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My Zimbio

Not Always easy being a Farrier / today was one of those days
Friday 1st of April 2011 03:05 AM

Hello and hope everyone's getting ready for some great riding.

No pictures today , just a short ( i hope ) story.

One of my clients called me last nite , says a horse he recently got ( borrowed ) is lame and wanted to know if i could come out almost immediately, i said yes tomorrow. Last time i shod the horse it had abscesses in both front feet , that was 8 weeks ago so everything should be fine by now.

Now's where the fun starts : I meet my client and he's a BIG guy 6'3" 260 lbs. He starts in " so and so at this ranch says the toes are too long ( like it's my fault ) so and so at this ranch says the shoes are too small for the horse ( again as though it's my fault )  And look the foot's overgrowing the shoe , and there's no heel support - and the horse is lame , and he's probably sore in the bulbs , and the attitude is it's all my fault.  Oh and , it's like this horse hasn't been shod for 12 weeks the feet are so long ( my fault again ).

So i look at the horse , the feet aren't unnecessarily long for 8 weeks in fact don't really show that the feet have grown all that much , and i mentioned that to my client standing right there next to me. The Response " So and so says the feet are long way too long " and he's looking at me like he's dead sure it's all my fault and whatever this other "So and So" has been telling him is fact !  I couldn't control myself , i told him in almost these exact words " I'm so F'ing sick of other peoples attitudes about my shoeing , they don't know what the "F" they're talking about"!  And he's still sure everything's my fault.

Now this "So and So" happens to be on the ranch , and he's kinda checking things out while i'm right there having to defend myself and my reputation - let me speak on my reputation here with you for a second or two .  My Reputation is for the past 20 years that i've been shoeing horses i've not had one single lame horse from the methods i use. I happen to think 20 years is enough time to pretty much validate my methods of shoeing work. In fact it's really unquestionable in my mind at this point , that's how much confidence i have in what i'm doing.

It's so funny ! Now i have two guys - the one BIG guy and the other guy that i have to defend myself with. Remember there's a lame horse here and it's my fault you see " LOL " .... Oh boy.  I take the shoes off the front feet and the second foot i notice that the horse has yet another abscess , making for a total of 3 since my last visit with the horse.  Well that takes some pressure off me because now there's a reason for the lameness, but the accusations of everything else is still heavy in the air.  The toes are long the toes are long - you get the idea. So i clean the foot as normal and see there's very little hoof wall to cut off. Now i have bonafide proof the feet aren't long in fact the horse is a slow grower of hoof , so that makes another hurdle overcome.

Now as i go into explanations with the BIG guy he's asking questions of me as though he's deliberately working on CATCHING me in some wrong doing or in some kind of MISTAKE i'm making , it's like this guy's on a witch hunt and i'm the suspect !!

So i give an explanation and he immediately looks away from me to look at the other guy standing there looking for verification of what i'm saying. The Big guy looks at me - he looks at the other guy - then looks back and me then back at the other guy - you getting the idea ?   This is INSANE !!!

The horse has no heels - well i answer " that's because the horse was brought to me two shoeings ago with Bozo the Clown feet and as a result the horse has sheered heels now. Well his toes are too far out in front - my response is "Yes that's the way you brought him to me and that takes time to fix - it doesn't happen in one or two shoeings many times " ...  He looks at the other guy !! the other guy nods in approval of my response.

So i point out - "You see the hoofwall at the toe and how it's growing straighter up and down" - he's like "yes i see that" - i say " that's because i've been moving the shoe to the rear of the hoof and the hairline of the hoof is now growing new hoof in response , when it's done growing out ( one year ) the hoof will be much better and much more balanced".  BIG guy's like " yes i can see that - OH i get it now "..  whew !!! another hurdle conquered ....

But there's still some explaning as my method of shoeing unfolde right before their eyes . Every move i made i gave an explanation ( the method to the madness )...  And every time i did so the BIG guy looks to the other guy for approval , my reputation still on the line right before my eyes .... OMG !!!  

So try as he may to catch me in some kind of wrong doing he failed !  thankfully ! And i got to walk away holding my head high.  You know the problem i had was i just was alittle put off by the BIG guys attitude - i was guilty as charged  - it was ATTITUDE !  Being a farrier , at least for me , my reputation is important to me , it's not like farriers just want to say " ah screw this and screw you i'm out of here think what ever you want about my shoeing ". That doesn't go over too well because now there's a former client running around possibly saying negative things about me .  It's the compulsion to address all the negatives and defend oneself . LOL ..... It just wasn't easy !

What if the "other" dude has different methods that he believed in for shoeing - there are other methods out there besides mine. Can you see the conflict that could have erupted !! The BIG guy looking at the other guy who's not quite agreeing with me . It would have been a freeking nightmare !  I've been there done that.

As it turned out today after the smoke cleared i felt hammered on pretty seriously and merclessly - the good part was it all worked itself out for everyone , including the horse.  When the job was finished and everyone stood back and looked at the result of the work that had been done everyone was in agreement and the many complex processes needed to accomplish the desired result were obvious - and that was because of ME ! I'm the one who did the work it was all my responsibility my doing . 

