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Will I offend my farrier? Update! #18

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  • Will I offend my farrier? Update! #18

    Ok little back story before I get to the question. My mare has very needy special feet. Over the years, many x-rays, vets and farriers I have learned what works for her. YAY!
    Well I had an amazing farrier but he kept raising his prices to something I could not afford every 4 weeks. So I found another farrier who has been doing OK for a reasonable price. (trust me I know you get what you pay for but at some point its excessive)
    So I have noticed he isn't keeping her hind feet like they need to be. Before he started (he has also known my horse for several years through other avenues) I said how important it was to do certain things. He said yes I understand, and I offered new x rays, photos, vet talks, etc.
    Well now he isn't keeping the hinds like they need and I can tell under saddle. I'd like to tell him that it needs to change but I also don't want to offend him and make him feel like I'm telling him how to do his job. My horse will go lame if he doesn't change what he is doing. So do I tell him? or what to do?
    Last edited by Laylee; May. 7, 2019, 08:40 AM.

  • #2
    I have been in exactly this situation and my sad recommendation is to get a new farrier.

    Old farrier never had a discussion with me about WHY he wasn't shoeing the way the vet recommended and when I asked, kept agreeing with the vet and me about what was needed and then didn't shoe that way.

    If was tough - I *liked* the guy, liked the job he did with the other horses, but at some point, I had to say enough.

    Horse is going much better now with a new farrier.

    Get a farrier who will follow the vet's and your's recommendation or will explain why he thinks a different method will work.

    I am *always* willing to listen to the farrier and consider their opinions, but there has to at least be a conversation.
    Last edited by McGurk; May. 5, 2019, 04:43 PM.
    The plural of anecdote is not data.


    • #3
      Pro service providers (good ones) want your feedback and want to work with you much more than they want you to keep quiet until you get fed up and find another farrier. He may or may not end up adequately addressing your concerns, but you should communicate clearly at this point (assuming you want to keep working with him overall).

      Be pleasant but firm, explain in detail the concern you’re currently having, including what you see and feel, and reiterate the approach you want to see. Consider having current x-rays taken if you think there’s a vet problem, and show them to the farrier, or have vet and farrier work together to do some corrective shoeing. Assuming the farrier says the right things, give him a few months to right the ship.


      • #4
        I totally know how you feel!

        Has he ever been able to do the feet correctly? If so, maybe describe what you feel under saddle and perhaps he can go back to what worked.

        If he has never gotten the feet right, you need to move on for your horse's sake. Your horse's soundness is not an experiment.


        • #5
          I have a very similar horse. Took ages to figure out just what she needed with multiple vets and farrier. When the one farrier started to be unreliable I had to change, if she goes at all long she’s lame. I got a new farrier who had no where near the experience that any of the others did. We had a few issues in the beginning. Farrier always came within 24 hours of calling. Always will to talk to me or vet or both. Fast forward a few years horse had other issues. Farrier worked with vet and once again he would come out the second there was an issue. I gave him a chance and always talked to him. I suggest just talking to the farrier, at the end of the day you’ve known your horses hoof issues longer and better than he has. An inexperienced farrier should be willing to work with you and your vet to help your horse and grow in their profession. If he’s unwilling to change then find a new farrier, but do talk to him. He might not realize that it’s affecting the horse’s movement and should.


          • #6
            Explain it to him. "When I'm riding, I've starting feeling Pookie do X. The last two times Pookie did X, we were able to fix it by Y. I know it's not conventional/is a little different, but could you try doing Y for the next two cycles to see if we can get this under control? I'm happy to have the vet snap you some new x-rays if you'd like, or you can give him/her a call. I really appreciate your help with this"

            If he really tries, stick with him. If he just says yes, yes, yes, and does exactly what he did before, you'll have to look elsewhere.


            • #7
              To play devil's advocate, he is the professional farrier. He may well be seeing something and trying to correct it in a different way. At least give him the benefit of the doubt to have that conversation. If he's trying to correct something in a way that's been tried before, then let him know that another approach worked better.

              The most important thing is to have a competent farrier you can trust. It's a fine line between trusting them to do their job and telling them how to do it, so finding the right fit who agrees with your and your vet's approach and who you can also trust with some feedback or ideas is imperative.

              For every incompetent farrier shoeing incorrectly, there's an uneducated horse owner instructing the farrier how to shoe. That can create some gun shyness on both sides.

