The Horse Physio - Delivering care with expertise since 1992

30.10.2021 How To Fix Fear Of The Farrier

How To… Fix Fear Of The Farrier… In 10 Easy Steps

Chapter 3: Can He Stand Still?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Teaching your horse to stand still is the foundation of rock that you can safely build on.

I don’t mean to stand still for a minute or two, or to stand still with you holding tight onto his head collar.  He has to stand still for the farrier for up to several minutes at a time, and to wait patiently without overly fidgeting for up to an hour (sometimes more, if he has remedial farriery).  It’s no good expecting him to do this without practise, and it’s no good only practising when the farrier is there!  Ideally you’ll teach him to stand when asked wherever he is, either with you holding him, or tied up.  I wrote more about teaching your horse to stand in ’10 Of The Best: Exercises To Improve Your Confidence With Your Horse From The Ground’.  You’ll find lots more information around the subject on the internet.  I suggest typing ‘ground tying horse’ into your search bar and perhaps starting with some of the information there.  If you are able to ground tie your horse, you will be able to practise picking his feet up by yourself, rather than needing someone to hold his head while you practise.  

Time your horse on how long he’s able to stand still, and gradually increase your goals.  We feel so pressured by time that we’re always in a hurry to get on with the next thing, but if standing still is what our horse needs to learn, then standing still is what should be practised with the time we have available.  To relieve the boredom of standing still, try listening to a song (or three), or listening to the radio, an audiobook or a podcast.  Chatting with a friend doesn’t often work well, at least not initially, because you need to have a great deal of focus on your horse so that you can respond very quickly to any communication (moving his feet).  Personally I never find teaching a horse to stand still boring, because if you are watching for the tiny changes, then there is always something happening.

Remember that the longer your horse has been allowed to move where he likes when he likes, the longer it’ll take to persuade him that’s no longer the case.

© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio, 2021

Treating your horse with care, connection, curiosity and compassion