Bad Farrier Day

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Well-Known Member
May 30, 2005
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Stratham, New Hampshire
As most of you know I am a full time farrier. Right now is our busy season and I am about to have a meltdown. Wrenched my back a good one and yes I DID go to the doctor. {Which says a lot because I NEVER, EVER go}. It takes an awful lot to lay me this low. How did this happen? I evidently had a slight flu bug, lots of stress and four REALLY stupid big horses in a row. The final a@$%$#$ horse is the one who did me in. I have lots of strength but he really cranked on me and pulled a muscle in my back. I know people complain about farriers but right now I am complaining about owners whose horses need BETTER ground manners than what they have. It is not my job to train their horse and if I say he's being a twit CORRECT him. I am considering giving up my amateur status to add a training surcharge on if the horse is that stupid. Don't get me wrong I love my job but why do people not see when their precious darling is being a jerk? The other thing is I have dropped some clients lately because I just couldn't take walking into certain barns that just irritate me because I can't stand the way [1] the horses are cared for or lacking care because the owners are too busy and don't have time for them [2] snotty attitude [3] having to wait for payment [i still have to pay my bills] [4] its an emergency for them because they have a show coming up and waited till the last minute to call me so I should drop everything I'm doing and get out there right away. Right now I am so frustrated because MY horses haven't had the time I want to put into them. I also can't drop too many clients because of the price of fuel. I know some of the vets and farriers in the area are adding on a fuel surcharge but I don't want to do that unless its absolutely necessary. Sorry for the rant but lately people are so stupid that I just want to find quiet place and take my horses with me. Linda
Ouch, you poor thing! You know, by the way I'll snatch a horse's BUTT off when being bad for a farrier, probably gives some people a bad idea of how I treat horses, but you are SO vulnerable to injury down there. Horses HAVE to behave for farriers & vets!
I call it an irritation fee.

I just had one of those days where I'd been better off with the horse tied to a post. Owner couldn't keep it still, I had to take the lead rope and correct. These were all big horses.

Then, there were 4 mares in the pasture, one of the mares steals my hoof knife and I have to chase her across the pasture.

The next pasture has 2 yearlings who proceed to give me a weggie while I'm trimming one of the older horses and then remove my headband.

To add to your list:

People who wait 6 months to schedule you and then need you yesterday because it's been 6 months.

Then after doing 3 Xs the work because it's been 6 months they act like they're going to have to go without food for a week to pay you.

Being asked if there's a discount if they provide the shoes. The answer is no, but if you'll nail them on I'll knock off 10 %.

Emergencies that aren't emergencies.

People who act like you're robbing them when they see the bill and make comments like "I wish I made that much an hour". I haven't gone up on prices in 5 yrs now. Besides they're living in a 1.5 million $ home, I live in a singlewide.

Sorry you had a bad day Linda. We do this because we love horses in spite of some of their owners.

Have a margarita on me.

Awwww... I'm sorry! I am NOT a farrier and I do NOT wish to ever be one! I have been trained at work how to pull off a draft shoe and tack a nail back in and it just KILLS me to pull off one shoe. I have NO desire to do that... I barely like PICKING out a horse's foot!

My horses, they are usually okay for the farrier and I really feel for the farrier when they are not good. I tell my farriers they are more than allowed to "get after" my horses if they misbehave.

I don't feel it's the farrier's job to train the horse... if I get in a new horse or a baby, I don't get their feet trimmed until I can pick up all fours for a reasonable amount of time. THEN when I can pick the feet up politely, I will have my farriers work on them.

I did have a farrier that would charge $5 extra for a "Bad Horse Fee" if the horse was bad... and I gladly paid it!

The sad thing is, there are always crappy new farriers with little experience out there, that can do it for "cheap" but they can also really screw up your horse. I happily pay whatever I can, to try and get a halfway decent farrier out here. It can be tough to find a farrier that is 1. Good with the horses 2. Punctual 3. Reliable 4. Knowledgeable and 5. Does a good job (and even 6. isn't crazy)!

I feel for you in more ways than one. The way I am, I'd never have the patience to deal with horse people all day long. Some of us are outstanding but I tell you, the ones that aren't are the ones that make me want to scream and I bet have the potential to suck up way big slices of a day. That's a big thing that's why I've turned down outside breeding requests. I do not want to deal with the owners because I know how many "horse people" can be in business types of relationships
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I know your customers are anxious for you to get well quickly! Like any business, I guess you have to tolerate a few ornery ones. If you are out of commission very long, though, I'll bet they will be sending you Get Well Quick cards.

My dil is my natural farrier. I try to be the customer for her the way I would another farrier:

My horses are ready for her when she arrives

The trimming area is prepared, with extra lighting if need be

My horses as well mannered as possible.

Payment on the spot in cash, if possible, but a check waiting for sure

Hope you get well soon.
I'm sorry Linda. I totally sympathise. I hope you feel better soon.

I feel for you too. Unfortunately a large percentage of horse owners should not have horses. They have no idea what manners are. All they want to do is make excuse after excuse why "poor poopsey" won't behave.
God only knows what their children are like. My farrier won't tolerate it. Plenty of jobs where he doesn't have to deal with stupid owners and stupid horses that are stupid because of their owners. I have one rule here. Each horse gives me an hour or so of their day. Mandatory.

