Farriers - bit of a rant!

Theocat

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I an not at all convinced most farriers really are all that well paid. When you take into account their training, cost of equipment, shoes and travel (time and fuel), being self employed and more liable to injury than some jobs, they must be making much less than most professionals trained to a similar level. Unlike vets they often don't have someone looking after messages, bookings and bills. It is no wonder that the quality - of farriery or of professionalism and business practice - is sometimes lacking.

Farriery is like livery - we get what we pay for, and a lot of people aren't paying enough to get the service they expect, but we're perennially surprised when there are problems.
 

milliepops

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Add in no sick leave, no paid annual leave... if they want time off they have to do twice as much work before and after. It's not a job I'd want to do, and I'm married to one 😂 incidentally he tends not to fill days up too full so can respond in an emergency but it does mean there's not as much earning potential as fewer clients overall. The ones that work flat out seem to be unable to cope with these ad hoc extras (and they also get physically knackered much sooner)
 

Marigold4

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Add in no sick leave, no paid annual leave... if they want time off they have to do twice as much work before and after. It's not a job I'd want to do, and I'm married to one 😂 incidentally he tends not to fill days up too full so can respond in an emergency but it does mean there's not as much earning potential as fewer clients overall. The ones that work flat out seem to be unable to cope with these ad hoc extras (and they also get physically knackered much sooner)
I think that's at the heart of it. Taking on so many clients that you can't fit in an emergency or answer calls.
 

milliepops

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I think for some people it probably feels like you have to take on all the clients that they can, because invariably some people will be unreliable clients/move on to someone else and so on. Need to guarantee a certain income level. Then they can end up a bit over stretched.
My OH reckons every farrier has only so many sets of shoes he can put on in a lifetime, because it is a very physical job - you can either really go at it and be worn out in middle age, or pace yourself a bit and still be able to do it until retirement age!
 

Marigold4

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I'd say whether that was expensive, cheap or about right is highly dependent on your area, travelling distance from home base, type of shoes etc needed and so on.
Someone earlier was suggesting perhaps i deserved such poor service since i was making my farrier work for too little. £80 seems a reasonable amount for two x natural balance and two ordinary, nothing extra or special except 4 x road nails.
 

Marigold4

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Someone earlier was suggesting perhaps i deserved such poor service since i was making my farrier work for too little. £80 seems a reasonable amount for two x natural balance and two ordinary, nothing extra or special except 4 x road nails.
Not saying at all the I'm being ripped off, just that that's reasonable and not underpaying
 

milliepops

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round here £80 would be on the lowish side for what you're describing. But I do agree that poor service is poor service whatever the price.

I got dumped by a previous farrier for no apparent reason, he was coming 6 weekly on the dot to shoe 2 horses for about 5 years or so and I thought we had a good working relationship... and then one day stopped answering my calls. was still going to another yard a couple of miles up the road. Never did find out why. One of those things. Poor service exists in all areas of life unfortunately. I was lucky to have a few decent alternatives to choose from :)
 

Theocat

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Not saying at all the I'm being ripped off, just that that's reasonable and not underpaying
I wasn't suggesting you're underpaying - more that I suspect we nearly all (IMO) underpay. £80 for a trained professional to travel to us, provide all the equipment, and do the job - with sick pay, holiday pay, pensions, tax, NI, insurance etc all coming out of that £80 - does not leave a very large "per hour" take home pay for a trained professional.

This is not aimed at you at all - just a general musing on costs vs professionalism and quality!

ETA: It's the difference between "reasonable" and "comparable" - exactly like livery where costs are nearly universally too low, which means everyone thinks that what they're paying is reasonable because it's comparable.
 

scats

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I’m so lucky. I have an incredible farrier who I have used for over 25 years now, he has done all of our horses and ponies since I was little.
 

milliepops

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ETA: It's the difference between "reasonable" and "comparable" - exactly like livery where costs are nearly universally too low, which means everyone thinks that what they're paying is reasonable because it's comparable.
this is such a good point. It's tricky as a client, isn't it.. because you will pay what the going rate is. My last livery yard was really cheap and probably most YOs would say it was too cheap and not sustainable as a business. But was I meant to pay more than I was invoiced?
I'm now paying twice as much and I'd say the current YO has worked out his costs and the livery is charged at a realistic rate to provide him with a living - he's been running the place for decades so must be doing it right. But lots of people would simply say it was too expensive since there are cheaper places available.
 

