Last Updated on April 15, 2022 by Allison Price
Four pegs hold a lot of horse weight. These pegs have very few bones at the ends. They are encapsulated in a hollow-like structure called the hoof. The horse must have the correct amount of toe length and heel to support the weight.
After a farrier has been to a horse, he should not be left lame. Sometimes we go out to horses who are lame. The farrier will explain that it was normal. Your horse shouldn’t be lame if they haven’t had their feet cleaned regularly. The toes will grow and the lameness will resolve itself within a few days. However, it can be frustrating.
How to choose a good farrier from one that is not
You need to make sure that your farrier is knowledgeable about the proper way to treat your horse. Once they have done the work on your horse’s feet, it is too late. The damage has been done and you will need to wait for the hoof growth or for someone to fix the problem.
These are some tips to help you choose who should be working on your horse’s feet.
Their qualifications are the first. However, I can say that I have seen farriers who are ‘qualified’ but not qualified. The Master Farrier Association is the national qualification body. Most states also have a list with qualified farriers.
You can be certain that members of the Association have solid knowledge about anatomy of the lower limb and the biomechanics and motion of horses.
Farrier courses are offered by many people across the country. Some are one-day, while others are multi-day. It is important to have a basic understanding of angles and levels because the hoof is a complex part of the body.
It is important to have experience. The more cases they have seen the better. This is not something that you want your child to do on weekends. Their skillsets will improve with experience. It is quite different from actually setting heart bars yourself to read about how they are done.
3. Word of mouth
This is my favorite way to find a good farrier. People will always be happy to share their preferred farrier with you. This is where the problem lies. If you have a competition horse and they need rocker shoes with a wedge heel, don’t ask your neighbor if they have a lawnmower that does their feet every six months. They are chipping away at their heels.
A farrier who can trim the feet of a Miniature is not always able to perform complex corrective work. This is true for farriers who can only trim the feet but cannot set shoes. This is not a good practice. The shoe must fit the horse’s foot.
It takes a lot more skill to fit shoes than just trimming your feet. Having said that, not all horses need shoes. You can put on shoes or not depending on the purpose of your horse and what they are working on.
4. Refer to References
It is vital that your horse is sound if you are going to compete with them or if they have conformational problems. Nothing is worse than having your farrier come out to find that your horse is still unable to walk for at least two weeks. Ask for references from people you know, or ask if they have done corrective work or applied shoes. The way they answer the question often tells you a lot about them.
5. It is not a good reason to spend on a product.
A farrier who isn’t well-paid does not necessarily make them a good one. However, this doesn’t make them a bad farrier. It also applies the opposite. A farrier’s cost does not necessarily mean they are a good one. Remember that farriers work on horses only. They are not veterinarians or dentists.
If your farrier provides a diagnosis, make sure you are clear about what it means for your horse’s teeth, injuries, or other conditions.
Be a good client
Farriers also look for certain qualities in a client to be a good one.
- You should make sure that your horse is comfortable being handled and has their feet cleaned.
- Bring your horse to the barn, and dry his legs.
- You should tie him up on a firm surface with lots of shade. However, he must be well-lit.
- Keep your horse company while you work on him, in case something goes wrong
- Make sure to book your next appointment. Farriers don’t like it when someone rings and expects them to be there the next day.
Farriers are exceptional professionals who are worth their weight in Gold. If I was paid, it is something that I wouldn’t want to do. It’s hard work. Sometimes, the horses don’t cooperate or stand still.
While every farrier will have bad days, there are always good days. If your farrier isn’t doing this correctly, take a good look at your horse’s feet and learn how to balance a foot.
Farriers are just like veterinarians and are an essential part of horse ownership. Farriers can make owning horses the most enjoyable experience. So choose wisely!
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!