Solve Conflicts Through Understanding

Farrier and vet share tips to build a rapport with clients and help their horses

Pictured Above: Avoiding a negative response from the outset of a potential conflict keeps the lines of communication open

Conflict is part and parcel of operating a farrier practice. Yet, how you handle dissention will go a long way toward not only determining how successful you’ll be, but also how well you understand your client’s point of view — and by extension, your ability to educate them about hoof care.

The key to resolving conflict is to understand your client’s perspective. Colleen Best, a veterinarian in the Department of Population Medicine at Guelph University’s Ontario Veterinary College, suggests starting with open-ended questions such as, “What can I do for you today?” or “How can I help you?”

“How powerful of a question is that?” she asked attendees at North Carolina State University’s Equine Health Symposium in March 2016 in Raleigh, N.C. “It tells you right off the get-go. Open-ended questions tend to begin with the words, what, how, describe, tell me or explain.”

Understanding where your clients are coming from not only establishes that you care about their horse, it also demonstrates your professionalism.

“I want to understand the other person and come from a common place with them,” Dell Rapids, S.D., farrier Seth Severtson explains in a separate interview. “I want to build rapport and be a professional. So, I hope that this idea seasons my whole interaction.”

Finding Agreement

Often, problems arise because the client is ill-informed about an issue.

Farrier Takeaways

Asking open-ended questions can help you…

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Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the Lead Content Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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