milliepops

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I was paying that the last time I had shoes on a horse in 2007.
isn't it incredible how some things barely seem to change in price where horses are concerned o_O

eta considering how much other things change (e.g. diesel :eek:)
 

ycbm

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isn't it incredible how some things barely seem to change in price where horses are concerned o_O

eta considering how much other things change (e.g. diesel :eek:)

Yes, and I got the date wrong too, it was 2004, fifteen years ago. Basic unbranded horse food hasn't gone up much either, or the cost of bottom end horses and ex racers, rugs, cheap tack. Some things are really out of kilter price wise.
 

Twohorses

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Ok - this U.S. born person wants to know:

Are all of your farrier's and trimmers required to become certified and have some sort of license?

The way you sing ALL of their praises makes me think so:)

That is NOT the case in the U.S. I have trimmed my own horse off/on for sixty years. I am great at knowing what to do for normal hooves, I can do some work on my foundered horse if I have to. that means I have more knowledge and smarts than a lot of people who call themselves barefoot trimmers or farrier's.

Most barefoot trimmers in my area have not gone to formal school -- all they do is watch a Pete Ramey video they BORROWED, buy $10 worth of business cards to tack up in the local feed stores, and then call themselves farrier's and trimmers.

There are some people who believe they do marvelous work because they are good at schmoozing the horse owner who has no ide what WLD is or what the heel bulbs or central sulci are:).

There are places in the U.S. Where any caliber of farrier/trimmer is hard to find within a hundred mile radius, leaving many to learn to trim their own horses and hope for the best. The same goes for veterinary service.

So that's my question --- are there governed requirements in the UK to become a professional hoof care giver? :)
 

ycbm

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It is a requirement to train for four years as an apprentice and be be a member of the Worshipful Company of Farriers in order to shoe a horse in the UK

No other routine foot care requires any qualifications or training.



..
 

The Fuzzy Furry

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It is a requirement to train for four years as an apprentice and be be a member of the Worshipful Company of Farriers in order to shoe a horse in the UK

No other routine foot care requires any qualifications or training.



..
To confirm for the US question:
In the UK anyone can trim and you can do your own, but only a qualified farrier or a trainee under supervision can fit shoes to equines feet.
Insurance companies will (usually) only accept a qualified farrier to address feet issues that require insurance to pay out for treatment.
 

Tiddlypom

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Insurance companies will (usually) only accept a qualified farrier to address feet issues that require insurance to pay out for treatment.
Interestingly, my podiatrist said yesterday when he was here that he has recently been asked by a vet practice to supply his invoice for remedial trimming to them, so that they can add it to their client's horse's insurance claim. Podiatry is becoming more main stream, though there are still a lot of self taught cowboys out there.

My podiatrist is qualified and registered with the EPA (Equine Podiatrists Association).

My former farrier (a good chap) used to charge me £100 for three horses - two would have front shoes refitted and a trim behind, and the third was trimmed all round. That is no way to make a living - I told him he should charge more and be more reliable.
 

ester

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Yup they have to be qualified and registered (though I know there has been some grumbles re. foreign qualifications/very experienced people coming in from abroad). The use of the term shoe includes a few alternatives, there is case law for the application of hoof cast for instance.
I often see the UK held up in the US that having such regulation doesn't stop us having issues either.

TP petplan said they would pay a trimmer (mine was UKNCHP) for remedial trimming, but the policy says that you must use a qualified farrier (or did) they did accept that was a bit of an anomaly...
 

sport horse

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I was paying £80 per set plus tip at xmas. Too little?
It depends how far he has had to travel to do your one horse. If his last job was an hour away and the next one another hour on then the profit from £80 for 3 hours work after you have paid fuel, steel,nails van, tools and other equipment probably is not that great. Why do livery yards have several different farriers? Would it not be cheaper and more convenient to find one good one to do the whole yard - then they would be in several times a week/fortnight and this makes replacing lost shoes much simpler too. It would also mean that the yard was of much more significance to the farrier and they would be less likely to let you down.

