If you ask the owners of 10 older horses how they keep their charges comfortable during a trim or shoeing session, you'll likely get a variety of answers. Some will probably be similar while others are innovative. I'm lucky that my 16-year-old Thoroughbred, who's still actively competing and in training, has no problems when it comes to trims. In fact, he's one of our farrier's favorites to work on.

However our 26-year-old Appaloosa, Taz, is a different story. He's not bad for the when it's time for a trim, he's just a bit unstable. Fortunately, we've worked with our farrier on developing an effective system for keeping everyone comfortable during a trim: take it slow and gentle.

Yes, I know it sounds overly simple, but we've found that moving a little slower and picking up and putting down the feet with a little more finesse has helped us get through trims without issue. Taz gets longer breaks between trimming each foot to let him rest on four legs for a few moments, and picking up and putting down his feet a little slower makes it easier for him to find his balance.

Fortunately, joint or leg pain during trims doesn't seem to be an issue yet. Taz already gets a joint supplement daily, so we haven't needed to give him any additional medicinal support as of yet.

Will simply slowing down work in every aged horse's case? Nope. But it's worked so far for us. Someday, though, I'm sure we'll need to reevaluate and develop a new approach. Until then, we'll just keep taking it slow.

Does your aged horse need special care when the farrier arrives? How do you keep him or her comfortable during farriery work? Have you had any related experiences you'd like to caution other owners about?


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