3 Ways to Get and Keep a Good Farrier (Guest Post-CCC)

I feel privileged to be able to help Ian with his desire to get some good info out there. A lot of farriers will tell you a lot of different things, but this is a farrier I trust, have watched do miracles, and can recommend as someone who knows his stuff.

Something I thought I could add is a few things to do to get and keep a good farrier. Long-time horse owners realize that a good farrier is worth his or her weight in gold and it's to your advantage to treat them like it.

1. Hauling- My advise is: if you want to get or have a good farrier and he wants you to bring the horse to him, just do it. It's honestly worth it.

Ian, for example, has an insulated heated barn to work in,

great lighting,
and everything a farrier could possibly need for any hoof.There, he's comfortable, happy, and his home is just steps away.

We're luckier than lots of folks. We have an unheated barn with less than ideal lighting where he could at least be out of the weather, but it's too far to go back and get it if a horse needs something he didn't anticipate. If you were Ian, would you want to come to us?

So that's his advantages if we haul our horses but what are ours, the horse-owner's.

First is quality.
How much time are farriers going to take to do the best job possible if they are miserable: (getting rained on, dirt blown in their eyes, mosquitoes and flies pestering them, in hot sweltering sun, etc.)? They're going to hurry on your horse, right? They'd have to be super human to not want to.

Will interruptions that rob them of valuable time frustrate them?

If the lighting is bad will they miss something?

Will they have everything packed with them for any special needs? (I've had them forget to bring the right size nails, which seems pretty simple.)

Second is Willingness
Even though they might get paid mileage to drive to your place, I doubt they would dare charge you the full amount that it costs them in fuel, vehicle wear, and time sacrificed that could have been used to work on another client's horse. That all might make them less than willing to come.

If we think: "Farriers are like cats; they never come when you call and they don't go out in the rain," maybe we need to look at it from their perspective.

Good farriers are smart, well set up, and can afford to be choosy about their clientel. Don't miss out on a good farrier, just because it puts you out to haul your horse to him.

2. Don't Forget Appointments/Be on Time
Farriers don't get paid by the hour, they getting paid by how much work they do. A missed appointment for them means that much less money they makes that day. Good farriers don't have to put up with this. They are also usually booked heavily and will try to be patient knowing you are dealing with not always predictable animals but if you want to keep a good farrier make promptness a priority, tardiness a rare exception.

3. Train Your Own Horses
Do whatever it takes at home to train your horse to stand calmly and patiently to have their feet worked on. No farrier can afford to get hurt. They get paid for working, if they can't work it's a bad deal for them. Good farriers want to work on good horses. I bet if I asked Ian he would say he'd rather do a good horse than get paid more to do a bad one.

Hopefully that helps. I've learned the hard way that a good farrier is worth the extra effort,