The weather has been playing havoc with horses’ feet. We’re not the only farriers having an unusual number of lost and loose shoes. It seems to be UK wide, so we hear on the farriery grapevine.
Hooves are wet one minute and dry the next. The feet expand and then contract and are either waterlogged or dry and brittle. As a result, the nails come loose and shoes begin to move and become loose. It’s another lesson learnt. Hooves cope well in conditions that are constant. They do not cope well with continually changing conditions.
Customers, unsurprisingly, prefer to stick to their normal shoeing intervals, but the reality is horses should be shod more regularly when the weather is being so bonkers.
Of course, it would be hard to shoe everyone more regularly as we are already at max capacity and we could not get round our customer base more often that we already do. However, it has meant that we are having to find time before work and after work to re-nail shoes or replace lost ones. We have worked some very, very long hours. All part of the service!
The thorny issue of call out charges is always an area of great sensitivity. Many farriers will charge a call out fee for attending a lost shoe. However, Kris Parsons, my training farrier tries not to charge. Our shoes come with a guarantee and, even though many lost shoes are caused by horses cavorting around when turned out, it’s hard to have a hard and fast rule on when to charge and when not to. Kris tries to give a premium service and customers that have their horses shod regularly will always get a quick and prompt visit if a shoe needs putting right.
Those customers that try to stretch the shoeing cycle and eek out an extra week or two on their shoes are running a high risk that a shoe might come loose or be lost. Whilst they also get a prompt call out service from Kris, they are really at fault for stretching the shoeing cycle and so should be prepared to pay a call out. But do they see it like that? Of course not!
Until the week after next (I’m off on holiday)