Monday, February 18, 2013

New Farrier? and a Comments on Horses for Sale

Some of you, in the comments on the last post, asked why I kept using my farrier/trimmer if I wasn't happy about how he was trimming my horses.  (Update - Dawn's doing a bit better and Red is now rideable.  Pie continues to be just fine - he's Pie, after all.)  That's a very good question.  I often hang on to situations/relationships/habits/you name it, even when it's clear to everyone else that doing so isn't a good idea - some misguided sense of loyalty, perhaps, or just plain old inertia, or perhaps fear that doing something else would be worse.

Anyway, I have a line on another farrier.  He's used by a couple of people at my barn, and they seem very satisfied.  They're knowledgeable horse owners (there's plenty at my barn who aren't), knowledgeable about hooves and hoof care, and all their horses are barefoot.  This guy apparently comes every 6 weeks like clockwork, and does the least he needs to in terms of trimming.  He also apparently does a good bit of continuing ed, which I like.  Although he's not strictly a barefoot trimmer - he does shoeing as well, including specialty corrective shoeing - he seems to work well with these clients and their horses.  One of the owners at my barn is going to introduce us by e-mail, and I'll ask him to look at my horses, and maybe do a touch-up if needed, when he comes out in about three and a half weeks - Dawn and Red are likely to need nothing but Pie will have grown some foot by then.  If I like him, I'll get on his regular schedule and bid goodbye to my existing farrier/trimmer.

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Now, for some fun - thanks to all those who commented on the three horses for sale that I posted as hypothetical purchases.  I have some thoughts on these three, but there are a couple of posts I did back during the Great Horse Search that set out how I went about it - here they are:

Questions to ask (scroll down in the post for the questions)
Honesty in sellers, telephone interviewing and follow-up questions

Horse number 1 -  This horse would be my leading candidate from the three I posted.  He's very nicely build - square and well-proportioned.  I like his shoulder, head and neck and hind leg angles.  Can't see his body at all, so that would be a question.  From what I can see of his feet, they look pretty good - big and well-shaped.  He's actually built quite a bit like Red.  His breeding is good - he's performance bred and he looks athletic.  Questions, in addition to getting a full set of conformation shots as well as video (although he's close enough to me I'd probably just visit) would probably start with his history.  He's at a big dealer - I don't know this dealer and would want to do some checking on his reputation - I generally steer clear of dealers but can deal with one if I know more about him.  The horse was purchased from his original owner - why did the original owner sell?  The price is pretty low for a horse of his age and breeding unless there's something else going on - the dealer would have gotten him for even less - I'd want to poke around and try to find out what that is.  Temperament and disposition in a performance bred horse like this would be a question.  Some of them are too catty and hot for me - Red's on the borderline for this, but his puppy-dog personality makes a big difference now that we're bonded.  Also, this guy is lightly built, or looks that way - I would need to see him in person and how he moves - his lightness of bone may be fine with his light build, or maybe not.  I wouldn't be surprised if there's a chronic soundness issue here, or holes in training, but would have to see what I could find out.

I do like his expression, what I can see of it - he looks sweet.  Since I'm not looking to compete, that goes a long way with me.

Horse number 2 -  I used to be a big mare person, but the older I get the more I like the boys.  But she's a very pretty mare - I especially like her expression in the photo - she looks alert but relaxed.  I'm always suspicious when the horse is only shown in the pasture, and not under saddle.  Her conformation looks good - maybe a little long in the back - and her feet look nice to the extent we can see them.  Real conformation shots are needed - why don't people put these up in the first place?  Her breeding is good for me, and she seems to have lots of mileage and experience.  With her, it would be a matter of what she really looks and moves like, and why they're selling her.

Horse number 3 -  I like this guy a lot - he reminds me of Pie (and Cake plus Pie is very tempting).  His personality and willingness seem great - there are lots of photos of him doing various things on their website.  His sire and dam are also on the website, which is good, and since he's with his breeders good information would be available.  I have some issues with his conformation and movement from the photos I've looked at.  I like his bone and substance, and the feet look good.  His breeding is quite attractive. He looks fairly straight in the shoulder and long in the neck and body, and tends to stand under himself - he might not be that comfortable to ride.  He's a bit straight in the hock and stifle and appears to travel on the forehand - I expect he's downhill although it's hard to see with the saddle.  Good conformation shots would be needed.  The big question here is why they're selling him - they have lots of horses, so why keep others and sell him?  He's had a lot of experience and is probably a pretty solid working horse - he might be a great horse if you were willing to tolerate some conformation defects.  I expect he might make a dandy trail or husband horse.  I always try to keep in mind that there are horses with perfect conformation who go lame and horses with defects who stay sound.

If I were looking (which I'm not), I'd probably make calls on all three of these horses.

And, just for fun, here's another one for your vicarious horse-shopping pleasure - for once, not a red horse:

Horse number 4.


  1. Kate, I do the same thing (hanging onto relationships). I stayed with my first farrier, even though he had gotten quite sloppy, for years because he had been so good - and so good with wild little Panama - in the beginning. But then last spring he trimmed Rondo far too short, and I lost him for three months while he grew back. I had another farrier for a couple of trims, but she was trimming too short too - Rondo was still growing back, and Panama is like Pie in that he is always sound, but she lamed several of my friends' horses so I switched again. And I am really happy I did - so far I really like my new farrier!

  2. It's hard to change--sometimes it's easier to stick with "the devil you know," to coin a phrase. As for Horse #4, I'd take him (even though he's GRAY and will be difficult to keep clean) but I'd insist the cowboy be part of the deal ;o) Very good marketing strategy, imho--eye candy on two and four legs ;o)

    1. Pretty nice set of photos - although they don't show much of the horse except his sweet face.

  3. Well hands down I always take the grey horse. He seems to have done a lot of stuff for only coming on six years old. Wonder why they're selling him. That's my first question. He looks sweet though.

  4. Love the Gray! Love Michael Martin Murphy too, and if he says it;s a good horse,. I'd take him at his word.

  5. Hope the farrier situation works out... It is hard to switch providers, especially if that person might still be coming to the barn for other clients or something...

    I have to say that I like horse #4 way more than the others, just based on the ad. Although, the cowboy looks so happy with his horse in the first pic, you would wonder why they are selling? I would love a horse that has worked on a ranch and seen cows, etc.

  6. I had the same issue with the first farrier I used. I didn't like him and my horse didn't like him, but it was a situation of "the evil you know is better than the unknown evil". Or maybe it was just inertia. When I switched barns I was adamant that I would find the perfect farrier for my boy.

    Luckily, I found a great barefoot trimmer who likes my horse, trims him well and whom I like and trust. She was recommended to me by the vet/chiro/accupuncturist I use. So, we made the switch and I am so very happy. I wish I had used her from the beginning.

  7. I had a similar uncomfortable situation in switching equine dentists. I never got a good vibe from the barn dentist (in fact I detested him in many ways), but as a new horse owner I had no contacts or baseline for comparison. It was my trainer who finally pushed me to find a new dentist, becuase she could tell that my horse was still suffering from rear hooks. This was after I had extensive (expensive) work done and the dentist had assured me (in a rather annoyed way) that my horse did not have rear hooks. He was flat out wrong and ironically, the dentist who I use now is far better qualified, far more professional, and costs me less money! I still can't believe the entire barn did not switch. I am certain it has more to do with loyalty and old habits than the competency of their dentist.

    I hope the new trimmer is a keeper!


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