home with a smile on our face, more and more we suffer discouragement.

Shutterstock Image

Shutterstock Image

It turns out farriers are taught all kinds of nifty metal-working skills, but seem reluctant to learn to recognize and deal with subtle lameness issues. This kind of stuff takes more time, more education, more attention . . . and most farriers are pretty busy.

And subtle lameness issues, especially involving the hind-end – the horse’s motor – migrate forward over time into full-blown lameness issues in the fronts.

Thus, what might have been prevented early on, becomes a career-ending catastrophe.

Myself a life-long horseperson, (I’ve bred and raised four generations of Arab-crosses, and have a rugged endurance, carriage and trail-riding background :)) — I like to say: “I’m ‘one of us’ [horsegirls] who infiltrated the farrier’s world.”

My hoofwork started in 1990 with my farrier Uncle, Ink Knudson, who taught me to trim (and eventually shoe) my own horses, with an emphasis on therapeutics — and it’s grown from there.

Over the past thirty years, I’ve studied with the best: Gene Ovnicek (Natural Balance), Doug Butler, Myron McLane, Dr. Ric Redden, Dr. Chris Pollitt, Dr. Barbara Page, Dr. Robert Bowker, Pete Ramey, Epona Tech, and many, many others, as well as working side-by-side, (think x-ray-by-x-ray!), with my local and very talented veterinarians.

I’ve covered farrier and veterinary events as a journalist, and have been privileged to have several of my writings published in horse and farrier periodicals. (Anvil Magazine, American Farriers Journal, Professional Farrier, Holistic Horse.)

Even more, I’ve learned from the horses themselves.

Fae and Tessy

Working as a farrier and barefoot trimmer in both California and Hawaii, and traveling between the two regions every shoeing cycle for fourteen years, I am privileged to have worked on performance, pasture and backyard horses in various environmental settings.

One thing I can say for sure. No matter where you live and ride, there are a lot of horseowners frustrated with their horse’s hoofcare!

The more you, as a horseowner, know about how hooves function, what to look for, and how to talk about your horse’s hooves — the more effective you will be in evaluating and caring for the foundation of your horse’s athletic abilities.

It is my pleasure to share some of my knowledge about hoofcare with you!

  • Call for a consult:  (661) 703-6283
  • Schedule to have me out to train you to trim or shoe your own
  • Learn how to better communicate your horse’s hoof concerns with your vet or farrier.

Shadow Shoeing

Dawn Jenkins, Lady Farrier (aka DawnHoof)

Frazier Park, California

(661) 703-6283

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Copyright 2020

Photos: Dawn Jenkins; Zebra image, Shutterstock

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Disneyland Rides!

Please also visit my Life Blog, Journal of Dawn ,

for Strategies and Insights into the

Journey of Life

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Fae on the trail

Join Dawn for a Soul Horse Ride!  Experience the thrill of becoming one with your Horse . . . Join Dawn and her homegrown herd for a  Soul Horse Ride in the Frazier Park Outback!

Call to book your Life-Changing Adventure today:  (661) 703-6283

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4 Comments

February 26, 2020 · 11:12 am

4 responses to “Evaluating Your Horse’s Shoeing

  1. spielmanreef@sbcglobal.net

    You GO girl! Nice! Miss you. So glad you and Rick had a wonderful getaway last weekend. Love you. Let’s talk soon! >

  2. Lynnea Honn

    Your uncle was Ink!? The name is so familiar from way back when in So Cal. Wow. I”m pretty sure he worked on my horses.

    • Wow! That’s awesome :)) I’m sure he was your man. Ink was the top of the farrier world back then. After serving as a metallurgist in the Navy in WWII, Ink went on to study farriery at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Next he apprenticed with the old time Calvary shoers in the LA area. (This was way before the AFA – American Farriers Association, and their certification.) Then he branched out on his own; his career spanned sixty years. He worked with all the vets, could make anything in a forge, and had a great reputation. Ink worked for all the actors who owned horses, including Ronald Reagan, Roy Rogers’ Trigger, and Gene Autry’s Champion. He worked with the great and the small, including all us kids with horses. (I kept my first horse, Rebel, at Cory Walkie’s in the Palisades — Ink was Cory’s shoer for decades.) I would love to reminisce over the phone with you, Lynnea. Please feel free to text or call :)) :)) Dawn 661 703-6283

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