Horseshoeing: How To Be A Good Client
- March 24, 2017
- Jolyn Young
Cultivating and maintaining a good farrier-horse owner relationship is a two-way street. While it’s important to evaluate your horseshoer and make sure you are satisfied with his or her work (read more about that here), it’s equally important to be a good client.
Wait, don’t you just have to write a check that cashes to be a good client? Well…no. There’s much more to holding up your end of the farrier-owner partnership than just paying someone for a job. Your horse shoer performs a very important job (refer to: “no hoof, no horse”), and if you want to get the most out of his services, you need to be a good client.
In order to be a client for whom your shoer wants to tack a lost shoe back on at 3 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon instead of one whose calls he always screens, here are a few tips.
1. Show up on time. In my last post, I joked that horseshoers are notorious for running late. They are, but you should be on time. If nothing else, this will give the appointment a fighting chance of starting and finishing on time.
2. Have your horse caught and waiting for the shoer. The horseshoer shoes horses. He shouldn’t have to hike around a pasture or pen trying to locate and catch your horse.
3. Have your horse good to shoe. Spend time with your horse so you (and the farrier) can easily pick up all four of his feet and hold them long enough to trim, rasp, and nail on new shoes. If your horse has never been shod before, tell the farrier before he arrives. Chances are, he’ll be willing to spend extra time helping your horse get used to this new procedure. He may or may not ask you to pay a little extra for the extra time, but consider it money well spent. The first shoeing is equally important as the first saddling, the first ride, the first time the horse is roped on, etc.
4. Don’t act like you know how to shoe. I remember tagging along with my dad on shoeing calls when I was a kid, and sometimes clients would ask him questions with the blatant purpose of telling him to shoe their horse. You hired this farrier to tack iron on your horse; either trust him or hire a new one.
5. Ask questions. Horseshoers, whether full-time professionals or cowboys working a second job, are usually happy to educate their clients about the shoeing process, their tools, hoof anatomy, or any other related topics they are knowledgeable about. You’ll learn the meaning of cool terms like “white line disease,” “hoof wall separation,” “contracted heels,” “navicular disease” and more. You’ll also learn some pro tips on how best to care for your particular horse in between farrier appointments.
6. Don’t brush or feed your horse while the shoer is working. Your farrier will not appreciate having loose hair, dirt, hay and other equine debris fall down the back of his pants while he is bent over working on a hoof.
7. Be available to help hold your horse and keep him calm if necessary. While feeding and brushing are frowned upon, it can be helpful if someone pets a nervous horse on the face, neck or shoulder while he is being shod. Just remember to always stand on the same side as the farrier, so that neither humans are in danger if your horse suddenly jumps or spooks.
8. Always provide snacks and seasonal-appropriate drinks. Just kidding! Well, kind of. I mean, who doesn’t appreciate homemade cookies and an ice cold lemonade? Farrier or no, it’s always nice to offer (and receive) yummy treats.
9. Schedule your appointments in a timely manner. Some shoers drop clients who try to stretch their 8-week intervals in between appointments to 8 months. Take good care of your horse’s feet. He works hard for you and deserves regular hoof maintenance.
About Jolyn Young
Jolyn Young lives near Montello, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit www.jolynyoung.com....