Now, May and I have had a pretty interesting go of it when it comes to farriers. The first farrier (FF) that I used when I got her was not up to May’s standards. In fact, I got a very upsetting call from the BM at the time, letting me know she tried to kill him…. Cool… She was then relegated to having to be held for the farrier… but she was still really poorly behaved. We pulled her shoes and switched her to the barefoot trimmer.
Here’s the issue. May had learned that she could pull her foot away from the farrier, so she did. While barefoot trimmer (BT) was fixing the issues, we learned that FF had been not really doing his job the way he said he would. I won’t go into details here, but it turns out that May was TOTALLY justified in hating this guy.
Once we started training seriously, May’s feet just weren’t happy being barefoot, so we called in Farrier Number 3 (FN3) to throw front shoes back on. All was well for a cycle or two, and then a cycle was turning into 10 – 12 weeks. He was the kind of guy that just couldn’t seem to get his schedule on track and would push appointments back farther and farther. Since May didn’t have any major defects, she was often the one being pushed vs. horses that needed pads, wedges, etc. etc. etc. Just as I was at my breaking point, it was time to move to KY, and May shipped to KY with 10 week old feet because I couldn’t get FN3 out. (and telling a new farrier to come work on my horse once before never seeing me again is not a great way to get a new guy out for one horse)
So then we came to KY and May needed her feet done BAD. I got recommendations and called farriers of other people at my barn… and no one would call me back. I am not sure if everyone was fully booked, if they didn’t want to work on a draft cross, or if I just sounded crazy on the phone. Then, I got a recommendation for my current farrier (CF). I also got mixed reviews from people saying he didn’t totally know his stuff and he wouldn’t be their first choice. Oh well. I was desperate, I was out of work, and he was affordable.
He met me after work (major bonus because it was already past dark), and I held May for him. He asked me a little about my competition plans (there were none) and about May’s workload (very light). Then, he got to work. We chatted to pass the time, and it wasn’t until he pulled a hot shoe out of the fire that I realized we had never discussed if this would be a cold shoe or a hot shoe… or that I had no idea if May had ever been hot shoed before. He wasn’t overly concerned, but he did make sure he was holding on when he pressed the show to May’s foot. She didn’t love the smell or smoke, but she allowed him to finish.
May’s feet looked (to me) great when he was done. We had no issues with tripping, cracking, or soreness, and five weeks later, he texted me to set up our next appointment. HE TEXTED ME! It was like the sky opened up and angels sang.
Then, KY mud hit in the spring, and we began to lose shoes. RAPIDLY. May had never pulled shoes before, but I had always had her in a very small, dry lot, not the multi-acre field she is in now most of the day. Without hesitation, he would come out each time something happened (it was probably 3 or 4 times) and fix it. There was no formal charge, but I started paying him more than I owed him each time May had her feet done.
Then, this happened….
And we decided to go barefoot. He remained patient and diligent throughout the process of allowing that foot to grow back. After a few months, I texted him to see if he thought he could put a shoe back on that foot. He was pretty optimistic, so we did just that. The best part? I no longer feel the need to be at the barn when he comes, a giant crack that May had since I got her has been growing out really well, and she is one of his favorite horses to work on because of how well behaved she is for him. (I am sure he also appreciates the “extra” cash.)
So what does this all mean? It means that when temperatures rose to the high 20s for the first time in more than a week and for just one day, I got a text. He was asking if he could come that day and do May’s feet. She was due, but I had kind of decided to leave it up to his discretion. I certainly wasn’t going to call him screaming like a banshee, demanding my horse who isn’t working and is barely growing any hoof have her feet done at EXACTLY 6 week. When I got that text, I happily texted him back telling him he was more than welcome to do her that day and to just let me know when he was done. She got done, and he got an extra tip.
I am not saying that I will always use this farrier, as situations always change, but I am very happy with what I have found. What about you? Do you do anything special for the people that go above and beyond to help take care of your horse?