You see in a situation like that when everything i was doing was being questioned i had to TAKE CHARGE !! i had to sieze the moment and be the leader . I had to pull it ALL up by the bootstraps and lay everything out . If i would have taken a more layed back role and had i let the others to take control it all would have come across like i was just doing what i was being told which would have not proven my credibility , they would have looked at me like THEY were the ones running the show and the only reason the horse was done right was because they told me how to do the work. That wouldn't have been good. I would have still been suspect of not knowing what the hell i'm doing.

Today was a good day !  Wasn't an easy day but it was a good day (-:   Haha !   The challenges of everyday life right ?   What challenges are you facing , i'd like to hear , really i would !  please responses very welcome here.

as usual happy and safe riding.

John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira

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May Hoof Pick Winner Drawing Near
Tuesday 20th of May 2008 02:36 PM


Another Hoof Pick Giveaway is drawing near. By the end of the month we'll be announcing the winner of one of these hoof picks , you'll need to sign up for the giveaway just once - leave your name and physical mailing address with me and you're in . Go ahead -  Name and email at   .  

                                       Hoof Picks


      These little hoof picks are hot forged by hand out of half a horse shoe. The horse heads are hammered in to the metal and to finish it off your name will be hot stamped right into the metal .  They fit the hand awesomely and work really well. There's good heft to them so you feel like it's a substantial tool instead of a lightweight  hard to control type.   

              Leave name and email at

               You can also get any horseshoeing or horse related questions answered and any consultation at no cost to you whatsoever - that's FREE just for the asking. Again just leave your questions with me at , this is a limited time offer as not sure how long i can keep up with the demand load and time factor. 

               I took some great photos of another horseshoeing blunder the other day that i will be talking about here very soon .  Keep in touch .

       As usual happy and safe riding and always remember to

John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira

ps. The Ebook " Inside Horseshoeing Secrets of lameness Prevention " is on it's way - you can get a quick preview at     

Your Equine Source signing out.

Eight Belles
Sunday 4th of May 2008 01:48 AM


It's with sadness i write this post. As you are most likely aware Eight Belles the first filly to run in the Kentucky Derby in 9 years broke both ankles after finishing second place.

Of course this event is a highly controversial subject. Eight Belles was a great horse, the best of the best, and when i heard about this i've been troubled all day.

I'm a Farrier and i specialize in lameness prevention, not only that but i've also spent alot of time riding, particularly bareback. I ride bareback because i feel it's healthier for the horse and it accentuates the feel i have between horse and rider. Better feel better contact lead to better horsemanship and a better horse.

I studied videos of the way Eight Belles moves her body , she was heavy on the front end and throws her weight down her legs when she travels. One thing all the bareback riding i have done has taught me is the extreme sensitivity horses have to what we tell them while on their backs, the ever so subtle clues. Eight Belles may not have been taught to run heavy on the front end but she surely was allowed to continue on that way.

Horses develop , just like athletes. They go through stages , and stages of learning , if we don't teach a horse to improve they'll stay at a certain level. It's up to us to teach these animals.

When i was doing more bareback riding i did so while riding my Arab Stallion Khero. My training program was a one hour long canter up through the hills in Los Altos California then a half hour break and the one hour canter back home. I taught Khero to travel very lightly on his feet , he was extremely fast but placed his feet on the ground with surgical precision. At the height of my training with Khero he and i moved as one , him reading my thoughts with almost what seemed like telepathy. Certainly not a horse that was heavy or throwing his weight down his legs while running. Khero was taught these qualities and abilities.

I didn't come here to place blame about Eight Belles handling or training , i came to voice a concern and some philosophy. Could Eight Belles euthanization have been prevented ?  Well i didn't come her to judge openly either so i'll leave the judgements up to your own sensibilities. Horses give clues when they're developing problems. It's up to us to recognize them. How a horse moves is our responsibility , how a horse moves is a reflection of what we think and feel and what we're imparting into our horses.

One lap around the race track is not that far - for Eight Belles though it was too far. Had her training come too far too fast as well. Was the sensitivity of her trainer and rider lacking , was she pushed past her limits , did they not read the clues ? Again , i'll leave that up to you to think and ponder.

Race horses are shod for speed - shoeing for speed usually means long toes on the horses feet. There's a reason i'm not in favor of this type of shoeing and Eight Belles epitomizes why for me , maybe for you as well.

The intention of these words is to bring an increased awareness of our responsibilities when it comes to horsemanship and handling/training/riding and to encourage some thought.  Eight Belles was a great horse and i believe she deserves honorable mention.

          Eight Belles may she rest in peace , and may we all become better with our horses.

                                      Eight Belles

                                        Eight Belles  2005 - 05/03/08 

Response 1
Sunday 4th of May 2008 11:00:39 AM
Submitted by: Kimberly
John, Loved your Blog very sad story.

Tuesday 29th of April 2008 03:20 PM


Hello again, John here. Been away for a bit working on the Ebook that i'm putting out for you - a Freebie - "Inside Horseshoeing Secrets of Lameness Prevention". It'll be packed with the most important information on identifying conditions of horses feet that produce risk of lameness. What you don't know can flat out ruin your horse.

