The signal-to-noise ratio of the Internet requires filtering by the equine enthusiast. The accessibility of information has empowered horse owners, which has advantages and disadvantages for the farrier.
I came across a short horsechannel.com article on selecting a farrier. In general, it is a fair piece. The best thing about this article for farriers is that it reminds horse owners that a good footcare relationship is a two-way street. The author emphasizes that the reader should have the horse ready for an appointment, make sure it stands well for the farrier and stick to a schedule so the footcare practitioner regularly sees the horse.
The author is an experienced horseman, but not all owners are. The article assumes the owner possesses knowledge about the specific footcare needs of the horse. When that knowledge is absent, then what the author recommends as “identifying the needs” requires the input of a hoof-care professional.
Hoof care succeeds when there is a team approach. The owner is the boss, but a good boss delegates responsibilities to the team. The farrier should be the footcare expert, so an owner, especially the less experienced one, should rely on that practitioner’s advice to make an informed decision. Otherwise, uninformed direction jeopardizes the hoof health of the horse.
I think such an article instead should focus on ways to identify whether a potential farrier is the expert you need. This means getting greater detail than simply asking local owners or vets to identify the competent farriers in the area. What do you think are the best questions a client should ask? What are the best questions prospective owners have asked you? Share these below.