This is from one of our clients, Yvonne, in her words, about how we helped her lovely little horse Cassie with some remedial shoeing. Thank you for the photos Yvonne, hope she enjoyed her fancy shoes! 👞👟👠👡👢
I first met Ben in 2015 when he did a talk at our CROWN riding club summer camp. I realised then how much I didn’t know about shoeing, its importance and the affect it can have, both positive and detrimental, to the whole of the horse.
I remember asking the question – “How do you know when you have a good farrier” and Ben’s reply was “communication, he must communicate”. This struck a chord. He also explained how he would trot horses up and what he looked for etc. This had never happened with my then current farrier. Ben was already a farrier to 2 horses at my livery yard and I decided then that I wanted him for my horse too.
Cassie is a part bred Connemara – Sire is 100% Connemara, Dam is Irish Draft, Thoroughbred cross. She had challenges with her conformation – pulling from the front rather than pushing from behind, high head carriage, little bend and loaded her right leg/ shoulder to name a few. She would often buck into canter, had a very rushed ‘sewing machine’ style trot and was heavy in the mouth. However, she was sweet and loving and just needed help.
Over the years I developed a good team around her with trainers, dentists and saddle fitters and of course Ben, who all helped her overcome these issues to the point where we were competing at low level dressage, show jumping and cross country – she loved to jump and was getting better and better.
Then came the Winter/Spring of 2018 – hard ground that turned to slippery mud. At some point, during one of Cassie’s many field contortions – bucking, rearing, galloping flat out, skidding and general merriness – she managed to tear her right hind suspensory ligament. This was noticed when riding one day and my trainer did a flexion test that left her hopping. The vet was called and a scan confirmed the diagnosis, showing a large hole in the ligament. The prognosis did not look good. When the vet asked who my farrier was and I said “Ben Benson,” she was thrilled! Then told me he was the best to help and had every confidence in him. She immediately called and discussed the situation with Ben and then Ben and his team kindly came out late the following night.
I was understandably upset, worried and feeling terribly sad that Cassie would not be able to continue enjoying her ‘work’ after we had worked so hard and long to ensure she was comfortable in her body and happy in her mind. Ben was extremely supportive and reassuring, explaining what he could do to help by fitting a bespoke supportive shoe to the injured limb and also a general supportive shoe to the other to keep her balanced. He made the shoe on site and was patient and kind to Cassie trying not to cause her any more pain.
After this, Cassie went for a month at a spa centre where the leg was treated daily in a hydro-pool. Ben and my vet were in constant contact to discuss her progress and decide on the next stage of treatment.
Cassie eventually came back and Ben refitted her shoes – she was confined to a small paddock and after a month her leg was scanned again. There had been a significant improvement and we continued gradually increasing the size of her paddock. Cassie also increased her degree of activity to go with it by pulling some stunt shapes and obviously feeling much better!
To date, Cassie now has had another set of shoes specifically made and fitted that are still supportive but reduced in length and is beginning to slowly start a gentle exercise routine. She is still only walking in hand around the fields or being led, while I ride my other horse due to the hardness of the ground. We have done some straightness work in the school and she has remained sound throughout. Her field antics have increased to the point where I now cover my eyes as she leaps and bounds about, obviously feeling very well.
Ben is due back at the end of the month so we will see what the next step is. It has been 6 months, but Cassie is completely sound and we will gradually move on as advised and see where we end up.
My huge thanks go to Ben and his team, some of who have treated Cassie individually under his guidance, and I feel extremely lucky that he is my farrier bringing Cassie back to a pain free, happy horse again.