“Neither of us can be successful in helping the horse without the other.” This is a simple statement, but rang loudly when I interviewed farrier Bob Pethick for this report. The Hall of Fame farrier, who has nearly 50 years of experience, works with dozens of vets each year on lameness cases. He recognizes that farriers and veterinarians putting egos aside, providing mutual respect and working together helps deliver the best outcome for the horses in their care.
When farriers and veterinarians work together, great things can happen for the horse. This requires a balance of communication, mutual respect, confidence and several other traits. We asked equine veterinarian Bob Grisel and farrier Tim Shannon to share their advice for colleagues working with footcare counterparts, and also expectations for the other party.
There are a handful of farriers who have a unique perspective on the veterinarian-farrier relationship. Fewer than 10 of the veterinary colleges in the United States have full-time farriers. These professionals have regular workloads in the clinics, but also serve the veterinary schools in other capacities.
The health and well-being of the horse should be the ultimate goal for the veterinarian and farrier in lameness cases. According to New Jersey farrier Bob Pethick, that end demands the two parties work together to be successful, especially when helping performance horses stay in or return to the show ring.
There has never been an appliance among farriers’ options that has been the answer for any single issue in every situation. Likewise, no two farriers’ approach to hoof care has been exactly the same. You will encounter farriers of differing levels of experiences, education, preferences for modalities, interests in disciplines or business practices.
One Friday a month, 30 farriers in western Pennsylvania gather at Allegheny Equine Practice. At least one, often two, lame horses are awaiting them. A veterinarian performs a lameness exam and explains the steps involved. The horses are blocked and radiographs are taken.
Most, if not all, professional environments require a certain amount of cooperation and communication between team members to achieve a successful outcome. This is no different for equine health professions.
Your Guide For Building A Better Team With Farriers
December 1, 2019
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Campbell, Texas, farrier and American Farriers Team member Sawyer Spradling demonstrates his approach to tuning a distorted pritchel to a punch, a skill that has served him well when he travels to clinics and competitions.
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