farrier cowgirl magazine
Photo courtesy of Leigh Shuldberg Facebook……

It’s not him, it’s you: why your farrier won’t return your phone calls and what he really wants to tell you but never will. Written by the wife of an experienced farrier, Leigh Shuldberg.

I see it ALL the time, people posting on social media, looking for a new farrier because the last one has “disappeared.” I quietly think to myself, “And you wonder why you got ghosted.” Here is a list of ISO farrier ad faux pas that will definitely keep him from responding to your ad or calling you back:

Looking for a reasonably priced farrier: A good farrier ain’t cheap and a cheap farrier ain’t good. If you mention anything about price or reasonability, etc. you’re off his list. Maybe not for a young kid that’s starving, but even if he does get your business now, he’ll quickly figure out what a bad idea shoeing one for cheap is and you’ll fall to the bottom of his priority list for someone who’s willing to pay what he’s worth.

I need a patient farrier, Trigger is sensitive and scared of men: Your farrier’s job isn’t to train your wild brumby. He spends his days bent over, holding up 1000 lb. animals. His body hurts, and the last thing he has time for is to put up with your spoiled donkey. Please work with your horse to pick up all 4 feet and stand quietly before scheduling an appointment.

I need someone ASAP: Dude, a good farrier is booked weeks in advance, has a schedule of good clients and works his schedule around the locations he’s traveling to…not to mention he’s most likely a family man and has to juggle his kids’ activities as well. So, trimming Trigger tomorrow morning may not be at the top of his priority list, and you might to have to be OK with that.

I need a corrective shoer: One of the things my husband told me when we first started dating was, “I don’t believe in corrective shoeing, I believe in shoeing correctly.” All horses are different and need to be shod accordingly. A good farrier has enough education to handle all situations and should have veterinary recommendations for the works he’s done.

I keep Trigger on a 12 week schedule: A farrier is not a magician. A good one can keep your horse sound with REGULAR shoeing. Calling him when feet are grossly overgrown, or you FINALLY lose a shoe is not acceptable. This causes lameness issues and creates so many other unnecessary problems. Keep him on a regular 6-8 week schedule, for the love of God! I tell my husband all the time that he should keep his clients on a schedule and call them when they’re due, but I can’t teach an old dog new tricks. You might find that rare unicorn that does that, but it’s unlikely. Best to just put a reminder to call him in 4 weeks to schedule on your calendar.

A few more pieces of advice that seem like no brainers, but you’d be surprised what people don’t understand:

Don’t make him hunt you down for payment. Have a check or cash waiting when he shows up.

Put your damn dogs away. The last thing he needs is Trigger kicking at Fido as he’s trying to steal a piece of freshly cut frog out from under him.

Make sure he has a place to work in the shade, free of obstacles and dangerous objects for Trigger to get hung up on.

Things come up and schedules change, but please don’t make that a regular thing. He has a schedule to keep and your last-minute cancelation really messes up his day.

Don’t give Trigger a bath or mud his legs right before your appointment. There’s nothing worse than shoeing a wet/muddy/liniment-soaked horse.

It’s OK to ask questions and have convos about your farrier’s plan, but you’ve hired him because he is a professional and you trust him. You wouldn’t tell your mechanic how to fix your car would you? If you don’t trust his ability, find someone you do trust!

A little appreciation goes a long way. Most guys don’t get a lot of credit for the work they do but they are one of the most important people your horse knows. A simple ‘thanks for all you do to keep Trigger happy’ means more than you know.

Last but not least, as interesting as it is to you and me, he doesn’t give one single care to how Trigger is bred, what he ate last night, or his favorite color. I know, doesn’t make sense to me either, but he doesn’t and nothing you can say or do will change that.

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