A Letter to the Editor in the Tomahawk Leader 1-3-06
Horse enthusiasts unite! There is a danger to our Northwoods’ equine! …
There are two men (partners) working in the Northwoods area as horseshoers/farriers. They ask you to consider them professionals and tell you to rest easy, that you don’t have to be present when they work on your horse. It may sound convenient but for your horse’s sake it is not safe. I have even contacted the AFA (American Farrier’s Association) regarding these two but they have never heard of them, neither is listed in their member database.
These men like to use a “lip chain,” which means they put a chain between the upper lip and the gum of your horse and proceed to yank it until your horse stands still (from fear). … Many of my own horses ended up with open sores and one has lost partial sight in his eye due to being struck with something, and another now has a hard time being bridled after being left alone with one of these men. Trusting these “professionals” to work on my horses has cost far more than just money. My horses now have emotional scars that hopefully with kindness, will heal over time, long after their physical scars have. Anyone who has ever bought a horse with issues, or had a horse get hurt knows how delicate they can be. They rarely forget something that has caused them pain. It is hard for them to relearn that something won’t hurt them. …
Indeed some horses need discipline but most need instruction and guidance. Certainly we do not allow our teachers to beat our children when they step out of line; rather we rely on them to educate and be kind to our children. I am not saying that it is the horseshoer’s job to train your horse, but it is not his job to cause your horse pain and make him bleed. … Horses are incapable of showing jealousy, spite, they don’t plan for their next action, they think only of what’s next to eat, drink and how long it will be until they can be back with their pasture mates. They respond better to being asked for their next action rather than being forced. … When they feel attacked they want to fight back and then run. Those are simply their primal instincts kicking in.
Our horses here at Red Barn Farm aren’t the only ones damaged by these men. There are damaged horses in Crandon, Merrill, Rhinelander and Wausau. Please watch out for these men. There are two of them, one is quiet and the other is outspoken, neither have much experience with horses, hence the reason they use the lip chain in order to maintain control, out of their own fear and lack of horsemanship skills. … If you have any questions or need the number of a new farrier/horseshoer, please don’t hesitate to call us 715-966-0185. Remember just because it is convenient doesn’t mean it is safe. Protect your horses – they are counting on you!
Tracy Van Ryen
Red Barn Farm