Pastures are starting to green up, flowers are blooming, and people throughout the West are anxious to start riding their horses.
Before you take off on that first long ride in varying terrain, you need to consider calling a farrier and getting shoes on your horse. We are lucky to have several good farriers in our area, but not all farriers are created equal. You know what I mean if you’ve ever tried to save a few dollars by choosing the cheapest farrier and then have your horse come up lame.
There is no legal standard in Idaho, Oregon, or the U.S. for that matter, for farrier certification. Anyone can call themselves a farrier. That makes it even more important to do some research before hiring a horseshoer.
There are many farriers that have not trained formally, but are still good nonetheless. Plenty of good horseshoers can be found on ranches. Some farriers have spent time and money training and getting a certification. But if you need a farrier and don’t know where to look, start by contacting your local veterinarian, or the Farriers Guild of Idaho. They can give you a referral.
Bruce Worman, a local farrier, said that before you make that call, you should ask yourself a few questions such as how often do you ride your horse and in what terrain? What do you use your horse for? Do you trail ride, endurance race, team rope, or do dressage?
You also need to be honest about your horse and its attitude toward a farrier. Most farriers won’t turn you down if your horse is less than happy about getting shod, but it’s unfair to be less than honest and risk getting a farrier hurt. You should also be courteous when planning for a farrier. If possible, don’t lead your horse through a mud bog (I know hard to do in the spring). Scrap off any mud on your horse’s feet and make sure your horse is on level ground. Take control of your horse’s head and make the farrier’s job easier. Remember, a farrier doesn’t come to your place to train your horse.
Also, plan enough time. It’s not fair to rush a farrier through s hoeing job. A good shoer should be on time and so should you. If you have an appointment at 10:00, don’t go get your horse then – have the horse haltered and ready.
Farriers are also a good source of information. Ask them how to best care for your horse’s feet between trims or horseshoeing, and ask them how often you should have your horse shod. Ask questions, be informed, and enjoy your ride.