New Horse Owner Remove Shoes?

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   Q:  Is it very difficult to remove the horse's shoes, even if someone has no experience at removing the horse's shoes?  I own a 15 year old gelding, and my instructor has sold him to me and informs me that I should remove his shoes soon to avoid any slipping and/or falling of the horse.  In order to save some money, my husband thinks he can remove the shoes with a pair of pliers.  Is this a good idea?  I've been given the name of my instructor's blacksmith.  We move in the Northeast and winters can get pretty snowy and I just want what's best for the horse.  Email me your answer as soon as possible.

A:  It is very difficult to remove a horse's shoes if you do not know what you are doing even if you have the right tools (which pliers are not!). I honestly feel that a horse owner should know how to remove shoes. On my web site I have a Q&A describing the tools that a horse owner should have in their barn for them to use in case of emergency. You need to hire a competent and reputable Certified Journeyman Farrier to care for your horse's feet and he/she can show you how to remove a shoe should the need arise.

Your instructor neglected to explain that your horse will need to have its feet trimmed and/or shod every 6 to 8 weeks for as long as he shall live! Tell your husband that he will not save money by pulling the shoes himself. He will probably hurt the horse and wind up with a vet bill far greater than he imagined possible as well as possibly injuring himself! Leave routine hoof care to the professional farrier you hire.

Remember that the cheapest part of owning a horse is the purchase price. Maintaining the horse properly is not an inexpensive or easy task although it is one that millions of horse owners cherish and can not imagine life without.

What is best for the horse, no matter where he lives, is that you educate yourself by doing some reading. Begin by reading all of the Articles and Q&As on my web site. I also highly recommend How to be Your Own Vet (sometimes) by Ruth B. James, DVM, which is a $20 book that will probably save you thousands of dollars in mistakes.

If you check your local feed store they probably have the Western Horseman series of books relating to the care, feed and management of a horse. These are also excellent sources of information.

I hope you are aware of vaccination, worming, feeding, housing,  & fencing requirements of horses. These are just a few of the things you need to become informed about. In exchange for investing all this time and energy into educating yourself and caring for this animal, you will be rewarded with companionship, affection, having someone who will listen without talking back, will not talk about you behind your back, will transport you from place to place and really, always be glad to see you.

Winston Churchill has been quoted as saying that There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of man. It is very true especially in today's computerized impersonal society.

I do need to caution you in one respect. If your husband dislikes horses, keep him away from your horse as much as possible. People who do not have an affection for horses reflect that attitude and the horses can sense it and will react negatively to it. These people will only see the horse at its worse and are most likely to be injured by it. Also these people will alter the horse's attitude towards people in general. You really do not want an animal that outweighs you by at least 10 times not feeling kindly towards you!

Horses will submit to the will of man as long as kindness is shown to them along with fair discipline.

Good luck with your horse. You are a very fortunate person to have this special animal in your life.


Geronimo Bayard
The American Blacksmith
Oakland, Oregon

Q: Thank you for the information and I will heed every word of it!

Your website is very informative!

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This entire web site is copyright protected.  1996-2001 Geronimo & Mary Bayard,  2001-2008 Mary Fitzpatrick
All rights reserved. Contact Mary for reproduction information & permission.