How can the poor farrier plan his day to the minute? He might come across one horse that was difficult. Something might have a problem with its feet and need much more time and effort than originally thought. A big yard might have a couple of lost shoes. Or does he allow extra time for this and thus not be fully time effective through his day?

I now have my own yard but many years ago when my horse was at livery, the farrier did the yard and it was all organised by the yard owner - we just had to write our horse on a list. To expect a farrier to catch, tie up and shoe a horse without someone in charge of the horse is not acceptable. We never, and I mean absolutely never ever, leave the farrier shoeing without someone being in the yard the whole time. I have seen too many accidents even with supposedly 'patent safety dobbins' to leave someone carrying out what I consider a high risk job without back up in case of need.

I have an excellent farrier, I totally respect him and vice versa. If he has to change a booking he always let me know. My last farrier retired after many years. I am still in touch with him and vice versa. Those two cover the last 28 years.
 

Marigold4

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It depends how far he has had to travel to do your one horse. If his last job was an hour away and the next one another hour on then the profit from £80 for 3 hours work after you have paid fuel, steel,nails van, tools and other equipment probably is not that great. Why do livery yards have several different farriers? Would it not be cheaper and more convenient to find one good one to do the whole yard - then they would be in several times a week/fortnight and this makes replacing lost shoes much simpler too. It would also mean that the yard was of much more significance to the farrier and they would be less likely to let you down.

How can the poor farrier plan his day to the minute? He might come across one horse that was difficult. Something might have a problem with its feet and need much more time and effort than originally thought. A big yard might have a couple of lost shoes. Or does he allow extra time for this and thus not be fully time effective through his day?

I now have my own yard but many years ago when my horse was at livery, the farrier did the yard and it was all organised by the yard owner - we just had to write our horse on a list. To expect a farrier to catch, tie up and shoe a horse without someone in charge of the horse is not acceptable. We never, and I mean absolutely never ever, leave the farrier shoeing without someone being in the yard the whole time. I have seen too many accidents even with supposedly 'patent safety dobbins' to leave someone carrying out what I consider a high risk job without back up in case of need.

I have an excellent farrier, I totally respect him and vice versa. If he has to change a booking he always let me know. My last farrier retired after many years. I am still in touch with him and vice versa. Those two cover the last 28 years.
I just wanted him to REPLY to any of the following that I left for him: texts, a voicemail and an email so that I could have some kind of time scale for when he was next nearby and could attend to my horse's feet. Then I would know whether to wait for him or ask someone else as a one off. I wasn't demanding that he set off immediately across the country to sort out my horse!
 

TGM

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Why do livery yards have several different farriers? Would it not be cheaper and more convenient to find one good one to do the whole yard - then they would be in several times a week/fortnight and this makes replacing lost shoes much simpler too. It would also mean that the yard was of much more significance to the farrier and they would be less likely to let you down.
Some yards do stick to just one farrier for the yard, especially if the yard is full livery. However this approach is not always popular with potential livery clients - if they have built up a good rapport with their current farrier and that farrier knows the horse and its feet really well, they are reluctant to change if they move to a different livery yard.
 

Orchard14

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Why do livery yards have several different farriers? Would it not be cheaper and more convenient to find one good one to do the whole yard
Agree with TGM some yards do do that, but I think who you choose to have as your farrier, vet, physio, dentist etc. is, or can be, very personal and people like to have a say on who manipulates their horse in a way that can cause dramatic changes to their way of going. It's horses for courses, a farrier that the owner believes works magic on their horse, another owner might think differently when it comes to theirs. A farrier that specialises in hoof correction which works for one horse, might not have the same experience in barefoot cases or performance horses for example.
 

milliepops

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Also allows a bit of cross-cover in the event of one farrier being off/busy and lost shoes, abscesses needing to be looked at etc.
 

oldie48

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My farrier is brilliant, has never let me down, he's not always on time but usually texts me to let me know but most importantly for me, has consistently improved the feet of every single horse I have bought. Hes not cheap but he's worth every penny and I trust him implicitly.He's busy and frankly if a client messes him around, he politely tells them to find another farrier .
 
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