Horse Owner and Farrier Expectations

What should horse owners expect from their farrier?

You, the horse owner, have a right to expect a well-trained and experienced professional to care for your valuable horse(s). Unfortunately, some farriers short-change their education by not acquiring a firm foundation of basic knowledge about their craft. Even those who make the sacrifice to attend a school don’t use that time wisely in study and practice to get the most out of the experience. Schools vary in quality and intensity. Sometimes a farrier’s lack of knowledge and skill is the instructor’s fault; some times it’s another student’s fault; but mostly it’s the individual’s fault for underestimating the complexity of the subject and the dedication required to really learn and master the farrier’s craft. A mentally lazy attitude cheats and prevents a person from being all he or she could be. Here at Butler Professional Farrier School, we can tell the kind of farrier a student will be by his or her attitude toward learning. We try to accept only those interested in learning to be the best. More experience is needed after school to be competent. You want your farrier to be studying and learning every day. He should be learning from every horse and be better today than he was yesterday. Since you are paying for farrier service, you have a right to expect excellence. Seek out a farrier that is humble enough to be constantly learning. If you have questions about horse care, he should know the answers or be willing to refer you to someone who does. Expect him to share his knowledge with you and refer you to another equine professional specialist if a problem warrants it. Although the farrier may have strong opinions based upon his or her experience, each should be able to explain reasons for that belief. You should expect your farrier to act with integrity and honesty. You should be able to trust him or her.

You have a right to expect your farrier to arrive ready to work at the appointed time. If there is a problem that causes the farrier to be unavoidably detained, you should expect to be notified in a timely manner. You should expect to be reminded the day before of appointments made previously. If you call your farrier with a question, you should expect an answer by phone or e-mail within 24 hours. Farriers who plan ahead will have the supplies and tools needed to shoe your horse on the appointed day. They will do their best to meet your expectations, because they believe you, the customer, are the sole judge of their performance. Since your farrier knows you expect him to be on time for appointments, please be aware he also wants to be on time for his other clients and may have to cut his discussion short to assure others of a prompt arrival time. If more work needs to be done than was scheduled, expect to make another appointment.

You have a right to expect a farrier to treat your horse(s) and property with respect. If work becomes unsafe for the horse, or the farrier, you should be advised of possible options and given the choice to make the decision of how to proceed. Restraint measures should not be applied without your consent. If veterinary assistance is needed, you should make that decision. You have the right to expect the farrier to clean up before he leaves. He should pick up nail stubs, sweep up, and deposit manure and hoof clippings in refuse containers. You have a right to expect a price estimate before work begins giving you a choice to accept or reject the proposed treatment option. Your veterinarian’s advice should be weighed along with your farrier’s advice. They won’t always see things the same way and you need to make the decision of what you think is best for your horse. Often the decision comes down to who you trust and what seems to be the most practical.

What does your farrier expect from you, the horse owner?

Your farrier has a right to expect you to honor your appointment(s). The farrier expects you to provide the necessary information that will allow him or her to do the best job for your horse. If you have concerns, he expects you to be frank and honest and share those with him. He expects to be regarded as a professional and receive consideration as such. If something in your schedule changes, the farrier expects you to notify him 24 hours before the appointment so he can change his schedule and reschedule your appointment. Horses should be caught and their feet cleaned, if necessary, before asking the farrier to work on them. Either you or your authorized representative should be present to catch and hold the horse(s) and discuss any unusual foot conditions or concerns.

Your farrier has a right to expect you to provide a safe, dry, level, well-lighted place to work. Unfavorable conditions will not allow the farrier to do his best work. Your farrier has a right to expect you to provide a well-mannered horse that has been trained to stand for trimming and shoeing. Both of you have the right to stop work if you think conditions are unsafe. Having a companion horse nearby often helps the horse being worked on stand better. Your farrier expects you to be committed to your horse’s welfare. He expects you to care for the horse in a humane manner.

Your farrier has a right to expect prompt payment for services rendered. Unless other arrangements are made in advance, expect to pay for services when they are rendered. No businessman can operate very long without capital that comes from honest labor. Don’t expect the farrier to come unless the previous bill is paid. Farrier work is hard, challenging and dirty work. Since farriers don’t receive a salary, but are independent small business owners, they depend upon your payment to operate. Refer business to your farrier if you are pleased with his work. The best recommendation you can give is, “He [or she] is my farrier.”

When expectations are met, business is good, and life is enjoyable. When expectations are violated, sooner or later, relationships and business go downhill. Try to exceed expectations!

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