Or at least acts like he's glad to see you and your horses?? I am part of his bread and butter.
The shoer just left a bit ago and I have a faintly disturbing feeling he sort of puts up with me. He's good with my Leo and Sam-Sam, who is still a bit funky with the legs. I'm not crazy about his trim jobs, just seem a bit off to me, but he's patient and isn't fazed by Sammy's size.
But, he doesn't engage in talk and if I do rope him into a convo, he's kind of condescending, like I don't quite know anything about horses.
So, this time, I clammed up after a bit and let it ride. THEN he decided to talk a bit to me. He won't look me in the eye very much, always looking past me. It kind of makes me nervous at times. A weird vibe, if that explains anything.
While I don't expect him to be Chatty Cathy, I do like a personable shoer at least.
It's very strange. So, do you expect a friendly shoer at the very least??
I know alot of people who work with horses are more horse people than than people people lol, and I know some farriers who are just a little awkward to be around. I think some of them really don't enjoy their job (like many people) and are just kind of going through the motions(and most shoers I know have alot of physical issues from the job and are in pain while they work). Plus they probably get tired of dealing with crazy horse owners (not saying you are one, but I'm sure they have some doozies).
As long as they are doing a good job, then it certainly wouldn't be a deal breaker, good shoers are hard enough to find and I'm paying them for the work they do. However if he's not doing a good job, you aren't comfortable with him, and you have other options available, there's no harm in finding somebody else.
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He sounds like he is either shy, or very focused on the horse.
Often people who work with horses professionally are VERY focused on the horse (especially when they work underneath them).
I go completely nuts (internally) when people want to chat while I am grooming/tacking up, or they stand "in the horse's zone", or they stand five feet directly in front of the horse looking at it (which WHY WHY WHY?! WHO INTERACTS WITH A HORSE FROM THE FRONT??!!), or some other way insert themselves into the Focus Zone I am in with the horse. They have no idea they are doing it, because they figure the horse can just stand there while they talk to me, but the difference between me and them is that when I am within 6' of a horse, I keep track of when that horse is thinking about shifting its weight off its RF while they are like, "Lala la and so this happened at work and la la and oh hi cute horse and so then can you believe what Sally said about Jill?!" To me, when someone tries to have a conversation with me while I am interacting with a horse is like someone trying to have a conversation with me while I am reading a book. I keep getting pulled away from the page, and the second I think they are done and turn back and get three more words read there they go again.
You see another person and want to interact with that person and the horse is like, you know, there on the side. That is perfectly normal, sociable people want to interact with other people.
Your farrier seems like he is someone who is completely in the horse's zone and YOU are the one who is standing there on the side.
Imagine that to him, what he is doing with your horse is like reading a paragraph in a deeply interesting book. He has to pay attention to every sentence. Every time you talk, he has to turn away from the paragraph, answer you, and then turn BACK to the paragraph like, "...Where was I?"
Probably if you were reading a book and someone came up to you, you would put the book down and talk to them. But he can't put the book down. The book is called "Shoeing Your Horse," and you are expecting him to read it carefully and talk to you engagingly at the same time.
Last edited by meupatdoes; Sep. 28, 2012 at 01:43 PM.
I tend to like my animals more than I like people so yeah, I can understand a good farrier be more interested in the horses than chit-chat. If he's doing a good job, don't worry about it. Maybe doing his job is somewhat therapeutic for him, and he doesn't particularly like idle chit-chat or is just socially awkward and feels burdened by it
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Originally Posted by talkofthetown
As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.
If people only knew about the relationship between my farrier and me. We talk about everything. I tried to get him to date and marry another cother. But he selfishly refused to cooperate so that Cloudy and Hattie would have an "in" with him.
He is grumpy to my horses though. I want him to kiss Cloudy's ass but he won't do it.
When I was a child, our farrier was a grumpy but fantastically great farrier. He was always hungover, so neither my horses nor I said a word or moved. That farrier gave me great advice on buying horses (and told me which not to buy and why) and on hoof care.
So while I prefer the friendly and great farrier I have now, I can and did, have a great but nonverbal farrier.
My issue is that trimming and farrier work is about communication. It is about an understanding of what the animal is being used for, their past history, what works that that particularly horse in the way of shoes, what doesn't work, how the horse is being worked as well as living conditions.
If you want a daisy cutter for WP, you trim and shoe one way. If you want a lot of animation for an upper dressage horse, you trim and shoe another way. There is a lot of fiddle faddle, which can change from trim to trim to get it right for the level of that particular horse. Then if they are being shown at all, the type of shoe and trim can change for that particular venue. Health issues and housing can impact how one might trim as well as shoe.
The owner who is truly involved in maintaining their horse as an athlete, is the horse's voice. The farrier who can't talk and talk and talk about what works, what doesn't and why...well, it makes it hard doesn't it?
A farrier needs to communicate his decisions with the client. That farrier may not be permanent in the horse's life. He/she has learned through trial and error what is good for the individual horse. If the owner knows why certain things are being done in a certain way, they can use that information to make decisions and inform others (new farriers, DVMs if a foot emergency comes up, or new owners). Not only that, if a horse abscesses or might abscess because it was cut a little close and might bruise, knowing what the farrier did sometimes can be very helpful. Communication is key.
