Working with another Farrier/ Veterinarian or Both?

It can be complicated working on horses by yourself. But when the situation warrants intervention or help from another farrier, veterinarian or someone who is both, the mix can be the recipe that makes the shoeing problem go into the solution phase or in the less desirable mode of sliding backwards. Recently, I had a situation of the later description. I had been in on the first shoeing by the veterinarian and I thought important points were clear and the directions the project was to progress. At the end of the shoeing it was decide that I would do the follow up shoeing. A couple of issues arose and I dealt with them as if whatever I changed would be minor in the whole scheme of things. Just look at how easy things can go in the wrong direction. First off, when the person doing the initial shoeing is doing his thing and doing the demonstration well, there are any number of things of importance that can be over weighted or under weighted depending on where the demonstrator thinks his audiences skill level and understanding is. It is very easy listening and watching a procedure and nod the proper way not thinking ahead enough to ask about problems that may occur tomorrow or when the shoeing is four weeks old and it is your job to stay as close to the initial job as possible.

As a quick example, I know that the first swath I cut on the lawn is most probably pretty close to where I wanted it. The second pass has a little deviation in it and I can try to correct it on the next pass. As you get further from the first pass any change that gets made becomes even more noticeable. I didn't call and get the attending

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vet/farrier input and that should have been the very first thing I did before changing anything he put in place no matter how small the adjustment might seem. After a few shoeings I did send an email with some pictures of the project. However, I didn't call him to see what he thought about the feet in the pictures that I sent him. I didn't do the follow up to my email with a phone call, another error on my part, lack of communication! Lack of communication will hurt the best of relationships not to mention the complications with the horse that was placed in my charge.

When the vet/farrier returned, the situation was not as he had desired or anticipated. When I hadn't kept up with the program he had in place, it caused a lack of confidence, friction and damage that is hard to repair by just being there giving a hand trying to fix short comings that were caused by the follow up shoeings. The problem will always rest with the person who is to be following the prescription and it only makes sense to keep great communications open to prevent minor or worse, major setbacks by lack of a the minimal phone call. Communication will always invigorate a relationship and foster understanding. Unfortunately, my attention wasn't focused on the list of must do's for the situation at hand and I dropped the shoe so to speak and of course the Vet/ Farrier and client are met with disappointment. It is not enough in a lot of situations to apologize, you must prove yourself in future tasks presented to you. As we all know, pursuit of perfection is the task that will always be the quest.

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I will stick to the code of farrier follow up:

1. Communicate with the person heading the project,

2. Ask for direction when it's not your personal call to make changes,

3. Respect the plan and established perscription .

At times though, there won't be anything that you can do to make the plan administrator happy. It will be helpful to try and figure out where you are in the scheme of how the original problem originated, how did the horse contract the problem so to speak. If you are determined to be the instigator of the malady the person coming in to help may let you know directly or in a more passive/aggressive manner. Most people prefer to know up front that they actually caused the problem or not. The passive/aggressive mode is hard to deal with because the person in charge has the owners ear in a different way than you do and whatever is said is not always a conversation for all parties. There is often a different conversation going on between the owner and the veterinarian, veterinarian and shoer and shoer to the owner. The mix! I find when comments are passed back and forth between the different parties, context is an issue. Just remember to be clear with who you are speaking with so commentary is a building block and not a stumbling block.

Learning is an everyday thing!


Don Dressel


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