If the farrier ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Lila Gendal explains how to stay on your farrier's good side.
You've heard the old adage “No foot, no horse,” right? Well, here's one that's equally true: “No farrier, no foot.”
Without the hard work and expertise of farriers, we would be at a loss in the horse world. Whether your horse is barefoot or kitted out with all the latest shoeing bells and whistles, keeping your farrier happy is of tremendous importance–so listen closely!
1) Be on time.
If your farrier makes an appointment to come to your barn at a specific time, you need to be ready and waiting. It doesn't matter if your farrier is running late. Be there and don't ever keep him or her waiting because you forgot what time the appointment was, you were running late, your horse was at the far end of the field, etc. If you value your farrier, value your farrier's time. No excuses!
2) Have your horse's feet and legs clean.
If you were a farrier would you want be handling a horse who is covered in mud? NO! Make sure your horse's feet and legs are clean prior to your appointment. Also, if your horse can't stand flies, douse your horse in fly spray so he's not constantly swishing his tail and stamping his feet. Whatever you can do in order to make your farrier's life easier, the better!
3) Teach your horse ground manners.
As a farrier, would you want to be working in a precarious position on a horse who rears, strikes out, wiggles around constantly, bites or kicks? I think not. If your horse has terrible ground manners, you need to nip that in the bud before calling your farrier. If you can't teach your horse how to have manners, hire someone who can. Farriers do NOT appreciate working on difficult horses. At best, it's annoying; at worst, it's downright dangerous.
4) Stay alert.
Holding horses for the farrier may not be the most exciting job in the world, but it's an important one. Now isn't the time to send text messages, catch up on Facebook or daydream–it's your job to keep an eye on your horse's body language for signs of agitation and potential misbehavior. Be vigilant!
5) Everyone else: GO AROUND!
How many living things should there be in the farrier's work zone? ANSWER: THREE. You, your horse, and your farrier–that's it. If someone else needs to get by the farrier, alone or with a horse, they need to find another way around, even if it means taking a longer route. I have watched countless individuals walk right past horses being shod and this can drive a farrier insane. IF there is no other way to get through, wait until there is a free moment to walk through or ask when it is OK to walk past. Don't assume you can just walk through the shoeing zone. Don't be lazy–stay out of the way!
6) Keep dogs and other animals away.
Dogs LOVE hoof trimmings, but sneaking under a horse that's being shod to grab a snack can be dangerous for the dog, the horse AND the farrier. Keep dogs tied up for everybody's safety and sanity.
7) Pay immediately.
This should go without saying: You need to pay your farrier the same day as your appointment. Unless you have a prearranged billing agreement, ask how much you owe and write a check. If you can't afford to have your horse shod or trimmed, you shouldn't own a horse… it's just that simple.
About the Author
My name is Lila Gendal and I am 27 years old. I am from Vermont and have been riding horses since I was 6 years old. I have been eventing since I was 10. I have been riding and training with Denny Emerson for the last 7 years. My goal is to compete at the upper levels someday. I currently have a 2005 Holsteiner mare, “Valonia” (Contester X Parlona), who is currently going training level, and I am riding one of Denny Emerson’s horses, a 2005 Selle Luxemburg gelding, “Beaulieu’s Cool Skybreaker” (Beaulieu’s Coolman X Une Beaute by Heartbreaker) who will be moving up to training soon! When I am not on a horse or in the barn I am likely working in my office on what I like to call Equine Media… or social media for equestrians and equestrian websites.
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