Meet Jarl Viale – The horse shoeing talent behind Barker Mountain Farrier Services - servicing Humboldt, Trinity and Shasta counties. Jarl honed his skills at the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Sacramento, Ca and has been shoeing horses for the past 20 years. His easy way with horses and skilled shoeing keeps his loyal customers coming back.
When he’s not shoeing, he loves to go hunting and fishing. He smokes his own salmon too, which I can personally attest to..…it’s absolutely fantastic! Did I mention he goes packing every chance he gets? When it comes to the subject of horses; be it soundness, conformation, temperament or their feet, Jarl knows his stuff.
Jarl it’s great to talk with you! There’s something I’m very curious about. I've noticed the ‘barefoot horse’ seems to be gaining in popularity. I wonder how the ‘all natural hoof’ fits in with shoeing horses traditionally. As a farrier what are your thoughts on this?
You can ride the hoofs off faster than they can grow. Any horse being ridden on a regular basis will need some kind of hoof protection, be it boots or shoes, so it’s not really barefoot is it? It’s an idea that’s being oversold in my opinion.
Two barefoot cases that I have come across really bother me. The horse’s feet were tender, so they let the sole on the toe build up to offer some protection. The problem is that it drastically lowered the angle of the hoof capsule and lamed the horses up. This put a lot of stress on the joints, tendons and ligaments.
Once the dead sole and false sole were removed, feet properly trimmed, good shoes put on and 2 days of stall rest were given; the horses were once again sound. Attention to the angle of the hoof capsule must be given regardless if the horse is barefoot or not.
There are a lot of crazy ideas out there about shoeing horses and horse feet. Anything you’d like to set straight with our audience today?
Well, like you said a lot of crazy ideas. Horse shoeing has been around for 3000 years. As long as you stay with the basics – level, balance, no sole contact, pull the heels back to the widest point of the frog etc, you will have a sound horse. Providing heredity doesn't come into play.
What are the most common crippling hoof problems that you see, what do you do to help correct it and how can they be avoided?
This year it’s been laminitis. This is caused by, among other things, alfalfa and/or spring grass. I’m not a fan of alfalfa for this and other reasons. It’s tends to be hard on the kidney’s as well. Watch the rich feed.
Once a horse has laminitis you've got to monitor them closely so that it does not move into a full blown founder. After that it gets complicated. At that point you are looking at corrective shoeing with pads at least.
If you could give advice to horse owners that would make a farriers job of shoeing horses easier, what would it be Jarl? Or should I ask, what would you love to see more of?
A clean level place to shoe, if possible, clean hooves. A horse that behaves. That’s all I ask.
Got any inside pointers for newbies choosing a horse farrier for the first time?
Look for someone that shows up on time, does what he says he’s going to do and has a rapport with horses. Get personal references and check his work if you can.
In your line of work, there is never a dull moment. Would you mind telling us one of your most memorable shoeing experiences?
There have been many, but one I remember is I gave a dog some hoof clippings to chew on. The dog finished them and went directly to the horse and started chewing on his hoof. Nutty dog!
Then there was the lady who told me if her 3 kids got in the way, I had permission to “wail their asses,” but never to hit her horse! I got a chuckle out of that.
Then there was Curious George, the horse, who belonged to a good friend of mine. I shod him for 20 years. He was a jumper and recently died. When he died, his owner sent me a card in memory of him. That meant alot to me.
Shoeing horses is truly an art. And a much appreciated one at that, I might add! Thank you Jarl for taking the time to share with us.
Your welcome, Cathy!
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