Join-Up? With Your Farrier! Is the title of an interesting new clinic to be hosted later this month (January 19-20) by natural horsemanship maestro Monty Roberts at his Flag Is Up Farm in Solvang, California, near Santa Barbara.
In fact, Monty has "re-joined" up with his former farrier, Ada Gates Patton of Pasadena, and the two will offer expertise to both farriers and horse owners.
Both Ada and Monty are concerned about farriers being injured by frightened or untrained horses; they are also concerned about the safety of nervous horses who are often on cross-ties.
Here's what Monty has to say about people whose horses won't behave for the farrier:
"In every country I have visited, I have found that some people believe that the farrier can educate the horse himself when it comes to standing and behaving while the footwork is done. This is an unacceptable mind-set. A farrier is a professional and should be treated as such. His expertise is to care for your horse's feet, not to train him.
"While it is true that some farriers are also good horsemen and quite capable of doing the training, most horse owners do not plan to pay the farrier for training services. The farrier often feels that he is being taken advantage of and should not be required to take the time necessary to train. This can result in short tempers, and horses dealt with in an inappropriate way.
"While farriers are generally physically fit, muscular and capable of administering harsh treatment, should something like this occur, the blame should rest with the people securing their services, and not the farrier."
In his book, Monty describes a mophead-like tool that he uses to get a horse accustomed to activity around its feet from a safe distance; he describes it on his web site, too.
Monty and Ada will work with farriers and horse owners to demonstrate simple training and handling techniques, with the aim of conquering the specific fears that some horses have of farriers and/or having their feet handled.
Ada will also demonstrate simple methods of hoof measuring that she uses to evaluate hoof balance and achieve a more level, balanced trim.
The fee is $150 per day, and the clinics will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Please call Flag Is Up Farm at (805) 688-3483 for more information and to reserve space.