Where to look for a farrier
It is important for horse owners to have a primary care [no-glossary]team[/no-glossary] of equine healthcare professionals consisting minimally of an equine veterinarian and a farrier. As you build a relationship with the team members, and as they get to know you and your animals, you are positioned to provide cost effective and timely care of your equines.
Routine hoof care is a part of every equine's life. In a natural environment, a horse's hooves are maintained by the daily activities of the animal. For most of us, our equines are maintained in small pastures or barn yards. These circumstances do not provide adequate natural wear to maintain healthy horse feet.
Word of mouth - consider the source
Look for input from people you respect and trust.
© April Raine | EquiDesis New window.
How then do we find the right person to take care of our equine's feet? Most people rely on word-of-mouth to find a farrier. A trainer, barn owner, neighbor equestrian - all will gladly provide you with information about their farriers.
Look for input from people you respect and trust. If your vet will offer an opinion (many don't like to do this), you will probably get good advice. Look for advice from people who do with their horses what you do with yours. For example, if you show a barrel racer, get advice from other barrel racers. If you trail ride, get advice from other trail riders.
If you have a breed of horse that performs a particular function in a particular way, ask others who own that same breed. For example, draft horses, Tennessee Walkers, etc. Often, farriers that work on a particular type of horse have a better understanding of needs and problems with that breed.
Certification of farriers
In the U.S., farriers may be certified through the American Farrier's Association. The certification indicates that the farrier has had experience and a set of skills as required for the level of certification. Consider certification a definite plus when looking for a farrier.
The requirements for farrier certification and education vary around the world.
Online tools to find farriers
EquiMed provides an online search tool to help you find a farrier in your area. The online directories are continuously updated and may provide you with additional farriers in your area beyond what you may be able to obtain by word-of-mouth.
Meet them first
What to look for
Look for these indicators of professionalism:
- A farrier truck in good condition and well stocked,
- A complete assortment of tools in good repair.
- A forge if your horse has special shoeing requirements.
- An assortment of horseshoes, pads, nails, etc.
- The way the farrier presents himself or herself professionally.
Questions to ask
Consider asking these questions:
- Where and when did you learn how to shoe? What school? Apprenticeship? With whom?
- Certified by AFA or other organization?
- How long have you worked as a farrier in this area?
- What barns or clients do you have locally? May I contact them for reference information?
- What do you charge for a trim, partial and complete set of shoes?
- Do you hot shoe? Under what circumstances?
Make a decision
When you have found the right person to join your healthcare team, let them know and schedule the first appointment. It is a good idea for you to be present during the first appointment to discuss each animal and make sure that the farrier is aware of any conditions that may affect how a particular horse is shod.
A professional farrier is responsible for appraising your horses and providing what they need. After a background discussion on each horse, resist the temptation to tell the farrier what they need to do for each individual horse. Listen to the farrier and ask questions to clarify why he or she makes certain recommendations, but please remember to let them do what they feel is best for your animals.
How to get the farrier to give you their best work
Farriers appreciate the following and are likely to give you their best work when:
- A sheltered safe location with suitable cross ties for holding the horse is provided.
- Horses are trained to stand and give their feet.
- Horses are caught, haltered and tied prior to the arrival of the farrier.
- You pay your bills on time. Most farriers expect payment at time of service.
- Most farriers welcome questions and are happy to explain why they are doing a particular procedure. Listen and learn but remember that a good farrier is busy and may not have much time for chit-chat.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. You may also be interested in Hoof Growth - What Helps and What Hurts.
This "Farrier Classic," The Art of Horseshoeing: A Manual for Farriers is considered one of the top 10 horse shoeing books ever published. A British veterinarian lays down correct principles and points out hundreds of highly technical details still essential to good shoeing many years after the book was written. A "Must" for every horse owner's library!
Have a set of these 72-Inch Adjustable Cross Ties available for cross tieing your horse for farrier's visits. These cross ties will come in handy on many occasions. Durable, with heavy duty panic snap for quick release and a specially designed bull snap.
Your horse will not mind standing quietly in this Fleece Padded Nylon Comfort Halter while the farrier trims and shoes its hooves. Removable, washable fleece padding adds to your horse's comfort.
About the author
EquiMed Staff shares a common goal of helping you improve your horse's health. The staff work together to develop unique web-focused content that answers the most common questions of horse owners. EquiMed staff written content is updated frequently to incorporate the best practices within the equine healthcare industry. Thanks for visiting!
Visit EquiMed's Google+ page.