Q: Just getting started with
horses and have a lot to learn. I was told to consult you about how to find the
right farrier for my new horse. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
In advance, thank you for your time.
A: Choosing the right farrier
should be approached in the same manner as you would choose the right doctor for
your children. You would concern yourself with the doctor's experience,
reputation, area of expertise, and willingness to take you on as a client.
Selecting the best farrier for your horse should not be based on low price, he's
a nice guy, he's been doing it a long time, he's a family member or other
reasons having no relationship to expertise as a farrier. Your search for the
right farrier should begin with asking your veterinarian for a recommendation
and talking to horse owners and trainers you respect. Find out which farriers
are continuing their education by attending clinics and workshops put on by
local farrier groups. If possible take a critical look at horses shod by any
farriers you are considering.
A few other points to consider are:
Does the farrier drive a dependable rig that is not likely to break down
on the way to your appointment?
Is he a successful, educated professional respected in the community?
Does he have the tools and skills necessary to take care of your horse's
needs, including high tech solutions to any problems that might arise?
The American Farrier's Association is a good source of information on selecting
a farrier, and you should take a look at their web site at www.americanfarriers.org
. The AFA also maintains a database of certified farriers and journeyman
farriers that is searchable by area and name at Find
a Farrier .
The care of your horse's feet should be a team effort. That team should consist
of the horse owner, the farrier and the veterinarian. Your responsibility as
part of the team is to educate yourself to have at least a working knowledge of
your horse's needs. Otherwise how will you know if they are being met? This
knowledge would include knowing a good job from a bad job and being to tell when
your horse's feet need the farrier's attention. Scheduling should not be left
completely up to the farrier. Remember, the phone lines work both ways. Your
farrier should be scheduling your horse for work every 6 to 8 weeks. If you
don't hear from him as the time approaches, call him.
I would like to leave you with one last important if not original thought: No
foot, no horse.
The Village Blacksmith