This topic contains 17 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Tender Soles 4 years, 4 months ago.

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    I was curious how many people do their own hoof care and how many do it in stocks vs in the open? I got the team of Percheron’s I’ve been looking at and I don’t know if there woman instinct are creating the issue or if they are just being crabs and disrespectful. They need their hooves tuned up and I tried to work on the mother this morning, I had her tied and she let me clean out her hooves with out too much fuss but when it came to nipping on them it was a fight to the end, I brought her team mate right next to her thinking it would relax her and I think that made it worse. I did the fronts half way just so she didn’t think she won. I really don’t like fighting with horses, after I stopped and had her just tied she was pawing at the ground and just being a turd, well both of them were pawing, I was a little on the upset side so they were forced to stand tied for an hour while I did other chores. it was a solid 20 min’s I’d assume it took before they chilled out and finally understood they were gonna be tied and they had to deal with it. I’m gonna keep tieing them untill they stop pawing and no matter what I do they stand nice. They are also 10 and 8. when they are free in the pasture they are just little puppy dogs, following you around wanting you to pet them put a lead rope on them and ask them to stand still seems like its the end of the world for them.

    What would cause a horse to move around a lot if you touched the top of her back/ hind qtrs? I know my belgian filly from 2013 always moved around when I touched her their and then I saw thats where ma would touch to get her to move, so I would just hold her still and rub her down and touch her all over and now she doesn’t care, I wouldn’t think that she would have this issue now because she 8…

    Thanks for the help.



    I hotshoe my horses in a shoeing stock. Once a year the farrier who taught me comes and checks if everything is still as it should be. Shoeing and trimming is something you can not teach yourself from books, so take a course or even better take over gradually from your farrier. Not every farrier is a good teacher, but I had the luck mine is. Now when mine needs a extra pair of hands for trimming or holding horses which have not been shot before he gives a call and I go with him. This improves my skills (and even pays a little money).
    The stock helps to do a better job.The feet don’t move and it saves your back.



    Does’ Leap

    I don’t believe stocks should be necessary to trim a horse. Horses should be willing to stand while you trim their feet. The question is how to do you get your horse to stand?

    I set up a 50′ diameter round pen. I would work the horse in the round pen a bit to get him warmed up and would ask him to come into the center of the pen where I would start to trim him (no lead rope or halter). If he put his foot down or tried to walk away, I would send him on a couple of laps. After a couple of 20 minute sessions, all of my horses learned fairly quickly to stand while being trimmed. They have a choice – do laps or relax and get trimmed. Most horses will chose the latter.

    If you don’t have a round pen, a long lead rope (20-25′) or lounge line will work OK. If you decide to try it, I recommend a “carrot stick” – a 4′ whip with a rope at the end. This can be used to swish or hit the ground to encourage the horse to keep going (try search round pen techniques on youtube). If you decide to try it, your tone and demeanor should be neutral throughout….Just another day at the office.




    I’d like to see this method on film…

    Sorry, but your are not working under your horse with a knife. You can’t see his reaction. It’s not safe. A horse should be attached while being trimmed.



    I realize I don’t have the experience that most of you on here have, but I could feel any change in the horses mind set through his leg. Rewarding them for standing still is a good way to get there attention.
    With that said, after 30 yrs. under horses, I’ll use the stocks for the heavy guys. Anything to save on a tired back helps. and they still learn to stand.


    Carl Russell

    I have handled my horses’ feet and shod them for nearly all of the 27 years I have worked horses. This exercise can be frustrating, and complicated to get good at.

    Before I get too deep, I will say that I have only used a stock once, when my leg was injured and I needed the assistance. I have seen them used well, by people and horses that are experienced, but in my case, it was a necessary attempt at something I didn’t prepare for… it didn’t work out well, and I have always worked on their feet in cross-ties since (as before).

    It can be misleading to see stocks as restrictive devices…. they can be, but should not be used, or thought of, as such. They simply are a way to assure that the horse is safe, and that the farrier has the support they need for accurate work.

    Any time we work with horses, we need to think about how we appear to them. If we are uncertain, or confused, we will not appear in a way that is comforting to the animal. Remember confusion often leads to frustration. Working on horses’ feet (in or out of stocks) requires a significant amount of cooperation from the horse, which is a function of the leadership that is coming from the handler.

    Working on feet is at its best one of the foundational exercises for developing partnership with the horse, but it doesn’t in my mind need to come from tiring, or fighting against the horse.

    I have referred to pressure and release many times when addressing working with horses. This is a perfect opportunity to apply the same principles here. When a horse pulls its foot away, it is not trying to be a nudge, it is just letting us know that it is not comfortable with what we are doing, and that it is unclear about what we expect.

    This can often be because previous handlers also tried to fight the horse for its foot, or were a bit frightened, or unsure. It can also lead to frustration, which in turn leads to heightened confusion for the horse.

    I have looked at many horses for sale over the years, and I’m amazed at the number of people who leave foot handling to farriers, or someone else……

    First, like Jeroen mentioned, get informed. Reading in a book is a great place to start, but watching, and learning from a knowledgeable person really is necessary. Don’t just look at the foot, watch how the person works around the horse.

