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When is time to find a new farrier?

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    When is time to find a new farrier?

    When do you know when its time to find a new farrier?
    What are some things to look for when looking?

    I look for underrun heels - there is no excuse for the heels to grow forwards, and certainly not to be underrun. There should be a good straightish heel, and then next no long toes. If a farrier cannot listen to me about these issues, he's gone. Another concern is too small a shoe. Based on the horse, he should also be able to give me snow pads when asked for if my horse needs them in the winter, and borium to keep from sliding on ice, if he's in a hilly iced environment. He should also be able to shoe for the terraine he is riding in. Here, sharp shale and and slipper grass jumping requires the right kind of shoes in the right season. But the main concern is being able to keep a horse's heel cut back and not underrun, the toe short and not getting long, and the shoe size large enough but not aloow the hoof to become spread out wrong. That's easy enough for a horse owner to see and understand in their horse's foot and to supervise and correct in their farrier choice.

    First I look at other horses the farrier has shod, and if there are any underrun heels, I don't even speak to him. If I do speak to him, I discuss how serious I am about no long toes and no underrun heels, and get a sense of whether or not he 'gets' what I am talking about. Its amazing how many farriers parrot issues about underrun heels and still let horses walk out from under them with slung heels. Underrun heels can be corrected in one session and don't require weeks of correction, either. If they don't get that, they don't get how to shoe correctly and I can't waste my time, money and my horse's health on their in adequacies. Can you tell I have strong opinions on it? So can the farriers I talk to. I have several farriers who shoe well in my area, and shoe my horse well, so they do exist.

    I also do not quibble about charges if I can find the right farrier for my horse, I have to be willing to pay for him. There's no excuse for letting yoru horse be shod poorly, including "I don't want to pay that much for it". Just my opinion.
    My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods


      I agree 100% with everything Ambitious Kate had to say. I am amazed at how many farriers talk the talk but then do the opposite of what they spout off about. My best farriers have been non-preachy, humble, and completely open to listening to both me and (/or) my vet.

      In regards to "when is it time to move on?" I think when your gut is telling you to start questioning whether it's time to move on it's certainly time to find a knowledgable person who's opinion you trust to be a second pair of eyes for you.

      I fired two farriers a couple of years ago. In one case the guy talked over me and did exactly what I asked him not to do and ended up giving my TB an abscess that was bad enough that he sloughed off an entire hind lateral heel. The other went on and on (and on and on) about how everything he did was with the aim of creating a healthy foot and "true balance" all the while running my TBs foot under to the point that within a few shoeing cycles it was almost unrecognizable (compounding factors allowed him to get the chance for the last 2 shoeings which shouldn't have happened).
      Flying F Sport Horses
      Horses in the NW


        When your horse comes up lame so you take her to a well-known equine hospital who diagnosis the lame leg with laminitis (mechanical not metabolic as all tests came back fine). You're given written instructions as to how the horse needs to be shod. You give all the info to your farrier who is annoyed and doesn't feel it is necessary to read nevermind follow said instructions. Farrier believes in doing the complete opposite of the well-known surgeon/lameness specialist...

        Farrier is no longer allowed to touch my horse - my NEW farrier works in conjunction with my team of vets. Horse is doing remarkably well - so well in fact you can't even tell that anything was wrong with the hoof after being correctly trimmed for the past year.

        And that is when you need to find a new farrier .
        "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England


          When you are posting on COTH asking the question ... it's time to find a new farrier.

          I suspect what you really need is a little moral support from someone ... so here it is, even if from a stranger. I support your good sense and your decision.


            When people look at your horses feet and want to know who you farrier is but don't ask for his number.
            "I am sorry, I lead a bit of a complex life, things don't always happen in the right order" The Doctor


              Having recently gone through this: If your gut is saying something isn't right, it's time to start asking opinions. I asked everyone, my trainer, other trainers, BO, people I knew who had been around horses a long time, etc.

              I found a new farrier from a recommendation from my trainer, and having seen some of his work first hand. I liked how he worked with owners/vets, and how professionally he did things. And I will no longer quibble about price, healthy horse needs healthy feet and healthy teeth.


                What others have said, but also, high price and vet recommendation do not guarantee good work.