              Never be afraid to speak up, though. Just be kind and seek to understand first before telling him he's doing it wrong. I didn't speak up when a new shoer trimmed my mare because I didn't want to offend him, and sure enough, he took her too short and she was sore for three weeks. She likes to be longer than what looks correct and she doesn't like aggressive changes. I should have just explained that up front.
              Jennifer Baas
              It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)


              • #8
                My trimmer is also my coach and has become a friend. We always consult on maresy's feet and I make suggestions. I also rasp a little in between. Our favorite vet is also a trained farrier and Pete Ramey fan and I've had him consult on a couple of occasions.

                So my experience with farriers as with vets, body workers, saddle fitters, is that it is always best done collaboratively. By which I mean describe the problem you observe daily and then discuss what should be done to fix it.

                If you don't tell farrier the horse is NQR under saddle, how will he ever know?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                  My trimmer is also my coach and has become a friend. We always consult on maresy's feet and I make suggestions. I also rap a little in between...
                  Okay, the caffeine SHOULD have kicked in by now, but this is what I read, with an IMMEDIATE picture of this!
                  "Oh, sure, you may be able to take down one smurf, but mark my words: You bonk one smurf, you better be ready for a blue wave."---Bucky Katt


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RHdobes563 View Post

                    Okay, the caffeine SHOULD have kicked in by now, but this is what I read, with an IMMEDIATE picture of this!
                    Back up da toe
                    Dat mare is a ho
                    Everybody get heels down down down
                    Back and down back and down
                    Let's here that rasp go! Yeah!

                    My trimmer would probably duct tape my mouth shut


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                      Back up da toe
                      Dat mare is a ho
                      Everybody get heels down down down
                      Back and down back and down
                      Let's here that rasp go! Yeah!

                      My trimmer would probably duct tape my mouth shut
                      OMG SOOOO AWESOME

                      Got on point took the pressure off the coffin joint

                      When I say roll I don't mean a blunt! Back up both toes up front!!!

                      to the tune of sunflower from the spidey movie

                      Ayy Ayy Ayy

                      Ooohh oohhh oohhh

                      Needless to say, I keepin her on sched
                      She was all lame lame never again

                      Callin you up now, baby threw a shoe
                      Limpin in a bad way, losing hoof wall

                      Wrap up her hoof, back is a wreck
                      Limpin in a bad way, losing hoof wall

                      Screamin from my face, baby don't trip
                      She took her shoe off, you know that sucks

                      Limpin all sideways, hoof is on tilt
                      oooh-oohh some shoes you just gonna lose
                      I wanna ride but it's no use
                      'Stead Im tryin a find the shoe

                      And I stick by yaaaaa cuz your our farr eee aahhh

                      OK to OP.... go back to the one who did the feet right!!!!! by saving a little you will wind up wasting a lot. Living expenses aren't any cheaper for a horse that is lame.


                      • #12
                        For me I would never change my farrier unless I absolutely had too. My farrier is worth his weight in gold. He is also friends with the vet so I don’t have to say anything. The vet advises him. My horse has an old rear hind suspensory injury. My farrier keeps him sound. I can text him photos and videos and he appreciates it. Same with the vet. I would eat ramen every meal before I would of gotten rid of the original farrier.


                        • #13
                          Do you think he knows that he isn't delivering what you asked for? Have you asked for his opinion, and asked him to explain what he's doing?

                          Farriers are people running a business, and they want satisfied customers just as would any other business. Think of the farrier more like you think of other service providers. If you talk with other service providers about the reasons you want to do something a certain way, you can do the same with your farrier.

                          If your farrier doesn't receive the information well, or if he pretends to make a change but doesn't (he's actually already done that it seems), then it is time to move to a new farrier. Or if you just don't want to take the time to speak reasonably and fairly with your current farrier. It seems as if you would owe him that, at least, as he has done some good work for you in the past. Ask for his opinion, it may be instructive. If he has a chance to talk about his thoughts he may be more on board.

                          Keep the conversation open and non-judgmental, and hopefully he'll feel free to disagree and you will know what to expect. You can say that you feel you have to give the vet's suggestions a chance, so that if this farrier doesn't want to do it, you can say 'let me try a farrier who will do this for awhile and see how it works out'. Something like that.

                          Or if you don't want to have the conversation, then just change farriers without telling the previous guy. He may figure it out, since you did tell him what was needed, and very probably he knows he wasn't delivering.

                          Either way, if your farrier understands what you are asking for based on the vet's recommendation, but won't or can't do that, then it's time for a new farrier sooner rather than later.


                          • #14
                            I may be the odd one out, but I’m amazed that this is even a post. Your farrier works FOR you on YOUR horses. Tell him what you like!!!

                            Soundness can rely on such a delicate balance, and it sounds like you’ve put a lot of time and money into getting your horse sound.