 You know ever day i go out to shoe horses it's an amazing thing for me - there's always something new - different horses , different people , different barns , and all different problems and challenges , very diverse. Yesterday was no exception , But the point is every day i'm dying to tell you about the interesting points .  Sooo, here's a starter.

Shoeing at the Mounted Patrol grounds yesterday , before i go farther i should say i've only let two clients go "ever" in my whole 17 year career, well just so happens one of those two boards a horse where i was working yesterday. I had given this client up about 6 months ago ( i won't mention why - it's really not important - lets just say personal ). Well the horse in particular has some quite specific needs. Long story short my curiosity got the best of me. I saw written on the wall who the new farrier was - someone that i have not heard of before , of course i wanted to go check out the type of work he was doing , so i did.

When i walked into the stall with the horse and picked it's feet up ------ SURE ENOUGH - longish toes , One side of foot shorter than the other , shoe put on crooked , Not level and well why wasn't i surprised, i see it all too often. These are things that lead to lameness every day. 

Interestingly enough to just add to this story on another note i had recieved an email over the past several days from a gentleman asking questions about what happens when sometimes i rasp the hoof wall all the way to the white line, during our conversation together ( several emails ) he also mentioned his horse hits first on the outside (Lateral) side of it's foot then adding he's absolutely sure the horse is absolutely level. Now this guy is a farrier / attended one of the schools. 

 Well , i know why horses hit the outside first. Anyway - i asked him - " Sir , could you please describe for me how and why you are so sure your horse is Level ".  Sure enough his description of a level horse was all about what the sole of the foot looks like on both sides and how one heel looked compared to the other from the bottom of the foot , None of the forementioned points have anything relation to establishing a level foot. There we go - just as i thought and expected.

So , i told the gentleman to go to Http:// , my personal blog and look for the video there that explains exactly what a level foot really is because from what you just described to me you are definately NOT establishing a level foot. Good for him he went there and studied and wrote me back and said " You know i've never looked at it like that - the school i attended didn't teach that and thank you so much".  I love it .  But as you know the problem is this farrier wasn't even taught this in the school he attended, and the reason i'm pointing this out to you , the reader of this , is there's a very very high chance your horse is not being shod correctly - i'm talking in the upper 95+ percentile range and you're horses are at risk and you don't even know it in spite of what the / your Farrier is saying to you.   ok - nuff on that ....

Here's the other interesting thing for the day .  Are you aware or did you know that horses frogs will completely shed right off the foot exposing a fresh brand spanking new perfectly shaped frog underneath ? Yup it's true and i have a photo to show you below. While shoeing at the Mounted Patrol i noticed the frogs of the horse i was working on were very thickly built up since it's last shoeing. I've seen this before so i expected the frog was ready to shed. And this is cool.

When the frog is taking up so much space on the bottom of the foot it can really get in the way of all the other work needed on the sole - cutting the bars out - and reshaping the contour of the sole, so anytime i can give a little tug on the frog and the whole things starts to peel off i love it as it makes my work so much easier . Reshaping the sole can be a huge amount of work especially if the sole is rather hard so having the frog out of the way lets me get my nippers in there to start peeling away the hardened sole , saving all the stress on my hands trying to cut the sole out with my knife.

so here's a photo for you , FROGS.   When frogs shed it's a very healthy sign. Have a look now.


              I didn't get a photo of the brand new frog on the foot but very nice looking clean healthy ... 

One more thing now - tomorrow is the last day for this Months "April" Custom Hand Forged Hoof Pick Drawing . IT'S FREE ... Just leave your name and physical mailing address at  and that's it - you'll be entered and when you win it gets personalized with your name hot stamped right in to the metal and shipped to you absolutely no cost to you whatsoever.    OK - go now.    

                                Hoof Picks  

thank you so much - the riding season's upon us. Happy and safe riding.

 John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira      Giddy-up  ----  

Horse Wormers and Dog Deaths.
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 01:59 AM


Heey there ,   How's it all going ?  We're getting some sprinkles here in the Bay Area California at 11:00 pm .

Just want to quickly mention something important to you and possibly stop some accidents from happening.

While at my sisters house the other day she told me one of her girlfriends who has horses and dogs as well was giving the oral worming medicine to her horse when some of the medicine dropped onto the ground as the horse was doing some head tossing when her dog quickly lapped some very small amount of the medicine. The poor dog ( within several minutes ) went into siezures and before anyone could do anything about it , the dog died.

I just don't remember ever hearing such a thing and since i know many of you have dogs that tag along during the horsey stuff i feel i should make mention of this so you don't loose a dog .

So apparently a very small amount of wormer can be lethal to the dogs . Be Careful.



As usual : Happy and Safe Riding and always remember to 

 John "TheFootDoctor" silveira

PS. Don't Forget to sign up for the Free ( FREE ) custom hand forged personalized Hoof Pick at     <----- Just leave your physical mailing address and name.

PPS. You may also be in need of horse consultation  - get ahold of me at the same address ====>  I'm happy to discuss any of your horse needs.

thank you

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