How to deal with a problem:

If you are experiencing a problem with your farrier, vet, or even a client, and you have not been able to resolve the problem, the following series of steps may assist you in conflict resolution. It is not the goal of to persecute anyone. The goal is to assist you to resolve a problem with everyone’s best interest in mind.

For example, I hear many complaints about other farriers because I have been approached to assess the horse for lameness or give a second opinion. I am only hearing one side of the story. I try to keep an open mind. What has been concerning me is the number of complaining clients who describe their horse being severely lame following farriery, aggressive or abusive behavior directed at either the client or the horse, and that they have tried to resolve the problem following the steps outlined below and have not had a satisfactory resolution to their problem.

Advice for women. Be direct, say what the problem is, offer a solution, state what you need the other person to do for you. Leave out the indirect expressions such as I think, I feel, maybe, possibly, could you, what every you think etc. If you want the farrier to return your phone call in less than 2 days, say so!

Advice for men. It is more than fixing the problem, women appreciate you listening to what they have to say about how the problem has affected them. Women love their horses and will feel great empathy for them.

  • Have you told the person who has provided the farriery or other service to you that there is a problem? You should do this before you tell anyone else. You may be damaging someone’s reputation.
  • After outlining the problem to the person concerned, have you offered a suggestion for how to resolve the problem? For example ‘my horse was shod 3 days ago and now it is lame, would you please come and check the shoeing to make sure that is not the problem?’
  • Often the communication between client and farrier is poor. Not returning phone calls is the most common complaint. Lack of action once a problem has been identified is another.
  • If you have outlined the problem and suggested how to resolve the issue, or offered a compromise, and you have not received a satisfactory response, then you should if possible try again to resolve the problem through clear communication, and only then should you resort to making a formal complaint.
  • SEND YOUR COMPLAINT IN WRITING. In an unemotional style, (leave out I feel and I think), briefly list your details, the date, the date of any particular incident or event, location, and all relevant details of horse or farrier, witnesses etc. relevant to the issue. Then offer your suggestions for resolution of the problem. Emotional input to this will decrease the validity of your arguments and will cause many people to dismiss the complaint out of hand. You must include in this a date by which you would reasonably expect to receive a reply e.g., 14 days, and send this to the person with whom you are lodging a formal complaint. Make sure that you can be contacted during this time, offer address, phone, mobile and email so that no one can say they could not contact you. Retain at least one copy for your own records. If your complaint is ignored your should make an attempt to confirm that the complaint has been received. If you still receive no reply or resolution and you have exhausted all reasonable methods of conflict resolution you can make a complaint to a governing body such as a farriers association, etc. Refer to the list below for more information on farriery associations and addresses.
  • Remember that you employed this person to perform farriery procedures on your horse.

    Did you check whether or not they were qualified?

    Did you assess the work yourself?

    Were you present? For example I am very reluctant to work on any horse without the owner or their representative present.

    If you have employed an unqualified trimmer and not a professional farrier there may be no organisation that you can go to with your complaint. However, it may be to the benefit of other horse owners and farriers if you at least give a copy of your complaint to the farrier’s association in your state or country so that they can make a record of it, and should they cross paths with the person who has performed poor work they may be able to offer advice or guidance.

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