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This this heatwave, our horse’s hooves are suffering. They are dry, cracking and out growing their shoes very quickly. Needless to say there are daily posts on my social media of people sharing photos and asking for advice and I am shocked by the amount of people whose only input is to slag off the farrier and say they need a new one!
Yes I am sure there are some fairly useless farriers out there. But having worked in the farrier industry, I understand just how much work goes into getting your farrier qualifications and how many factors can effect the horses foot. At the end of the day, you could have the best farrier in the world, but if you don’t look after your horse’s feet in-between farrier visits there is only so much he can do!
Lost a shoe!
“Well your farrier obviously didn’t nail it on right. He’s trying to get you to pay for more!” – Social Media Expert (SME)
Or maybe your horse over reached in the field? Scottie can be a serial over-reacher. Does his inability to not stand on himself mean the farrier has done a poor job? No it doesn’t!
“If your horse’s feet have cracked that badly then your farrier didn’t trim them enough or fit the shoe last time. Bin him.” – SME
It is so incredibly hot at the moment that all the horses I know are struggling with their feet. Most horses need a shorter period between visits from the farrier in these conditions due to how their feet grow at different, often faster rates! Most farriers will recommend changing your time between each visit depending on how your horse is coping. In the meantime, make sure to apply a moisturizing hoof oil several times a week.
Does this look okay?
“OMG what has that farrier done to that horse!?! That is just completely wrong!” – SME
Yes, sometimes the farrier leaves and we look at our horses feet like what has happened. But what we don’t tend to show people is how the foot looked before the farrier came. Before Scottie’s last visit from the farrier Scottie had pulled one of his shoes off along with a good amount of his foot! So when our farrier came out to put a new shoe on it did look a bit of a mess. BUT he did a fantastic job with what he had infront of him. Yes it looked a bit untidy. But it was balanced and supported Scottie. Which is what you want in a shoe.
* All SME quotes are fictional based on actual comments I have read to similar issues on social media!
Respect Your Farrier
I know that to many horse owners, farriers are a pain in the ass. But I think we need to remember just how hard their job is. Farriers work long days in all weathers. The work puts a huge amount of strain on their backs and puts them in a dangerous position. I have seen some really nasty injuries horses have inflicted on farriers over the years! They train for 4 years in order to be able to do this work and even once they are qualified, they need to attend courses and lectures each year to keep their qualification active. When they have a problem horse they will spend hours thinking about how best to help them, consulting with fellow farriers and vets to come up with the best solution. They don’t charge you for all these extra hours they spend working for you!
Yes they are occasionally late (usually due to a previous client running late or having to attend an “emergency”) and they might not answer your calls or messages straight away. But anyone with horses knows it’s not always practical to reply to your phone when you are handling them. They might be a bit grumpy or be a bit paranoid about your usually very loving horse giving them a nibble. But they work incredibly hard and I know I wouldn’t be able to do what they do!