How to Prepare for Your Farrier

How to Prepare for Your Farrier

Do you prepare for your farrier's arrival? Or are you that horse owner running out to the pasture, to catch your horse as quickly as possible as your farrier pulls in. We have probably all been the latter at least once. Life happens, and no one is perfect, but as a courtesy to your farrier, you should always try to be prepared. 
Farriers' jobs are not easy. They spend all day under horses, doing a job that most horse owners can't and don't want to perform. They hold the soundness of our horses in their hands, so making their lives as easy as possible while they work is crucial.

Set Your Farrier Up for Success

This starts with the working environment. Your farrier should have access to electricity and water. Even if this is an extension cord from your house and a full 5-gallon bucket, having these things available is important. They should also have a flat place to work that is well lit and out of the rain or blazing sun. If you don't have a shelter for your farrier to work in, schedule them on days where weather will not affect the quality of their work.
The second step is getting your horse ready. If your horse is covered in mud, bathe it. Feed your horse well before your farrier arrives, so it's not irritable and hungry. If your horse is stalled, let it get its energy out before you ask it to stand quietly. If your horse is green, or poorly trained, work with a trainer to improve the behavior. Farriers are not trainers and should not be expected to work with your horse.
Focus on holding your horse while your farrier is working. Don't groom or feed your horse or talk on the phone. Don't allow other horses or pets to walk by and create a distracting situation. Your horse should be wholly focused on you and you on your horse so you can keep your farrier safe.

Communicate with Your Farrier

If your horse is green, make sure you let your farrier know. Communication is critical when you are trying to care for a horse that is not trained. Many farriers are willing to give your horse a positive first experience by handling their feet for a few minutes. Letting your farrier know that you are aware of your horse's undesirable behaviors and are taking steps X Y and Z to fix them is much better than letting them go in unprepared. 
We all run late sometimes. It happens. Call or text your farrier and let them know you are running late and what time you will arrive so they aren't sitting at the barn wondering if you completely forgot or are just behind schedule. This way, they can tell you if they have time to wait for you, or if they need to reschedule. 

Pay Your Farrier

Ask your farrier about their preferred method of payment and be ready to pay during your appointment. Don't wait for them to chase you down a week later to settle your bill. You want to keep your farrier happy so they are willing to come out in an emergency.
Finally, tipping is never required, but it is appreciated, especially if you are late or your horse is difficult. A small tip goes a long way in smoothing over any unexpected mishaps during your horse's trim or shoeing.
Looking for a farrier near you? Use the search function in our directory.