My husband trims and shoes our horses, before that -Raymond Lantz in PA did (back five years old). In both situations, we discussed comformation, what would impact the trim and shoe, what can be done to improve, etc. Even with just a trim, a farrier who doesn't want to know details about the horse, as well as the farm - just can't be doing that good of a job! Maybe competent but great? no.
That said, a difficult horse will need both the handler and the farrier to shut up, pay attention and concentrate on the horse.
Bottom line: The fact is that you aren't crazy about the trim jobs but you don't feel comfortable asking him why he does what he does or explaining tactfully why you aren't happy with the job he is doing. Sounds to me like maybe it isn't a good fit for you.
Well, plus the fact that he is attuned to the horse he is working on so that he KNOWS what the horse will do before horse actually moves! This is his life on the line, being able to read that animal beforehand keeps him safe.
You MAY THINK your pets are bombproof, but horse body language is telling Farrier a VERY DIFFERENT story. Horse in pain? Changes all the rules!
Your main conversation with him should be about any changes in the horses, way of going, soreness, injuries since last visit. If Farrier wants to talk more than that, fine. If not, maybe some quiet from you will work too. You are not paying for him to entertain you, you want a good hoof job on your horses. Ask specific questions, why is trim done this or that way if it is looking "off" to you. Get explanations for techniques used.
Some women don't like a male Farrier who stares into their eyes all the time, feels like they are being pushed. That steady stare is the unspoken body language of a predator to some folks. Some of the best-talking Farriers can't trim a horse to the same angle on all 4 hooves. Do you want good hooves or a fun conversation with your Farrier?
If you don't like his work or he creeps you out, then hire another Farrier. But don't expect this one to come back after being let go. Whatever his work level, there are plenty out there who are worse! Kind of scary to think about!!
Thanks for the ideas. I get the idea 'socially awkward' might fit the bill. The not looking me in the eye bothers me. I can read body language somewhat and it's like he really doesn't want to be here. I thought about just tying the horses' up and letting him have at them by himself but I'm not comfortable with that. Both boys are good about tying but you never know if a blow-up is on the way for some reason.
The lady I got my Leo from used him because he's patient about Leo's hind legs, lifting them very far from the ground can be hard for him. This guy just bends lower to get to them. He's not intimidated by my big Sammy. But, she says he'll talk to her and they swap stories. I was expecting the same. Was expecting like in the past ('in the past'), the shoer and I always carried on a good convo with info and nice gossip (otherwise known as bullsh*t) and enjoyed the time he would be here. This isn't one of those types of shoers.
I guess next time, I'll just hold the horses and if it's uncomfortable, it's uncomfortable. Pull up my big girl panties a bit more. As long as the horses get trimmed, it's all good, I guess.
I can tolerate a lot of weirdness if someone is god's gift to trimming and shoeing horses. But if you feel the trim isn't quite right and it's not something you can talk about with him because of his communication issues, then it's time to find someone new.
I can understand a farrier not being a people-person and not being very chatty, but as he has to deal with people, he needs to put a little more effort into being approachable. That's the kind of farrier I'd be very hesitant to call if I had a problem or ask questions, which isn't good.
IMO, if his work isn't very good and his people skills are even worse, find someone else.
You could be right. He just puts up with you. You pay the bills, but deep down he thinks you're an idiot. It happens.
Mine puts up with a lot of his clients, and then vents on the weekends (he rides/boards at my barn). There is the chance, good chance, that you don't want to hear what he's thinking. You think Poopsie is all that + a bag of chips; that doesn't mean he does. Know that old saying - if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all?
I kind of have the opposite problem- my farrier is an insurance salesman and knows the BO very well, so he chats and chats and chats to her about current events while he does all of our horses. I have to interrupt him to ask questions, and while my horse's feet have improved significantly in his care, I can't really tell what he's doing, and what kind of decisions he's making while he's down there. He doesn't ignore me, but I can tell he really doesn't run the type of business where he often gets into Q&A.
It wouldn't bother me a bit if the farrier wasn't chatty (I'm not a chatty person either unless I really know someone well).
On the other hand, if you are getting a truly creeper vibe from him, that would worry me. I ALWAYS trust "that feeling" when it comes to people.
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My farrier is very sweet. I know all about his issues with his custody fight for his kids. I've seen the pics of his new motorcycle. He's offered to check out trucks with me when I was in the market.
He's also endlessly patient with my horses, both the big ones and the two minis. In fact, when he started trimming my minis he bought a special lower stand because the regular stand was too high. My one mini had the worse feet he'd seen (extreme elf with the hoof wall curling under from the side so he was walking on the sides of his hooves) and with patience and regular work, the mini is now sound and correct.
