We’ve all been there.
You got to the barn with time to spare. You groomed your horse and brushed the mud off their hooves, maybe even grabbed a hoof pick and picked them out as a courtesy to your farrier.
The appointed hour comes, and goes. 5 minutes, then 10, then 20. And before you know it you’re standing in the barn aisle for an hour, texting your farrier and scrolling through Facebook to pass the time. If you’re lucky, it’s a cool Summer day and you aren’t freezing your butt off waiting for them.
They finally text you back, “sorry, I’m not feeling well…. Can we reschedule?…”.
You stare at your phone in utter disbelief. No warning? No heads-up? Seriously?!?
You wish you could say this was the first time this had happened, but lately you can expect their lateness more than their punctuality. So what gives? Why is it that when it comes to farriers so many equestrians tend to just accept such unprofessional behavior?
And I hear you. They’re hard to find, “mine does good work”, “mine’s cheap”, “mine is great with the horses”, etc., etc. But here’s my question for you – other than cheap, shouldn’t ALL of our farriers do good work and be great with the horses? And, when it comes to setting appointments, should they not keep at least the bare minimum of professionalism in either showing up on time or sending a courtesy text or call to let you know they’ll be late or need to reschedule, BEFOREHAND?
Now let me ask you this: if you made a doctor’s appointment because you aren’t feeling well, bundle up and leave the house and arrive at the office only to be told they made a mistake and the doctor can’t see you today, “please reschedule”, are you okay with that? What if you go through all the hassle of rescheduling, wait a few days and, still sick, get to the doctor’s office to be told once again, “please reschedule”? Yeah, I bet you aren’t going to that doctor again you poor, sick, sonuvagun.
Here’s the facts: horses need regular farrier visits. Doesn’t matter if your horse is barefoot with the world’s most solid hooves; they still need to see a farrier on a regular basis. If they don’t, a horse may develop flares or strange wear patterns in that change the angle of the hoof (which can affect their gate and cause discomfort) or painful infections in the sole or frog infections . This is even more true for horses that have shoes on. A horse with shoes that doesn’t get them replaced or removed as their hooves grow may end up lame due to discomfort and/or a loose shoe.
Not sure if your farrier is a dud? Answer these simple questions:
- Does the way your farrier handles your horse make you uncomfortable? Have you asked them to explain why they do it that way, and still found it concerning?
- Has your farrier no-called no-showed your more than twice? Did they accompany these occasions with lame excuses after the fact?
- Does your farrier make a habit of being exceptionally (like, more than 2 hours) late?
- Have your horses come up extremely lame directly after being trimmed or worked on by your farrier? (And God forbid this has happened more than once.)
- Is your farrier downright rude towards you or your horse in any way?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, it’s probably time to find a new farrier. If they’re wasting your time or doing your horse more harm than good, kick ‘em to the curb. Don’t keep a sucky farrier. Fire them, and find someone better. For you, and your horse.
“But how,” you may ask, “do I go about firing my farrier?” No worries. There’s a number of ways to end the professional relationship with tact and dignity. Come back next week for “Fire Your Farrier (if they suck), Part 2” for tips on how to gracefully change farriers (and thus, improve your life immensely).