A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a conversation I had with farrier educator Steve Kraus. During this chat he explained how the “worker mentality” of some farriers can hurt the industry as a whole.
After writing posts like this, agreements and disagreements are expected. It is always interesting to see how some will interpret the message or add points of their own. While most were in agreement with the thoughts expressed in the blog, two readers responded that sometimes work that is deemed “sub par” by the owner may be a result of having to trim/shoe a horse under poor working conditions.
Poor working conditions can mean a few things: a horse lacking the training to stand for a farrier and little lighting are two conditions that instantly come to my mind.
In the editorial on Page 6 of the December American Farriers Journal that inspired this blog topic, Kraus finds that the worker mentality puts that person in production mode. In my mind, when I read “production mode,” I see someone on a factory assembly line, performing a repetitive task.
In farriery and the assembly line, danger exists when you combine unsafe working conditions and production mode. Machinery and horses are both capable of injuring the worker.
So, yes, the horse absolutely suffers when a farrier cuts corners on work. And the industry may take a black eye from it as well. But if poor working conditions are causing sub-standard work, then the farrier is in danger. Some owners may be unwilling to make the changes necessary to improve the situation(s). The simple solution is to walk away. But that isn’t the easy answer for many farriers who are just starting out or those who need to build their books.
What are your thoughts on this? How do you ensure you work under appropriate conditions? How do you try to improve the situation when the conditions are substandard?