Farrier Retention Tactics

Had trouble finding a good farrier and now not sure how to keep them? Keep having farriers come once and then never return your calls again? Or maybe you're delighted you've had the same farrier for 10 years but you don't understand why they won't return your neighbors calls?

Consider the following tips for how to keep your farrier happy!

1. Be at the appointment and have your horses caught and tied up before the farrier arrives. (Like this wonderful model client has!). If you can't have them tied up, have them yarded and quick to reach.

You might think it only takes 10 minutes to put one back and grab the next one, but that's a whole hour wasted every 6 horses!

2. Monitor your horses behaviour - do they snatch, lean, bite, kick, walk in circles, run backwards? If you're not sure how to best keep your farrier safe and manage your horses unwanted behaviour - ask them! For minor cases they probably have some great tips for you, for serious cases they may recommend you consult a trainer who specialises in manners for farriery.

3. Don't set your horse up to fail! Concentrate on what they're doing - don't be on your mobile and telling your friend about that girl you don't like while you sit on a camping chair holding the end of a 6 foot lead. We will tell you off. Or if you're lucky enough to have me I will make it super awkward by stopping all my work and staring intently at you until you hang up, or over-dramatically mimicking you. If you were unlucky enough to have my old farrier as a kid, he would pick you up and carry you to the poop pile and drop you in it.
Make sure you don't do silly things to upset your horses, like separate paddock mates, or putting the 2nd last horse away while the farrier is half way through the last horse, or feeding horses etc.

4. Pain and personality management - If your horse misbehaves due to a pain issue perhaps you need to discuss pain management with your vet. Likewise if they're just a little stiff or have ADHD perhaps you need to to exercise your horse prior to the appointment so everyone has a more enjoyable experience.

5. Keep cancellations to a minimum with appropriate notice as per your farriers terms and conditions. Repeat offenders often start to wonder why they don't get rebooked. Clarify if you're asking for THAT appointment to be moved, or skipped, or all future appointments to be cancelled.

6. Keep your horse on your farriers recommended schedule. Do they live far away and only come to your area every 5 weeks? Do the serve a couple of small horses off the back of your large barn visit who might miss out if you cancel to have ANOTHER brunch date with Deborah? Did they recommend a certain cycle length because alternatives will not get the results your horse deserves?

7. If you call your farrier and they don't call back, please wait 24 hours before trying again. If its THAT urgent you can't wait a day for a call back - you need a vet, not a farrier. There are some exceptions to this. But you really don't need to call them 8 times per day to change your appointment 4 weeks from now.

8. Please provide a clean, dry, firm, and ideally shaded or sheltered area for your farrier. Grass like this is totally fine if its not muddy! This place also has a lovely shelter in the rain and a shady tree in the summer. But if you're going to provide shelter make sure its safe! And that your horse feels confident being in that area. I don't really want to wedge your horse between the expensive motorcyle and the pointy dangerous lawn mower in the low-roofed garage with the slippery floor where they can't see their friends who are snorting in the rain - I'd much rather come back on a dry day!

9. Communicate. We can't fix things if we don't know there's a problem! And even if you're leaving your farrier for a new one your feedback will allow them to improve for other clients. If you need extra help with something - most of us are happy to oblige! Don't understand why we've done something, ask us! 😃 Your farrier should be happy to answer your questions!

(Also consider if you've followed their contact instructions! I've had people waiting for me to return their voicemail even when my voicemail had said its not being manned please text or email! Or text daily when my auto reply says I'm on holiday for the week. Is there an instruction you've missed somewhere?)

10. Pay them! Find out their preferred payment method and pay them that way at the appointment. Please note some farriers expect bank transfers prior to the appointment so it has cleared by time of service, OR a screenshot of the transfer for proof its in transit. Please don't take 3 weeks to put the transfer through. If you can't pay on time tell your farrier before the appointment and ask if you should reschedule. If they're happy to help you out they will offer their solutions. Also, don't pretend you never got the invoice if you did - in many of our programs the farrier can see when you've opened if from the back end 😉

What are some of your tips for keeping your farrier coming back?

Farriers - what do you need from your clients to want to return?
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