Finding a Good Farrier
a good farrier can be a daunting task to say the least. A good farrier
is in high demand, and usually commands top dollar for every service
performed. I have lived in Fort Lupton about 8 years, and have gone
through 6 different farriers. We had one that couldnít handle a horse,
and with every move the mare made, he belly kicked her or slammed her
with a rasp. We had a few that were fantastic, and then just
disappeared into thin air, never to be contacted again. When I am
looking for a new farrier, I ask horse professionals who they use, and
why they like them, I find out what the farrier specializes in, and I
try to watch the farrier to see if they can handle a horse.
I first located here, I had to find a new farrier fast. A horse usually
needs to see a farrier every 8 weeks, and sometimes sooner if needed.
This didnít give me much time to locate a professional that could do a
great job. I talked to the local veterinarians, got a list of folks
from them to check out, and then I spoke to other horse enthusiasts in
the area. I went to different barns and observed. The names for a good
farrier were numerous, and of course, as I collected names, I also got
the stories that came along with them. You will find that for every
horse owner, there is an opinion. I usually collect the opinions, sort
through them, keep the information useful for me, and discard the rest.
Some of the farriers preferred by individuals were despised by others.
I found that sometimes it was a personality conflict with the horse
owner, and sometimes it was a personality conflict with the horse. It
sounds silly, but it is true! Then of course you have some people that
have no business being a farrier.
have a farrier that I use specifically with our stallion. He is
fantastic, and has built a relationship with the horse. He is patient,
and knows exactly what my stud needs. My stallion was almost
permanently lamed by the prior farrier. The farrier that almost
permanently lamed him, cut off all his toes, left the heel, and stood
him up like he was on tin cans, or was a club footed horse. The poor
horse couldnít walk for a month. The farrier that I now use for Rio
built him artificial angles of close to 55 degrees with a special type
of glue and epoxy, and put a leather pad over the sole of the hoof for
protection. It took over a year to get the stallion back to normal.
Right from the beginning there was a personality conflict between the
horse and the prior farrier. Rio is a very calm horse, as most Zippo
bred horses are, but he would get antsy around this farrier. The
farrier loved one of the other stallions, and would stand there
scratching and rubbing on him forever, but he didnít like anything about
Rio. You could see the personality conflict right from the get go. I
truly donít think he lamed him on purpose, but he never said he did
anything wrong, or admitted that he may have made a mistake, much less
apologize. I am sure that most horse owners have horror stories similar
to this, but it doesnít make it fun, easy or acceptable.
farrier usually has a preferred clientele. My current farrier usually
specializes in Draft horses, but he is so good and patient with the
horses, that I love to have him at our farm with our quarters and
paints. He will take his time with the young stock, so that their
experience with the farrier is pleasant. He will scratch all over on
them, let the horse smell his hat, and not get worried about it if the
young horse needs a break. He is even patient with the crotchety old
broodmares! Once a horse is used to the farrier, it will stand still,
and lift up its feet, but you have to teach it to do this, it doesnít
come naturally. It is nice to find a farrier that can handle any type
of horse, but if you have a certain discipline that you favor such as
barrel racing, reining, or halter, make sure your farrier trims your
horse the correct way. Not every farrier will know how to set sliders
for the Reiners, or kegs for the Drafts! If you have a specialty, hit
some of the shows, and ask fellow competitors who they use for a
farrier. Ask about the farriers specialty, and try to observe them
while they tend to a horse. As I said before, I have someone else trim
our stallion due to his needs.
do not envy a farrier his or her job. It is an extremely dangerous job,
and it isnít always easy to deal with the horse or the owner. The owner
has to take responsibility to have the horse trained for the farrier, or
have the tranquilizers handy. It isnít fair to expect a farrier to come
out and trim a horses feet when the owner canít even pick them up to
clean them! You as the horse owner have to do your part including
disciplining the horse if it acts up during the farrier appointment.
After saying that, I measure the success of a farrier by the end
result. If the angles are correct for the horse, the horse travels
correctly, and the sole of the hoof looks good, we have a winner! I
also appreciate when a farrier shows up to appointments, will actually
return calls, and has some people skills. This is just about a perfect
description of our current farrier. He told me that he gains and
retains clients on his ability, and his great customer service. A good
farrier is worth the money. A horse can have quite a few things wrong
with it, and still be ridden. If you have a bad farrier, or are in dire
need of a farrier, the horse can be permanently injured, to the point
of having to be put down. The feet are no place to skimp! Find a good
farrier and stick with them.