Nothing better than an awesome farrier. Nothing worse than a terrible one. The big problem is you don't know which one someone is until you give them a try. It's the same with hairdressers, dog groomers, etc.
I am in the process of trimming my own (with a lot of help from HF people) because I was spoiled rotten by a wonderful farrier who retired. Now I can't find anyone to replace him. So I've decided to go the barefoot way and boot if I have to. This way I am the only one to blame if there is a problem.
I talked to my vet about my farrier. He gave me a guy's name that he likes. Only does barefoot, and I talked to him last night...nice. He did the horses across the streeet a couple of weeks ago...how perfect is THAT? He is coming over on Saturday to assess my situation, and fix the worst of the bunch.
So the new guy came out to meet me, and see what the other guy had done. We re-trimmed the 6 worst ones. A couple of them will require another time or two to get fully corrected, because they were so stretched. The stallion was limping, and under the mud was a bruise that may be an abscess, so he is in the barn packed with Epsom salts.
He kept asking.."Now, when was THIS one last done?" 7 DAYS ago, I would say....he would shake his head.
NICE guy, the horses really liked him, and like he said....he does not understand how someone can do such shoddy work....not like my horses don't stand still (they ALL ground tie to be trimmed) or I was asking something unreasonable!!
Has it ever occurred to anyone to ask what schooling the farrier has? Make sure it is an accredited school. Ask how long the course was. The 10 day course is an into course to better educate horse owners. The two year coarse is much better as in between first and second year the student has to work with a master farrier. The school then recommends the newly graduated farrier continue with the master for at least another year before going out on his/her own. In Europe, a shoer was also part blacksmith and apprenticed for 5 years as there was no formal schooling then. Even with schooling, hands on under a master is still the best learning tool.
Ugh so sorry you had such bad luck with a farrier! Glad it sounds like you have ahold of a good one now.
I hate hate hate finding a new farrier. Had an awesome one - he retired. Went through 3 more before I finally found another awesome one. Unfortunately now we just can't make our time availability match up. I have a few he is able to do if I can get someone to catch/hold for him, but I have 3 that do not get done unless I am there and my new job isnt quite as flexible as my last one. So back to the drawing board for us *sigh* I have a guy coming this weekend that I am "trying out" - I have 2 "test" horses that have decent feet that are easy to trim that can tell me real quick if a farrier's work will suit me and how they work around my horses. (I admitedly have a "farrier's nightmare" horse as well - but I usually just break down and do him myself, that's about all my back can handle doing).
Schooling means diddly here in the US. Look at the work and educate your eye. Its the only way to be sure you get good hoof care. I know some amazing trimmers and farriers who are self taught or taught as an apprentice and had no formal schooling. They can trim circles around most traditionally taught folks and fix things traditional guys can't even see. It depends.
I have had my farrier for over three years now and was thrilled with his work until this last time. I was very peaved with the work the he did and he is always always making sure I am happy but this last time he was in a hurry to leave for whatever reason. One mare pulled her shoe the very next day due to it being way overhung, second my hubbies main walker front left shoe was crooked as all get out, my app still had bad flares, and then my mare, which I do not accept anything but the best on her and one of her front feet stood up way more than the other. So, my poor hubby had to go back and redo everybody. Gladly my husband does shoe but because of his work schedule we kept using our farrier. Wont be anymore. I don't accept laziness in any type of work. If I pay you $125 for a set of shoes all the way around, do them correctly. Don't screw my horses feet up just because you want to be done for the day. My horses are perfect for a farrier. None of them would dare act up so I know they arent that hard to get done. We have several horses, shoes all the way around, front shoes, and some barefoot horses. Last time everybody had something wrong and I was not a happy camper. But, that is how you loose good business because my shod horses are shod year round. Which my farrier apparently loved. I don't give a second chance when It comes to my horses feet. Screw up once and your gone, that's it.