Veterinarian-Farrier Relationships Grow In The Absence Of Egos

I enjoy discussing veterinarian-farrier relationships. This subject reminds me of a quote from the legendary Baltimore Sun writer H.L. Mencken: “For every complex problem there is a solution that is clear, simple and wrong.” There’s not an easy answer to the question on improving veterinarian-farrier relationships because we are complex individuals.

In a general sense, one thing to consider for improving teamwork between veterinarians and farriers is to realize that the relationship requires two individuals who are willing to work together and are not as concerned with who is running the show. This dynamic can be influenced the economics of the horse industry. Whether it occurs with veterinarians, farriers or horse trainers, there can be a desire to maintain hegemony over your client base. If you are perceived as being in charge, the expert or decisive, that’s a good place to be in the relationship — because then your clients rely on you, and when they rely on you, they’re more likely to do what you want.

When veterinarians get together with farriers, the approach should be, “We both can bring something to the table. Let’s work together and see what we can do to help the horse.” On the other hand, if the case has two people that are bound and determined to either run the show or do things their way because they “know what’s best” because they’ve been shoeing horses for 30 years or they’ve been out of veterinary school for 30 years, the relationship can fall…

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David ramey dvm uc davis

David Ramey

David Ramey, DVM, is a veterinarian based in Sunland, Calif. You can read his writings on a variety of equine medical topics at He is a contributor to the new American Farriers Journal special report on improving veterinarian-farrier relationships.

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