Selecting a farrier for your horse
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Routine hoof care is essential to your horse’s health. Regular trimming and in some cases, shoeing can help keep your horse sound and performing. Having a farrier that works well with your horse and is willing to meet their individual needs is important.
Often, the best way to find a farrier is by word of mouth. Your veterinarian, industry professionals and other horse owners are good resources. The Minnesota Horseman’s Directory lists local farriers.
Farriers enter their profession through formal education, apprenticeship or a combination of the two. A farrier should be knowledgeable about their field. Anyone can trim and shoe horses in the U.S. because no license or certificate is required.
A farrier should be well-versed in horse anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. They should also be able to read a radiograph of the foot. Many good farriers continue their education through reading or attending clinics, seminars and conferences. Ask the farrier if they belong to any organizations such as the Minnesota Farriers Association.
Ask the farrier about their previous experience trimming and shoeing horses.
How long have they been practicing?
How often do they practice?
Do they have any areas of specialization?
Some farriers specialize in a certain breed or riding discipline.
Make sure the farrier’s experience meets your horse’s needs.
Watch how the farrier interacts with horses.
Do they spend time watching how the horses move and land on their feet?
Do they work quietly and calmly around horses?
Do the horses behave and work well with the farrier?
These interactions affect the farrier’s work quality but also the safety of all involved.
Make sure the farrier,
Enjoys their work
Pays attention to detail
Cares about the horse and owner’s welfare
Is on time and reliable with appointments
Calls when running late
Is willing to work with a veterinarian if needed
Choose someone who is easy to communicate and get-along with. This should include conversations regarding the owner’s goals, the horses' needs and the owners financial state. Your farrier should be willing to discuss and explain the trimming or shoeing process.
Make sure they’re easy to reach during an emergency situation. Farriers and horse owners should work together cooperatively and share mutual respect.
Cost will vary by region and the horse's needs. Ask other horse owners in your area or discipline what they are paying for similar services. Never choose a farrier based on cost alone. The important issue is not the cost, but the quality of service. A more experienced farrier can be expected to charge more than someone new to the profession.
Maintaining the relationship
Once you find a farrier that works for you and your horse, here are some tips to keep a good working relationship with them.
Maintain a routine trim schedule even during the winter. Horses usually need a trim every 6 to 8 weeks.
Make sure you have a flat, clean and well-lit area for your farrier to work in. This will provide a safe area and help your farrier complete quality work. A rubber mat can add traction and comfort for both the horse and your farrier.
Make sure your horse stands nice, is clean and well behaved. Tie your horse and practice picking up their feet. You should pick out each hoof daily. Never tolerate kicking, biting, leaning or pulling the leg away.
Learn how to properly handle and discipline your horse. Ask for help from an experienced or professional horseman if needed.
Have your horse caught, brushed and ready for the farrier. This is especially important if multiple horses are scheduled to be trimmed or shod.
Make sure you understand your farrier's fee structure
Make your payments promptly
Schedule and cancel appointments in advance
Reviewed in 2018