He was out a couple weeks ago and was working on my T gelding and all of the sudden stopped and said "He has such a beautiful head - just look at him, he looks like a picture." Irish was standing straight, ears pricked, being nosy about the neighbor's cows. He's endlessly patient with my TB gelding, whose first farrier had emphysema, and taught him that after doing the front, Irish could take a break and graze while the farrier took a smoke beak. It's taken a while to get Irish to stand for all four feet at one go.
Now that you mention it I have had just one farrier that i would call " quiet" but it wasn't in a bad way. It was just the way he was. He was older and just not " chatty". All my other farriers and I always have wonderful conversation and I truly have liked them all. My mule isn't the best behaved soul to work on, but for those blessed to work on him, they kept coming back.
Mine is very happy, he sings, he jokes and he talks...we get caught up on all the horse world gossip!
He has gone above and beyond for me on so many ocassions. One time, my daughter's mare stepped on a hind shoe and just pulled out 3 nails, leaving the shoe intact (it was very talented of her!). We were a week from going to a horse trial, out of state. Because Kevin lives over an hour away, if I have an emergency, I usually meet him half way at a farm that he shoes at. This time, I was excited that I would be at Rocking Horse for the weekend, just minutes from his house. However, he was going out of state. So he called a farrier buddy of his and asked him to fill in. I called the farrier when we arrived at Rocking Horse and he pulls up about 10 minutes later. I have the horse waiting, he puts the nails back in and is on the road in less than 5 minutes. My farrier called that evening to make sure we were taken care of, called again the day before we left out of state, and again after we returned.
Another time, he drove over 2 hours to shoe my daughter's other horse, which she had taken to college. We had just bought him and he came with terrrible feet! Kevin had worked really hard to turn them around. I would pick up the horse and bring him home when he was due to get his feet done. Finally, after a year, his feet were grown out and doing well, and I made the mistake of using the barn farrier...big, big mistake. When I told Kevin about how bad the feet had turned out, he drove to Tampa to fix the idiot farrier's mess. I could go on and on about what he has done for me. He truely loves his job! And, he loves his wife, and his 2 little boys!
I never have to schedule or call him, he comes the same day and time every 5 (or 6 in the winter) weeks.
I have the best farrier! He would take an hour just to trim my mare Caviar. She had arthritis and a bad suspensory and couldn't hold any of her feet up very high or for very long, and we would have to take walk breaks every so often to give her joints a break. And he would have his assistant would hold the angle of her leg *just so* while he trimmed so that her joints weren't uncomfortable. We were also the only horse in that barn that he trimmed but he came out just for us, and also followed up with me if we were getting too far past her cycle without a trim.
He has also been endlessly patient with Trick's LF foot, which refused to grow or hold a shoe for a very long period of time.
I really hope I never have to find a new farrier, I'm lucky to have this one.
Mine is very friendly when he arrives and leaves, and we do chat while he trims, to an extent. He's been my farrier for >12 yrs so it's a very easy and comfortable relationship. But when he's working I let him drive the pace/extent of the convo. If he doesn't initiate, or if doesn't prolong a given topic by asking another question, like How's Mr HH's new job?, I pretty much just let him work in silence. It's like when you're driving a car and have a passenger. When the driver needs to focus on the road, like when changing lanes or something, passenger needs to just shut up and let the driver pick up the convo when they're ready again. Conducting a conversation really does occupy a lot of brain space, it can be very hard to mentally focus on much else.
Not in any way trying to diagnose your farrier, but autism spectrum disorder and sensory processing issues are quite common, whether officially diagnosed or not. Very high-functioning, successful people can have mild symptoms, and/or use coping strategies that may come across as rude, aloof, or insensitive. Lack of eye contact and discomfort with chatty interaction could just be the "way he is", the way his brain works, and not some judgment about you.
I'm a pretty normal person, but have this thing about competing noise sources. Like if TV is on in the background, and you start a conversation with me, I can't focus on what you're saying, at all-- can't even make sense of the words. All I can think about is that I absolutely have to turn the TV off right away. I mean, seriously, my blood pressure goes up, and it's almost like anger--not at you, just an unspecific jittery feeling. And the relief, when I finally get my hands on the remote and mute the TV, is physical. So,I know this is not a normal reaction, or rather it's out of proportion to the actual situation. And I'm sure by describing it I've just placed myself somewhere on that spectrum. But hey, I know this quirk about myself, and when someone starts chatting and the TV's on, I just stop them and say "hang on let me mute the TV so I can focus on you." The other person may think it's weird, or even rude of me to make them pause/hold their thought-- but if they only knew the internal stress it helps me avoid, they'd understand.
Mine is very friendly to me. I've heard he's not so friendly to some of his other clients... The ones who are late for appointments or who are late with payment. He's done my horses for 17 years, is always on time, does a great job. I make sure I'm there hold my horses, they're brushed and mud-free, I pay the same day, make the next appointment the same day, etc.
He's dropped clients who weren't so conscientious. He can afford to. He always has a list of people hoping to get in with him.
He does talk a lot. He's also helped me a ton, from advice when I was going to build a new barn, to the purchase and maintenance of my tractor, steered me to my hay supplier, etc. I know I'm lucky.