One complaint I have heard from many farriers is their clients and others in the horse community lack respect for them. This is true among a small number of people who have no concept of what we do or lack a fundamental understanding of the importance of quality footcare (and the farrier’s role in that). Despite this minority, I think the majority of clients truly respect us for what we do for them and their horses.
This was reaffirmed for me recently when I received a list of farriers who are nominated for induction into the 2015 class of the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame. Anyone can nominate a farrier. Members of the Hall of Fame then vote for the induction of farriers from that list of nominees. Hall of Fame members can only vote for a small number of the candidates who are nominated. It is a hard job deciding on whom to vote for with all the deserving farriers.
What struck me as inspiring was the number of owners, vets and other horse people (over 350) who took the time to write, often in great detail and with emotion, to explain how much their farriers mean to them. I read many accounts of dedication, beyond the call of duty, to horses in severe distress and owners who were down on their luck but were helped by the kindness and generosity of their farrier.
Often it seems in this day and age we are working for a great, faceless enterprise that values our work but not ourselves. I have personally worked for countless clients who I had never met after years of service. Fortunately, that personal contact is not completely lost in our business. I fondly remember those clients who I would call good friends who I’ve worked for over the years. I am extremely grateful for having known them.
So on the drive home, when your muscles are sore, reflect on the fact that we have a profession that personally means a lot to the people we work for. Many of them may not tell you of their appreciation very often, but it is there. It is not every profession that can say that.
Keep in mind that appreciation and respect are a two-way street. Take the time to let your clients know that you appreciate their business. A written note or a kind word goes a long way.
So the next time someone asks you what you do for a living, continue to proudly tell them you are a farrier. You should, because you are in good company.