In honor of Farrier Appreciation Week, please take a moment to read the following public service announcement: Thank your farrier, and thank him often (even the sassy ones). Because a blacksmith’s work is difficult and occasionally dangerous, his hours are long, and the climate he works in is often unforgiving. He’s the hero who shows up at a moment’s notice to tack your horse’s shoe back on; who thinks long and hard about your soundness qualms, even on his time off; and who always shows up with a smile on his face. Most of the time, anyway.
Here are nine small and simple ways you can show your farrier that you care, not just this week, but all throughout the year.
1. A well-behaved horse.
Easier said than done, right? Wrong. Sure, not every horse is born knowing how to stand perfectly for the farrier. But if your horse is young, green, or struggles with the concept, don’t make it your farrier’s problem. Take the time before your appointment to work with your horse on his ground manners—or find a knowledgeable professional to assist you.
2. Clean feet.
Don’t make your farrier pick up a foot coated with mud and shavings. Isn’t her job hard enough already? Take a few minutes to pick out and brush off your horse’s legs and feet before she arrives.
3. Payment at the time of service.
Maybe your farrier has a billing policy, but everyone appreciates payment at the time of service, and cash is always nice. Seriously. Everyone loves cash.
4. An organized setup.
Make sure your aisle is clean and clear before the farrier arrives, and that there are power outlets, a broom and shovel, and a bucket of water available (if necessary) for his use.
5. Cocoa, soup, or hand warmers in the winter months.
Shoeing a barn full of horses in the freezing cold is rough work. A few thoughtful gestures to help your blacksmith beat the chill will go a very long way. (Plus, Santa will add you to the nice list—no coal this year!).
They may not be blacksmith currency, exactly, but they certainly go along way. If your farrier takes the trouble to fix a lost shoe or squeeze you in in a pinch, don’t miss the opportunity to thank him with some delicious, chocolatey baked goods.
7. Free sweeping and manure cleanup.
A little manure and hoof + nail clippings comes with the job description, but why not make yourself as useful to your farrier as you can? Clean up after your horse so he doesn’t have to, and help him by sweeping up the aisle between the other horses on his list.
8. Happy hour refreshments.
The bestowing of an ice-cold beer (or root beer) after a hard day’s work is a universal gesture of thanks. We looked it up.
9. Be a good customer.
Every professional relationship is a two-way street. Be at the barn when you say you will, have your horse ready when he gets there, pay your bills on time, and be helpful when you can. Because a well-appreciated farrier is a happy farrier, and when the farrier’s happy, EVERYBODY’S happy.
How else do YOU say thank you to your farrier? Let us know in the comments section!