Eric Hilgartner, AFA Certified
W.F. (Bud) Caudy
Choosing a farrier to provide hoof care for your horse is one of the most important decisions you will make for the well being of your horse. Improper hoof care can lead to injury and/or lameness, and may reduce your horse’s ability to reach his full potential.
This decision should not be left until there is an emergency when your horse must be shod by a farrier who happens to be available on short notice.
The most experienced and best trained farriers often have a full schedule of clientele and maintain awaiting list of owners who are interested in having them provide farriery care for their horses.
You should choose your farrier in a systematic and educated manner. This will help to assure that you will be able to obtain the services of a farrier who will best fit your needs and the needs of your horse. The use of only price or availability as a guideline may lead to unsatisfactory work, and is best avoided. An investigation of a potential farrier’s background and education, experience, professional association and personal attributes will help you make the right decision.
The perfect farrier does not exist, but you should be able to find one who will fit your needs and provide satisfactory care for your horse.
In addition to the professional knowledge and skill needed to perform satisfactory work, your relationship with the individual is important as well. Farrier/client and farrier/horse relationships are important as well.
You must be compatible with the individual who is providing services to your horse. You must also be confident that your farrier can and will do the job to your satisfaction and in a manner acceptable to you. The following questions are important to answer before you make your choice.
- How does the potential farrier treat clients?
- Does the farrier always arrive on the day and time scheduled?
- Do they always treat you and your horse with respect and consideration?
- Are they willing to answer your questions and share their knowledge and skill with you so that you can be aware of problems as they occur?
- Will they keep shoeing records if this is important to you?
- Will the farrier discuss approaches to disciplining the horse with you?
If you want to obtain and keep a quality farrier, there are some obligations that you have as well. The farrier’s time is valuable, and you can help by not wasting any of the time that he is working on your animals.
Have your horses caught and ready to be brought out when their turn comes. Have a clean, safe work area set aside for shoeing.
Have someone available to bring out the horses and to hold them if necessary. Be ready to tell the farrier what is needed for each animal.
Let the farrier know when you have a horse who may be difficult or untrained. The farrier will usually work with you in such cases, but he is being paid for the specific task of shoeing horses, not training them.
Lastly, be prepared to pay for the service when it is received. The survival of your farrier depends on their ability to earn enough money to pay for the cost of doing business and making a reasonable profit for the area in which they live.
Most farriers will not give a guarantee of their service, but will work with you if you have a horse that has particularly bad feet or habits that lead to loss of shoes.
Expect to pay for any emergency services you require. A professional farrier will treat you with professional courtesy, if they are treated well in return.