Just as getting your cows’ hooves trimmed regularly is vital to their overall health, so is finding the right person to shoe your horse. That’s where farriers come in.
The word farrier first came into common use in the 1560s – “one who shoes horses,” from the French ferrier meaning “blacksmith” and from the older Latin ferrarius, also meaning “blacksmith.”
If you have a horse, know that their feet need to be trimmed regularly – every four to eight weeks, depending on their growth rate, what season it is and how they are used. Are they show horses? Draft horses? Ones ridden every other weekend? No matter their job, a horse needs to be seen by a farrier regularly to maintain good health.
Farriers are skilled in the area of hooves and their care and often work together with veterinarians to ensure your horse’s feet are in the best condition they can be. However, finding a farrier you can trust can be a daunting task. There are many things to consider when choosing the right farrier. Presenting a few guidelines to help you find the right farrier for you are the experts from the Canadian Horse Journal.
First, you want to actually find a farrier. Ask at a local farrier supply shop or tack store, or even ask your vet. Inquire about who your horse-owning friends employ. The American Farriers Association website features a “Find a Farrier” section too.
Next, you’ll want to do a little research. Once you’ve found a few names, see which credentials they hold, including their education and any apprenticeships. If they have reviews posted, check those over thoroughly. Also ask about their methods for handling horses. Ideally, you’d want a farrier who treats your horse the same way you do.
Of course, you also want to consider the cost. “Most skilled farriers charge for time, supplies, travel and skill level. I do not know farriers that will blindly gouge someone, but price is subject to change depending on the circumstances. Fair work for a fair price,” said Certified Journeyman Farrier Jason Wrubleski.
Like other animal care costs, foot care should be budgeted for – it should not come as a surprise and should not be put off because of “sticker shock.”
A great farrier will share their knowledge and experience, and having open communication with them is critical. Having the right farrier is just as important as having the right shoes, the Canadian Horse Journal said – it should be a good fit!