Coming Together
"Farrier-Friendly"™ series By Bryan S. Farcus, BS, CF

As of this writing we are more than half way through the year 2000. All the anticipation of what the new millennium would bring has for the most part faded and with the exception of the "Elian Gonzalez case" and the break up of Microsoft, I see no major revelations taking place. At the start of the last decade, I was just entering the horse industry. The "horse world" was a virtual undiscovered territory that I was excited about and ready to explore. The experiences of these past ten years have merely served to start me off on this journey and each equine expert that I have met and studied (farriers, vets, trainers, and breeders) has, without a doubt, contributed to my success thus far. I have felt for some time now that it is my moral duty to transfer any knowledge gained to those who depend on it the most – the horse owners. Being active in the field of education as an instructor of horseshoeing and horsemanship, along with my personal shoeing services, I have noticed a positive change in the way people deal with their horses. Ten years ago, whether it was a part of the farrier’s work or a vet’s visit, it seemed to be common practice to "throw", "tie-down", or "drug" a horse to provide routine health care. Today, thanks to leading trainers such as John Lyons, Ron Meredith, Monty Roberts, Richard Shrake, and Linda Tellington-Jones (just to mention a few), a body language is being promoted in order to gain "ground control" with the horse.

These logical, "horse-friendly" approaches have proven to be effective when dealing with difficult horses, because they generally yield a more lasting correction, rather than a quick, temporary fix. In my farrier practice, I refer to these methods of training as "Basic Body Language Systems" (BBLS’s). I routinely prescribe them to my clients in order to improve the process of shoeing their horse. Of course, the method I prescribe to an individual is based on the language that he or she most easily relates to. I am very optimistic about what lies ahead for the horse industry. I think we all would agree that it’s a "horse-friendly" environment that sustains us. From those "novice newcomers" to those "noteworthy professionals," the ability to communicate with the horse is what determines the amount of success they will have. Whether success is measured with a degree of profits or plain ‘ole pleasure, it makes sense to invest quality time communicating with your horse. As a professional horse care provider, I am dedicated to the advancement of "kinder, gentler" techniques for a more prosperous horse industry. Therefore, it is with great enthusiasm that I propose the following:
  1. A national campaign that will implore all leading trainers / clinicians currently practicing a BBLS approach to donate at least one day per clinic season exclusively for farriers and vets to come together and learn, first hand, these safer, more logical horse handling techniques. I feel that a coalition of this type will provide safer strategies and clear guidelines for all horse professionals and owners, when attempting routine treatments on horses.
  2. A national campaign involving all horse industry media. Magazine s, videos, and the Internet are all powerful tools that can help educate the horse owner on the importance of utilizing humane horsemanship techniques while performing routine horse care. Simply reporting the success of such unions between leading trainers, vets, and farriers will serve as a much-needed role model for horse owners. Ultimately, I would like to see major media sources offer sponsorships and promote such clinics.
  3. In the near future, I plan to take the first step towards initiating a national "Horsemanship Day." As of the date of this writing, I am assuring that such a day does not exist. If, however, such a day does exist, I will switch my focus towards promoting it.

As mentioned in my opening statement, I feel that the new millennium has not yet offered us anything revolutionary or even stimulating. However, I do believe that it is the will of nature and the essence of our existence that such events will ultimately occur. Maybe it will be in our horse industry. Nonetheless, the time for a Horsemanship Coalition of Equine Professionals is needed and it could very will be a defining moment in history when we say to all horse enthusiasts – "your horse industry is finally coming together." I commend those farriers and veterinarians who have already joined with humane trainers in their attempts to promote and practice a BBLS approach. To learn more about the proposed Horsemanship Coalition of Equine Professionals contact Bryan Farcus at (304) 679-3262.

© 2000 Bryan Farcus. All rights reserved.
Bryan Farcus, certified farrier and head of the Department of Farrier Science at Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre, has been combining the skills of horseshoeing, teaching and riding for the past ten years. He has also achieved a BS in Business Management. Bryan is the creator of "Farrier-Friendly"™ articles and products aimed at improving the general understanding of horseshoeing through horsemanship. For a complete collection of "Farrier-Friendly"™ articles click here.

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Updated: October 2005.