Another day at the farm… and a rant about farriers

     Thursdays have been interesting the last two weeks. I have been “forced” to take the day off from work because the farrier. I guess this isn’t completely true, because I have been growing things at work)This has ended up being a nice way for me to spend some extra time getting projects done at the barn, and a little bit of riding in. Last week, the farrier gave us the run around, saying that he was cancelling (a day out) because it was supposed to rain (which matters not, as we do farrier work under a shelter…). Then he said he would be out, but his truck had problems, so maybe later. Then nothing. I spent the day working with the ponies and cleaning out the nasty, nasty horse stalls.

     So this week, the farrier was scheduled to come at 10am. Good early morning time! Then the day before he rescheduled to 12pm. Ugh. Starting to be annoying. I went out to the barn and piddled, not wanting to ride because I wanted my horses done first. And piddled. Then we decided to grab lunch and got behind, so we texted the farrier to ask him to let us know when he was on his way, if we needed to run. He said he had to get some tools and he would be out soon… Cue 2:30pm and here he is. Starts working on Oberon and first thing tells me that he has navicular because of sensitivity to hoof testers.

     Now navicular sounds pretty bad. Basically, inflammation and degeneration of the navicular bone and the surrounds tendons, ligaments, and tissue cause lameness and pain that increases with time. Long story short, its degenerative, and causes lameness in the front feet and culminates with your horse becoming a pasture ornament. No bueno. Of course, I was very interested in how this works, so I spent some time researching and chatting with people.

     The symptoms of the syndrome include lameness on both front feet, with the horse avoiding stepping on his heel. One foot will likely be more sore than the other. So when a person sees their horse limping (being lame), they will usually ask the farrier to check them out or take them to a vet. The farrier can make some educated guesses, and the vet can x-ray or ultrasound the foot and get a picture of whats happening. Working together, the vet and farrier can usually come up with a treatment plan that maintains the horse’s comfort and longevity.

     Anyways, to summarize that last paragraph, diagnosis occurs with radio graphs and ultrasounds and other in-vet hospital tests. In Oberon’s case, I haven’t seen him be lame… and this is a major red flag to me. The next red flag is the farrier diagnosing a degenerative condition with one small test, that could mean lots of other issues. The final flag is that the farrier said regular shoeing until he becomes lame, then fancy (ie expensive) shoes, then pasture ornament. Nothing was mentioned about working with a vet for a treatment program…

     I guess my summary here is that I am miffed that the farrier jumped to a very serious sounding disease with minimal diagnosis and no referral to the other side of the treatment (aka vet). I think its pretty much bs and a great way to charge me for unnecessary therapeutic shoes. He may certainly become lame later on, and I will deal with that when it comes.

     Ranting…I especially have trouble taking you seriously when you waste my entire day. Just because we can take texts to update ETA and reschedule, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your original appointment. And please don’t make your excuses less compelling when you don’t apologize for being late and then tell me how you were working cows this morning, when you should have showed up at 10am. Ugh.

     And before this blog post gets completely ridiculous and long, I will end on a good note. I have written many times about Jellybean’s questionable behavior and sometimes outright aggression to farriers. Well, with the assistance of the dressage whip, Jellybean was a saint. The excellent thing was when the farrier responded to my description of her behavior by saying it was my responsibility to discipline my horse. Why has no one said that before? Communication is clearly the key. Now all the ponies are trimmed, and hopefully staying dry as the rain comes again.


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