At Centaur Forge in Burlington, Wis., Dave Farley recently told those attending his clinic about a survey he has provided to more than 515 horse owners, veterinarians and trainers. Those surveys were submitted by a wide range of clients — from trail riders to Grand Prix competitors. The anonymous survey asks them answer questions regarding their farriers, on a scale of 1 to 10, low to high.
Questions cover anything from attendance, punctuality, communication, attitude, attire and professionalism. It also provides a field so that if the clients have any explanation they would like to share.
Farley found the results to be surprising. Farriers seemed to under-perform in areas he thought they should rate much higher. For example, farriers analyzed in the survey rated 3 for making appointments and 4 for keeping them. In the comment fields, owners expressed disappointment in serious topics, like foot knowledge and disposition, and more fickle areas, like bring a dog to the barn.
And although the comments may sting, Farley encourages other farriers and hoof-care professionals to submit similar surveys to their clients.
"Using a survey takes the guesswork out of figuring out what your clients think of you," he says. "It let's you know what to correct so that you become a better farrier."