When you find a good farrier, do whatever it takes to keep him or her happy. Farriers, sometimes called blacksmiths, have one of the most challenging and difficult jobs in the equine industry. They constantly deal with difficult owners and horses. It is a very competitive business, so they have to work hard to maintain their clientele. Many people think it’s an easy job and pretty simple, but it is definitely an art that takes a lot of patience and skill.
When you are looking to hire a new farrier, make sure they are knowledgeable about the anatomy of the horse and corrective shoeing techniques. The Journeyman farrier designation requires a good deal of training and experience, and is one indication that a farrier is well equipped to handle most corrective shoeing situations. There are other great certification programs as well. Some farriers choose to do an apprenticeship with another, more experienced, farrier instead; this is another great way to learn the trade. It is important that your farrier listens to what you have to say. If you are questioning your horse’s movement, it could be a shoeing issue that can be corrected with time and skill. This may require collaboration between your farrier and veterinarian, so be sure you choose a farrier who is accepting of a veterinarian’s input and advice.
The best way to keep your farrier happy is to have your horse well trained to stand for him/her, whether you have a yearling or a 20 year old horse. In between shoeing or trims, work with your horse on standing and picking up hooves for a length of time. With young horses, practice hammering lightly on their hooves to get them used to the sound and feeling so they will be dull to it when the farrier comes for the first time. Your farrier will also appreciate a well-lit, dry, uncluttered work space, as well as a clean, dry horse when they arrive.
A competent farrier is an essential part of your horse’s well-being. Take good care of them, so they can help you take good care of your horses.