As farriers, we have a dangerous job. We routinely get underneath horses that are strong enough and fast enough to end our career or life in the blink of an eye. Thankfully all horses can be trained to stand well and be relatively safe. Teaching a horse to stand still while we are working on it is not a complicated task, nor is it something that takes a considerable amount of time. It does however take being committed to the daily choices required to have a well mannered horse. A horse may even appear to stand well from an onlooker, but in reality, leaning and the farrier is taking the brunt of the weight.
Since we are continually putting our lives and careers in the hands of our clients who train their horses, it is important to have good communication about a horse’s behavior. Unfortunately, we have seen far too many dangerous horses lately with owners that don’t seem to understand or care that the horse is dangerous. In order to help communicate to owners how each horse behaves, each invoice from us will have a letter grade for that particular horse. Each grade corresponds to a behavior category for a horse.
A: Horse stands still in cross ties or a single tie or held with no unnecessary movements or pulling. Farrier work is not in any way compromised by the behavior of the horse. (Please note a horse that is stiff / sore can still receive an “A” behavior rating.)
B: Horse stands reasonably well but does move around the work area unnecessarily and/or pull or lean on the farrier. This slows down the process and makes accurate work difficult to accomplish, as well as possibly making the farrier sore or breaking tools as the horse steps on something.
C: Horse pulls or jerks on the farrier, does not stand well for hot fitting or buffing. Quality of work is compromised due to poor behavior. This horse will cause the farrier to be sore for multiple days after. Proper training in manners is a must, the owner must make an effort to improve the behavior of the horse to be considered for future work. This horse is completely ineligible for any discounts due to behavior.
D. The horse’s behavior is unacceptable and dangerous. Horse pulls away from the farrier, kicks out, bites, or runs backwards. The horse cannot be tied and must be held. The quality of work is severely compromised due to the behavior of the horse. The horse’s behavior puts the farrier at risk for serious bodily injury. This horse must receive intensive training or sedation to be considered for work in the future. If an effort to improve the horse’s behavior is shown by the owner, we will continue to work with the animal. If no attempt is made at producing a horse with proper manners in between appointments, service will be discontinued.
F. This horse is extremely dangerous / aggressive. This horse puts the farrier’s career and life in immediate jeopardy. This horse will not be worked on under any circumstances.