“No foot, no horse” has a basis in fact. For your horse to perform to potential on sound feet, you’ll want to employ the services of a capable farrier to keep your horse’s hooves in excellent condition. In most areas of the country, farriers are abundant, giving you ample opportunities to be selective as to who you use.
The American Farrier’s Association (AFA) has a web link, http://www.americanfarriers.org/find_a_farrier, that can help you locate a farrier in your area. Only members of AFA are listed on this site. Members of the AFA are tested and then certified as a Certified Farrier, then Certified Tradesman and eventually Journeyman Farrier, depending on level of skill.
In addition to researching your farrier’s qualifications, find out about some other aspects as to his/her professionalism and how the farrier works:
- Does the farrier only perform barefoot trims or is he/she set up to shoe as well as trim?
- Is the farrier familiar with the logistics and rules of your particular equine pursuit and/or breed of horse you own?
- Does the farrier respond to your phone calls, texts or emails in a timely fashion?
- Is the farrier courteous and respectful of your appointment time?
- Is the farrier willing to engage in a discussion with you regarding your horse’s hoof care needs, and also to educate you about their hoof findings and intentions?
- Does the farrier try to work respectfully with your horse’s antics or does he/she blow up when the horse is uncooperative or misbehaves?
- Is the farrier available at times other than routine appointments, such as for the need to replace a lost or twisted shoe?
- How do the farrier’s fees fit into your budget? Unlike the occasional vet appointment, your horse needs hoof work every 4-8 weeks, and the expense can add up.
- Do his/her tools and vehicle give the impression of pride and professionalism?
Besides conferring with references such as horse owners, trainers and other farriers, your veterinarian is an excellent resource to assist you in finding a capable farrier.
To keep your horse moving as well as possible, you rely on teamwork between your veterinarian and farrier–it is important that they can work together with mutual respect and good communication.