As for payment......I could not imagine not paying my farrier for services rendered.......THAT DAY! You certainly don't go to the grocery store and sign an IOU! UGH! I would see the CASH or the CHECK before I looked at the first horse.

You certainly are more patient then I would be. Hoping you feel better soon.

I am SO glad I decided to become a groomer instead of a farrier... most days.
I know I couldn't handle the physical stress you do, but some days I deal with much the same from dogs with no manners and owners without a clue.
I frequently deal with dogs who I would consider abused, but since they are coming in to be "taken care of" when I see them there is nothing to be done. Fortunately, the majority of my cliental are good people with good dogs.

I hope you're feeling better soon!
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So sorry you hurt your back! Back pain is the absoulte worse!

I'll just say that I LOVE MY FARRIER
(Vickie, aka Journeys End). She has to deal with a couple dummies at my place, but we get them done with at least HER not getting hurt!
Bless your heart for the things you have to see and put up with!

I just love my Farrier, but have heard some horror stories from her. She takes care of 6 Belgiums. She said non of which behave themselves and they don't have cross ties. Sounds like a nightmare to me

Well, take is easy.. I remember when I was planning on going to farrier school and when it came time to lye the money down I backed up.



Certifications, months in school and hundreds of breeds later..

Wow, what was I thinking?!

I LOVE my job, yes.. but wow..

IF only people would train their dogs or at least assist in training and seek professional help.. or at least understand when I can not perform certain procedures to their pet while keeping their safety and mine in consideration..

My first week as a groomer, a German Shepherd.. all teeth latched on top of my arm.. Recently.. a Poodle decided that three knuckels would be good for lunch.. That doesn't include all of the foul things I've put up with in-between..

BUT I LOVE IT! Even 3 years later..

Hope you feel better.. I am a little sore today from grooming a Newfoundland on the floor all day today..
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Linda i'm right there with you!!!!! I messed up my back last week too and had to go to the doctors and on lots of drugs for pain and antiinflamitories. It's been so bad i've had to get neighbors to take care of my critters any little bending or anything sends me into excurtiating pain! today wasn't too bad though and I actually did manage to get a couple of the boys hitched up and drove them.. but i'm not sure how long this will last or if i'll have them ready for the NH show..LOL it's aweful!!! Although the boys are so spunky this year as long as they'll woah and stand i think we might do pretty well without a ton of work! lol

As for people with horses that are terrible..seems to be the way everywhere!! Nothing irrates me more than someone with a horse or a dog that walks all over them *( you see people walking dogs down the road..or i should say the dog is walking/dragging them down the road) or horses that wont stand still when asked or wont pick up their feet ect.. it's very frustrating! I basically tell my farriers to "lay into them or step back and let me shank them!!!". Mine usually are pretty good but occationally have moments that I have to get after them. I do most of the mini's feet myself now and i have no problems with giving them a smack every now and then if they are being dingbats!
Linda--I can picture everything happening as you described it.
I'm sorry it's so frustrating right now. It's a tough job. One of my farrier's pet peeves are folks who call once in a blue moon for an emergency. He only wants clients who make regular appts. Can't say as I blame him.

Hope things pick up.
Thanks everyone for all your support. I absolutely hate taking pain pills but if I don't its not going to get better. Most of the horses are acting stupid lately because of the weather and I can understand that but its the manners thing and lack of courtesy with the owners that really ticks me off. I can honestly say I do my job because I do love it, its just some days I don't love it when things like this happen. The hardest part was trying to explain to the doctor how it hurts. As a farrier I don't feel pain the way most people do because we always push it aside and work through it. When I complain for a full week and have to get up and put a hot pack on my back every hour on the hour at night, yeah I guess thats time to go to the doctor. I am feeling better today but I am going to take it easy for a few more days. Linda
Hope you are feeling even better today, Linda. Your clients are really lucky to have you and your dedication (and talent!).
I hope you are feeling better by now. Make sure you let yourself heal before going back to work. Is there some sort of back brace or support you can wear to protect the injured area?

I was AMAZED at some of the things you said. You have to WAIT TO BE PAID by some of your customers?!?!

Who would do that?!?! They book you, you come out and do the work and they DON'T pay you?

That would never have crossed my mind, and I am shocked it happens to you. I can't believe they wouldn't write out a check when you finish working. You'd think those people would be afraid of losing a great farrier! We love our farrier, and not only do I pay in full that day, because he does all our horses in one long day I do everything I can to make it easy for him. I hold the horses and I feed the farrier lunch and snacks and drinks throughout the day. The last time he was here my husband and I took him out to lunch at a restaurant. We totally kiss up to him because he does great work, is very knowleagable and experienced, he drives two hours to our house and he charges less than any other farrier I've used even though he is the best I've used.

Also, these horses with bad manners, I can't believe the owners.

Our horses are usually very well behaved for our farrier and if one acts up for him it is usually a new horse that needs work on the manners. I had a very unruly older (16 yrs) stallion that hadn't been handled much at all in his life prior to coming to us and he was just awful to have his feet done the first time and within two farrier visits he had learned to stand still and behave like a gentleman so I know it is possible to re-train those horses and improve their ground manners in a short time if the owner wants to. His first trim he was horrible....rearing, striking, flipped himself in the cross ties and was biting and the third trim he had totally come around. I handled his feet and did a lot of groundwork with him in between visits and it made a huge difference.

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