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30.11.2021 How To Fix Fear Of The Farrier

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

Chapter 9: Food as a distraction

Bribery is rarely a good plan as a training tool, but using food as a distraction or a reward can work very well in relation to overcoming fear of the farrier.  This can be as simple as a haynet for him to munch on while he’s being shod, or more labour intensive such as holding a bowl of carrots and herbal treats at key moments.  All too often food is used as a bribe to try to persuade a horse to do what’s being asked of him, but this will only work if the temptation of the food is greater than the horse’s resistance to doing what he’s being asked to do.  A similar theory applies to using food as a distraction, by allowing your horse to have a haynet or chomp his way through a feed while he’s being shod.  This doesn’t mean you should use it as a distraction, but it does mean that your training needs to have reached a certain point for the food distraction to be helpful.  If the fear of the farrier is greater than the temptation of the hay or feed then you need to spend more time training your horse.

If you are using food as a reward, avoid hand feeding wherever possible, as this can lead to bad habits and is potentially very dangerous.  Think of the food as a reward for good behaviour, rather than desperately hoping that if your horse is eating he won’t misbehave.  If you focus on rewarding the behaviour that you are looking for, the timing of any treats you give will reflect this.  When your horse is demonstrating an undesired behaviour (i.e. not doing what you want him to do), use training techniques to overcome this behaviour, and then if you want to, you could use food as a reward for the correct behaviour.  Bear in mind that one of the best rewards you can give your horse is peace and quiet, and a good scratch, so don’t be too quick to go straight for the food reward.