Routine hoof care for your horse is but one aspect of horse ownership. Being a hoof care provider is a hard and hazardous job, that you as an owner can make much easier and safer with these simple tips.
The first tip is to take a bit of time to know your horse. Find out if he is fussy about his hooves, and work with the horse to show him that having his feet and legs handled is not a life-threatening issue. Warn your hoof care provider ahead of time if you notice anything about your horse. Mention any history of past injuries. Those old injuries may play an important role in figuring out why your horse might misbehave for hoof care.
The next tip is to make sure that your horse can not get his mouth anywhere near the hoof care provider. Horse bites may sound like a joke, but horses are very powerful animals with strong jaws. Biting is not generally in the equine nature, but improper training and handling can create a mouthy monster out of the nicest horse. Be sure to keep the nose tipped slightly away from the hoof care provider, so the horse is not tempted to nuzzle and explore their body.
Stand on the same side as the hoof care provider. This way, you are in position to move the horse away from the person doing the work, preventing them from being injured. Contrary to popular belief, hoof care providers do not like being kicked, bitten, stomped on, or made to bleed. Your job as a handler is to prevent that from happening.
Young horses tend to be wiggly. They are growing, and often times not sure of their balance, making routine hoof care a challenge at times. You may have to stand on the opposite side as the hoof care provider to help steady the horse. Standing close to the rid cage, with one hand on the lead close to the halter, and the other arm stretched towards the horse's hip can help them to realize that they won't fall over, and that things are okay.
Young horses also tend to try to pull their feet away from the hoof care provider as well. With front feet, the handler, standing on the same side as the trimmer, can gently place their hand on the forearm of the horse. You will be able to feel the horse gathering their energy in order to move, and prevent the movement from starting. You won't need hard pressure there; just a light hand will do. A lot of times, gently rubbing the leg will help ease the horse as well.
Older horses with arthritic changes in their joints are just like people. They get stiff and sore having to stand in one position for any length of time, and might need to take a walk in order to loosen up creaky old knees and hocks. If your horse has bad arthritis, and the weather is changing, you might want to administer a veterinary advised anti-inflammatory prior to work being done on their hooves. A less tiff horse is also much easier to work on, and safer for the hoof care provider as well.
Be alert, don't let your horse bite or kick, and you will be able to begin building a long and lasting relationship with your farrier!