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When Do I Call In the Big Guns,
And Where Do I Find Them?

Sometimes life just catches up with you and your horse. He gets hurt, he gets sick, he has a metabolic problem – and there you are, needing a special shoeing job, a resection, Glue-On shoes, fancy forge work. You like your regular farrier, but he}s the first one to tell you that what Hoofer needs is beyond his technical capabilities. What do you do? Where do you turn?
You may need a Big Gun Farrier if ....
  • your current farrier is baffled by your horse’s case.
  • your vet is trying to say, nicely, that more farrier skill would render a better result.
  • the best efforts of your vet and farrier are not giving you good results, but one or the other thinks that someone else may have something better to offer you.
  • you feel that your horse just Ain’t Doin’ Right in the feet, but your farrier or vet (while not necessarily disagreeing with you) doesn’t have any suggestions for something else to try.

    Conditions that may need specialized treatment----

    • Laminitis/founder – heart bars and/or resection
    • White line disease – resection
    • Coffin bone fracture – custom bar and wedge shoe
    • Serious leg or hock problems – bar shoes, special pads, balancing issues
    • Surgical support
    • Therapeutic shoeing for foals

So, How Do I Find This Paragon?

Well, who was it that told you your horse needed this special work? Your vet or farrier, right? Ask your vet first. Ask specifically for a name, a phone number, and for your contact to call this farrier and ask him/her to take you as a client. Many farriers with this kind of skill specialize in therapeutic shoeing, and will only take clients as a referral from a veterinarian or fellow farrier.

If your veterinarian doesn’t know anyone, or hesitates to recommend any one particular person, telephone the nearest school of veterinary medicine and find out if they have someone on staff who does therapeutic shoeing (they do). Talk to this person, and find out if s/he can recommend someone in your area. You can also check with the American Farriers Association and find out if there is anyone in your area whom they would recommend.

If there’s no one in your area, you may want to consider a dual approach: load Hoofer up and take him to the school’s veterinary farrier, and bring your farrier along (offering to pay for his time, of course). If he can learn to apply whatever therapeutic device your horse needs directly from the guru at the university, you will both benefit. No matter how you approach this problem be prepared to pay more than you would pay for a “normal” shoeing job. Forging bar stock into special shoes is time consuming and hard work; the farrier must charge for it. University farriers are in high demand and can charge accordingly. If you want your regular farrier to learn new skills, you’ll have to figure on paying for his time, at least. But the end result may be a sound, rideable horse. That’s worth it, isn’t it?

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about matt
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contact
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