    A horse has no incentive to pick up its foot. In fact with a foot in the air, or worse being held by someone, they are at their most vulnerable… we need to recognize the depth of trust that we are expecting from them…. I mean deep…. like DNA deep.

    Watch the first time you reach for a foot. You will notice the breaking point in the animals trust bubble. Push on that, but not to the point where they pull away. Put on the pressure, and release before they retract, therefore rewarding them for allowing you in.

    When you pick up the foot, do the same thing. Get it off the ground, make a comforting sound, and put it back down. It is not about holding the foot up, and it isn’t about trimming, it is about developing communication that is based on the horse trusting that you will treat them with dignity…. recognizing just how much they are giving to you.

    Steadily increase the amount of time you hold the foot, always giving it back before they need to take it back…. as soon as you start fighting with a horse, you will be teaching them that you want to fight over their feet…. which we obviously don’t want to do.

    One of the main reasons why becoming comfortable with the work is so that you can think clearly about the exercise. If you are struggling to get the toes trimmed, that is all you are working on… however, if you are comfortable with what you need to accomplish, then you will be able to see how to get the toes clipped while working on a communication exercise.

    Remember the pressure is only part of the formula. Without the pressure the reward has no value, but the horse doesn’t learn from the pressure, they learn on the release. Release every time the horse does exactly what you want. Be willing to set those expectations small enough that a reward is possible. Recognize the slightest tries.

    Before long working of feet will not just become an accomplishment that looks good, and works good for the horse, but will be a rewarding experience of subtle and comprehensive communication….




    I will be honest, I have never gone to any sort of a class, I watched a lot of stuff on the net and did some research.

    The one guy I got my mare from put almost every horse of his in stocks, for two reasons I think, 1 he didn’t have to hold the hoof, 2, His stock was raised bout a foot or so off the ground so you wouldn’t have to bend over, I also know there were a few horses I would drug and they wouldn’t fuss then

    I personally am in the middle of finding what I want to do for work, I have been thinking about going to MN horse shoeing school and becoming a farrier. I already have a strong welding background but that industry just really rubbed me the wrong way and the only way I would do any welding work is on my own not working for other people. When I was in the welding world I really missed my horses, I didn’t have time for them, I had other people taking care of them and it came down to me leaving my welding job behind or selling the horses and I cared too much about the horses to get rid of them.

    This mare I was working on yesterday let me clean all her feet in the pasture with out a rope holding her, Her daughter and team mate would let me do the fronts but not her rears. I didn’t see them having such an issue with going in the barn and being tied until we were there and they were being crabs.

    My belgians are real pains if they don’t have their team mate by them, as long as they are close to each other they stand really nice and don’t fuss

    This is where I would like to be, I would like to start logging with horses, I also want to farm about 15-20 ac. of land with them, I’ve also been posting things on line locally about draft horses for hire for everything from wagon rides, weddings, digging food plots, gardens anything I’ve been able to think of using my horses for and making money with them I’m trying advertise. With all that being said I figured being I’m working horses if I ever was really slow it would be nice to have a back up, I first thought welding would be that but I just find theres too much work with all the different certs a person would be asked for so now I’m on the idea of being a farrier part time. I already know forge skills and I know a lot about heating metal, I also know a lot about different types of metal.

    I’ve gone in to my career plan and drawn away from what my topic was but oh well.

    thanks for the replys



    Hi all, More than one way to skin a cat as they say. I have trimmed my own horses for along time, and yes; you do need some help from someone with experience in learning this skill. The basics of managing the animal and the tools while recognizing what you are aiming to achieve is quiet a lot to start with. Over the last ten years I have certainly continued to learn and improve my skills.

    My horses and mules have never been shod for several reasons; not the least of which is I have never acquired the skill. For my farm purposes it is almost never necessary with the possible exception of a few icy days when I might like to use horses but skip it because they need traction. I also like keeping my horses in a loose herd and I am unclear as to how well the corks would work in that situation, and on rubber mates.

    As far as tied vs. stocks I would say I can see benefits to both answers. Like George, any of my animals (except weanlings – but they will learn!) can be trimmed while standing in the center of a paddock, unrestrained; but I typically tie them by the halter to a wall. the rest of my animals are loose, so tying one up does help make my job easier. The point about trimming unrestrained for me is not really about hoof care, but rather this is one of my measures of how well an animal responds to me and when the are ready for other challenges.

    I think this relates to Peyton’s question because often untieing a horse helps us see how we contribute to it’s moving or staying still. This is where I begin to teach new teamsters how their voices, movements, and touches can teach or make an animal stay still while our actions can also lead to unwanted moves from the animal. When an animal is loose we find that it is not really just them moving; it is what we do that they are responding to. this is incredibly valuable and not really about trimming. When someone goes out to hook to a log for the first time and the horse is moving every few seconds, I explain that you are now distracted by the log, the chain, the harness, and the lines. You need to channel the moment in the paddock when you found out that you could lead this animal to be still while you moved. With all the distractions, you still need to manage your animal.