                            Ask him why he’s doing her hind feet that way, and explain how you’d like them done, and if he gets his panties in a twist then you couldn’t have worked with him anyway.

                            If he can’t take direction have the expensive guy get her right over a couple of cycles and shop for some new, cheaper talent. Your mare relies on you to be her advocate. Put your discomfort aside and push for what she needs.


                            • #15
                              As others have suggested, ask the farrier's opinion, and unless you have a non-verbal farrier chances are very good that they'll open up and explain to you why they're not doing it the way you think it should be done.

                              I'd love to be a fly on the wall for some of these conversations, so it would be interesting if you could be more specific about what you want done, what the farrier is doing, and what the outcome of the next conversation is?


                              • #16
                                Farriery takes an eye. Some farriers have a born with it eye, others a little bit of an eye and work to improve it. some, to be avoided at all costs never had or will have an eye.

                                Sounds like the OP's farrier was good enough to follow a previous balance in the beginning but like a repeated conversation, it lost something each time, and now it's nothing like the original conversation. And now he has no memory of it.

                                I'd grab my wallet, go back to the original farrier, and at the same time, keep looking.

                                Are you in Kentucky?
                                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.


                                • #17
                                  Will you offend your farrier? Probably. Should you say something? Probably. Will saying something make the changes you want to see? Maybe. Will you be able to keep using this farrier after saying something? Maybe, maybe not.

                                  Having been living with a farrier for 25 years, I can tell you that sometimes clients have comments about what they want done with their horse's feet by the farrier. Sometimes changes can be done due to these comments, whether or not the farrier thinks these changes will be helpful or not. Sometimes the changes demanded by the clients are counter productive to the horse's health and soundness, in the farrier's opinion. In that case, the farrier usually fires the client rather then make changes that they feel are counterproductive. Sometimes a farrier will attempt to educate the client as to why they do what they do with the horse prior to firing the client. Sometimes the client does not wish to be educated.

                                  As for being "offended", lets say that you have a professional career, that you have gone through some sort of education, and practiced for some length of time, producing positive results that stand up in high level open competition over the long term. You are rather proud of your skill, and feel yourself to be a professional in your field. Then a client walks in your door, who is not engaged in the same professional career as you are, and tells you that they want you to perform in a certain way that is not the way you would usually do your job, when you do your job correctly. They ask you to do something differently, sometimes what they ask you is actually "wrong" in your opinion. How would you feel? This happens to farriers. People who are not farriers have opinions about farriery. And as horse owners, they do have to have opinions about farriery, if they have any skill and experience as horse owners. It is part of the necessary education of a horse owner. But where the horse owners get their education is always questionable. Where the farrier got their education is also questionable.

                                  IMO, a farrier does what they think is right for your horse, and that is how they do their job. They may listen to your input, and they may agree to make some minor changes in their own plan to suit your input. But they way they shoe a horse (or trim a horse) IS the way they do it, they way they think is right and best for the horse. Whether they ARE right or not, whether they have the skill and knowledge they think they have is another question. So if you don't like the way a farrier does his job, best plan is to find another farrier, who does a job you like, rather than trying to make changes in the way an experienced farrier does their job, or attempt to educate your farrier based on your own experience.


                                  • Original Poster


                                    So I LOVE my farrier! He was so reasonable! He totally listened to me!
                                    I had photos and x-rays from previous farrier that had gotten her right. I explained that her feet were deceiving looking.
                                    I told him what I was feeling when I rode like joiedevie99 had suggested, showed him the pictures. And he was like I got this! He said that I know my horse best and my input is always welcome. I am so appreciative of this.
                                    So while he was doing her he asked what I thought and we looked at the pictures/x-rays and he did a great job! Her feet are back to what they need to be and she feels great.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Laylee View Post

                                      So I LOVE my farrier! He was so reasonable! He totally listened to me!
                                      I had photos and x-rays from previous farrier that had gotten her right. I explained that her feet were deceiving looking.
                                      I told him what I was feeling when I rode like joiedevie99 had suggested, showed him the pictures. And he was like I got this! He said that I know my horse best and my input is always welcome. I am so appreciative of this.
                                      So while he was doing her he asked what I thought and we looked at the pictures/x-rays and he did a great job! Her feet are back to what they need to be and she feels great.
                                      It’s a miracle!

                                      Just be prepare to have that same discussion from te to time; like you did when you first hire him.
                                      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                                      Originally posted by LauraKY
                                      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                                      HORSING mobile training app


                                      • #20
                                        What wonderful and reassuring news! May we all find farriers who see the value of what a vet can add to their work.