Guest Author - Kim Wende
Whether you're new to horses or you've had horses for a long time you will need a farrier. Did you just get a horse and now you're looking for a farrier? Maybe you've had horses for a long time and you are thinking about switching farriers. A farrier is a very important part of your horse's life.
The majority of horse owners will find a farrier by asking others, but you can also find them for other resources. You can find ads on Craigslist, in the newspaper, local horse publications or on Social Media. There is also the American Farriers Association where you can find a farrier in your state. Through this association you will be able to see their level of certification, email address, phone and website if they have one listed.
The levels of certification range from AFA Farrier, Certified Farrier, Certified Tradesman Farrier and Certified Journeyman Farrier. There are also two other certification levels; Therapeutic Endorsement and Education Endorsement. The entry-level is AFA Farrier and then go up from there and includes more education and experience as outlined by the Certification processes of the AFA.
Certified Journeyman Farrier is the highest level of certification so if your horse has special needs this would be the best place to begin. If your horse needs a simple trim or straightforward shoeing then those with less certification would be acceptable. Keep in mind that as the level of accomplishment goes up so too does the cost.
Once you've narrowed down your search start contacting each of them and have a list of questions to ask them. Ask what their fee is and you will want to find out if they accept checks or only take cash. Keep in mind the goals you have with your horse. Below are some examples:
*Does your horse need corrective shoeing or trimming?
*Will your horse need special shoes because of the event you participate in?
*Maybe you have a miniature horse. Is the farrier knowledgeable about trimming miniature horses?
*Are you wanting a farrier who specialized in barefoot trimming?
You will need to let them know what your expectations are and be honest about your horse's behavior. If you have a horse that is unruly it is not the farriers job to train your horse to have their feet handled.
Ask for references and before you make a final decision check out their references. Find out if they show up when they say they will or are they always late. How do they handle horses that decide to move around? Ask how they handle emergency situations. If possible see if you can set up a time to observe them working on other horses.
Don't be afraid to ask questions if you have them. Another thing to take into consideration is if your farrier is out of town who do they recommend as a backup as you will want to check them out as well.
Once you've made a decision on the farrier make sure you are on time for them and that your horse is caught up and ready to be worked on. During the time the farrier is working on your horse if you have questions about their work or how your horse is being handled bring it to their attention immediately.
If issues cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, then find another farrier as you do not want to compromise your horse’s hoof health for any reason. Sometimes, despite all the best efforts to find a good match there are times when horses and farriers do not get along. Don't be discouraged as you will eventually find the farrier that meets your horse’s needs and it will be a good match.