Picking the Perfect Farrier - How to Find & Choose a Farrier
Updated August 28, 2023
The question “Is my farrier doing a good job?” can be difficult to navigate, and many horse owners don’t dare ask. Being able to find a high-quality hoof care professional and recognize if they are doing a good job is essential for your horse’s overall health and well-being.
Qualities and Qualifications to Look for in a Farrier
Without actually learning the trade (which takes many years), you're taking a leap of faith when choosing and evaluating the competency of a farrier. It's a similar process as selecting a mechanic, plumber, lawyer, or other specialty provider. However, what those professionals and tradesmen have that a farrier does not is a license.
In North America, there is no regulatory body ensuring baseline knowledge or skill for farriers. Still, many motivated farriers voluntarily submit to testing through the American Farriers Association (AFA). You can look for a farrier who has earned the AFA's title of Certified Farrier, CF, or Certified Journeyman Farrier, CJF.
Along with a certification, qualities to look for in a farrier include:
- Pursues Continuing Education opportunities (attends seminars, clinics, or other events locally or across the country)
- Experienced with horses and understands equine anatomy
- Works well with your team (veterinarian, trainer, etc.)
- Kind to animals (especially horses)
- Understands hoof care options and helps you determine the best choice for your horse
- Performs their work confidently and comfortably
- Takes time to work with you and your horse
- Answers your questions honestly, adequately, and doesn't make up answers
- Pays attention to your horse and alerts you to potential issues
- Most importantly, someone who addresses your individual horse's needs.
Video on Knowing if Your Farrier is Doing a Good Job
Importance of Finding a High-Quality Hoof Care Professional
Finding a trustworthy and professional farrier is critical to the care of your horse. You need to find someone who will be committed to your horse’s well-being, arrives on time, and is able to communicate well.
Whether trimming, shoeing, or having therapeutic or routine issues addressed, you must work with a professional capable of meeting your horse's unique hoof requirements. There is no generic shoeing process that applies to all horses. If a farrier tells you they have one technique that they use for shoeing or trimming every horse, say “no thanks” and find another farrier.
Sometimes personalities mesh, and other times they clash. Make sure to find a farrier you are comfortable and confident communicating with. Remember, just because someone is fun to be around doesn't mean that they will do a good job on your horse’s hooves.
In addition to personality, look for professionalism and a life-long commitment to learning.
A Farrier’s Perspective on Choosing a Hoof Care Professional
Hoof Health Resources
SmartPak’s Hoof Health Consultant Danvers Child, CJF, offers his wealth of knowledge in these hoof articles and videos:
- Watch this video showing what a healthy hoof looks like
- Learn the parts of the hoof and begin to understand if your horse has healthy feet
- Understand the elements of preventative hoof care from the inside out
- Danvers explains the importance of hoof maintenance in this video