Robbie Richardson is a referral farrier and horse behaviourist. After many years as a farrier Robbie retrained and has transformed his farriery practice of maintenance and treatment work so that it is 100% barefoot trimming.
A day with Robbie Richardson
I was looking for a qualified barefoot trimmer who could come take on some of our herd, in particular I was looking for someone who could inspect and trim our new horse King’s feet.
I contacted Robbie who was happy to visit. It was clear the moment Robbie arrived that King has been allowed to get away with a lot, using his size and strength to (literally) barge through fences, and people, for a very long time. He had forgotten his manners.
In a very short time Robbie reminded King that boundaries were required to keep everyone safe. The reminder was kind, with no raised voice, harsh approach or weapon. King stood patiently and Robbie was able to inspect and trim his feet with ease.
Following the visit we asked Robbie to come and lecture on horse behaviour, and at the time suggested King would be a good horse to work with. When Robbie arrived he spent only a short time with King…Robbie was more interested in working with Mario.
Without any information from us Robbie identified that Mario has attachment and trust issues. He has also recently come down with laminitis, we think caused by the hard ground and concussion (not obesity). The problem we were having was that Mario was resisting allowing us to pick up his feet to clean and care for them.
Robbie was absolutely spot on about Mario’s attachment and trust issues. Mario came off the moors in the annual drift and was separated from his mum at about 5 months hold. He hadn’t even been weaned properly.
Taken from his mum, and sent to the sales he ended up staying with another herd before joining the Running Deer herd in October 2017. Prior to that it was discovered that he was a rig (one of his testicles hadn’t dropped) and he had to go up to Bristol for an operation to have it removed. He is also very sensitive to his environment and those around him. A traditional approach was not going to work with this very sensitive pony.
Robbie worked gently with Mario, conscious of his sore feet, but by the end of the session it was clear that Mario had made good progress and was happy for his feet to be picked up and checked.
Robbie encouraged staff who were scared of Mario to spend some time with him and it was obvious that they too felt more comfortable around the pony at the end of the session.
The lecture was insightful. It reinforced my own thoughts and feelings on how we should work with our horses. It’s reassuring to know that what we are doing is right… and with a bit of guidance from our horses, we can do it better.
For more information on the work that Robbie does please visit his website www.rockfoot.com