                When I bought Holly, she came home one day, and the next we went for a ride with friends and she came back lame.

                Then the vet story started and during that time, vet recommended farrier #1. he was one of the big talkers PNWJ told about, with a fancy website and high price to go with it. I listed him on Rate Your Horse Pro and they called his price among the highest. But her toes stayed long, heels stayed wrong, and when she went to training after the surgery was healed, she was tripping because of the bad trim.

                Trainer gave me the name of a guy that charges a fraction of what farrier #1 charged. When I watched him go at her hoof, I thought he was maybe taking too much and going at the repair too fast. I had been taken in to a point by f#1, I think. But he's better with the horses, and better with the feet. And Holly's not tripping now.
                “It’s up to you the voters to decide the future of our democracy. So get out and vote. ... As Abraham Lincoln said, the best way to predict the future is to choose it.” Professor Allan Lichtman


                  Balance, balance, balance.

                  If you have no eye for it, take up another trade, or stick to barefoot which allows a horse a fighting chance to fix itself.

                  And don't take a horse that is going well, and comfortably in one shoeing combo, and put them in something else just because you know how to bend steel.

                  And don't insist on borium because you can't be bothered to drill and set studs. Small studs are just as efficient as bog blobs of borium, and more likely to be better balanced.

                  And pads, while we are at it. I realize that the silicone hoof packing is more work and expense than using oakum and tar, but if it works better for most horses, learn how to work with it in all it's different types, and start using it.
                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                    I found a new farrier when the then current guy showed up at a couple of barns drunk, and then basically stopped showing up at all. He was good...until he wasn't there! Next guy was great, but too busy for us, so he did our horses a time or two, then left us his assistant, who lamed several in his first visit, and booted my mare in the belly so bad she had a hematoma that made her look like a gelding. Not sure he kept shoeing after that; his name got passed around as a "don't ever use!" For some time after that.

                    Now, I have a great guy who works well with me, vets, trainers...heck, if I brought an animal communicator in, I think he'd listen. I've had vets who didn't know him meet up to observe (working on my IR horse when he foundered for instance) and they've said after that they didn't need to be there, he knew what he was doing. Now if they need to talk, they email X-rays and consult on the phone.

                    If you have doubts about the current guy, talk to your vet or trainer for another opinion. Check out the work of other farriers if you can. You need to learn what to look for in terms of a balanced foot , so you know when they are good vs. not. And I'm not talking, geez, all four feet look the same! I definitely check references, as a talented farrier does no good if he doesn't show up!


                      If you aren't sure about your farrier's work, take your horse to your vet school's farrier shop for an opinion. Usually, their farrier will make suggestions and tell you if he feels your farrier is on the right track.


                        I'm kind of in the same spot right now. My guy does an AMAZING job, he's really really nice, and affordable. But he's nearly impossible to get a hold of these days, and often is very very late. Can't decide if I should stick with him or not


                          Originally posted by ellevt View Post
                          I'm kind of in the same spot right now. My guy does an AMAZING job, he's really really nice, and affordable. But he's nearly impossible to get a hold of these days, and often is very very late. Can't decide if I should stick with him or not
                          I will put up with a lot from an amazing farrier, as long as the feet are being done timely. There just aren't that many amazing farriers. But if "very very late" means appointments have to be missed because I can't manage that schedule, that might be a problem. Can always consider what other farriers are available.

                          Drunk, though ... no.

                          A few years ago I thought I had a great farrier working on my horse, until a couple of things unrelated to farriery made it impossible to continue using him. The next guy was so much better! He hadn't been in the business as long and was not yet as well known (although he's getting there fast, he's picking up more and more horses). So it's always worthwhile to at least know what else is out there.


                            I got a new farrier when - my BM call me spouting off how the person I bought my horse from lied to me about my horse being good for shoeing. First the seller never lied to me because I watched my horse being shoe 2 times (Ireland, put on 2 fronts one day, 2 hinds another) amidst barn chaos, horse was fine / stood there perfectly. I wouldn't import something that was a spaz... Secondly and more importantly horse came up dead lame 2-3 days after US farrier - hot nail. That was it for me - farrier didn't get a 2nd chance.