    Honestly, the great thing about stocks would be saving me from a back ache. I am tall and approaching the point in life where you realize you physically will not last for ever. Trimming good horses that way a ton does make my back ache. A better hoof stand would help. (I have a home made one) I can see the value in stocks and certainly have nothing against them. A horse that is not calm and relaxed at your direction will not be much more fun to trim in stocks than they would tied to a wall.



    I understand what you all are saying where the horse should respect you and stand there. I’m thinking of building some stocks and I don’t want to use it as a restraint but just as a tool to save my self.

    to the people posting here what does a cost to get shoes all the way around a horse? are they kegs or bar stock? do you have any sort of added traction with them? studs, drill tech ext.



    The stock should be a save haven, where they feel comfortable. Where you put it is very important. A quiet place, cool in summer, no wind in winter and not a nice view of the coutryside. Eliminate all factors that can spook. If you shoe, put your anvil in front of the horse so they can see what you are doing.
    The key thing is taking much time to get them comfortabel in the stock and get used to you moving around. Stocks were they can walk through are handy, because at first that is what you do, you stop, close the front after that and so on. I take two weeks daily exercise before I even put a rope around a foot. Go slow and they will be comfortabel to work with.

    Mine are so at ease in their stock I have to wake them all the time when I want to change feet.

    I use standard Kerckaert draft horse shoes and shoe 4 times a year.


    Carl Russell

    I know that the question was initially about stocks, or tying, but I think that it has more to do with communication than equipment.

    It is a common misnomer to use the concept of “respect” for what we expect from our horses….. As an example I found this quote by Ray hunt to be very descriptive of what I was talking about….

    “The horse does one of two things. He does what he thinks he’s supposed to do, or he does what he thinks he needs to do to survive.” Ray Hunt

    This speaks to the tendencies of the animal. I personally do not think that a horse actually does anything out of respect. Of course they will learn to respect boundaries, but that does not necessarily translate into actions related to expectation.

    It is, as I have said many times, out of trust that they cooperate. Respect is a razors edge where if it suits their interests they practice it, but without trust to back it up…. meaning they trust that we deserve their respect…. their respect is fickle.

    What they are “supposed to do” cannot be a forced act….. it is a choice they make based on the balance against what they “need to do to survive”. If we cannot make that choice favorable, then it will always be a chore. Developing trust in the animal that the cooperative communication of the interplay between human and horse is stronger than any other drive is the key as I see it.



    Will Stephens

    There are two different styles of hoof stand. One for cradling the hoof and one that is more of a post style for clinching and rasping. I actually started using these on smaller horses first because the old timer method I first learned to hold the hooves to work on was too hard to get into position under a 14 hh pony. Then I learned the joy of not holding the horses leg up for them (or my standard bred who at 30 just would lean on me for help standing as his arthritis, age made it harder for him to stand long. All of my horses have been very good at holding their feet up for me anytime asked. Like Carl is always impressing on people, each of these tasks are ways to improve our relationship. I have been able to get off and re-apply a shoe on a trail ride, a horse that yield his/her feet well tends not to panic id there feet get caught and they need help to get out safely. I had a horse that got his foot caught in a hay bag tied to the fence when nobody was around. I don’t know how long he stood there yielding his foot to the haybag, but it was a while and it saved a potentially serious accident. I am not a horse trainer, I am not someone who is very experienced, and I am not being humble. Anyone can learn how to have animals that will willingly hold their feet for whatever you need to do with patience and time. If stands help the job go more smoothly for you use them. If the stocks make it easier for you, use them. If you enjoy the task more so will the horse. Just teach them in the smallest increments necessary for their comfort first. As an aside, a lot of horses would be a lot better at picking up there feet for owners and farriers if their feet got picked up and picked out more often. I keep one in my pocket at all times working the horses. They may pick up a rock, pack mud/manure, or just a good training opportunity.



    Carl Russell I know what you mean, I have netflix and watched “Buck” a while back and was blown away, I know what you mean with the Ray Hunt comment.

    I’ve been making them stand tied to a gate with a lead rope. Today I had them tied and they were turning in to each other butt to head, each way, getting tangled, pawing at the ground. It really don’t understand it, they are really nice and calm in the pasture but stand like to knot heads when tied. I don’t know if they want to come by me to be rubbed or what the deal is. They slowly stand ok after 10 mins. I had them tied a good 45 mins and then I started to fit harnesses on them cause I haven’t drove them yet, tomorrow I’m gonna try hooking them on a sled and see how that goes…

    I talked with a farrier about doing a few ride alongs with him to see what his day is like and I’m thinking about going to school to learn how to be a farrier and hot shoe.


    Will Stephens

    The new video posted on this site of the draft horseman on Martha’s Vineyard has a segment at the 12th minute showing the owner shoeing without stocks. Everyone’s way is different but it’s a good illustration if your inclined to watch.



    Thanks for the tip

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