IME it is the norm in this area at least(tho I've heard countless other complaints) that farriers are rude, unprofessional & almost reliably late & unreliable. So much the norm that I call it 'farrier's disease'!<GG> Therefore I wouldn't jump to blame you for having continued to use him - perhaps he's the best option of a bad bunch for all we know. I know I put up with an idiot farrier for some time because I decided he was the lesser idiot of all options, before learning to do the job myself. I hope you have better options to choose from in your neck of the woods!
LOL..."farrier's disease"....I love it
Sorry for the long post...no rants, just my honest opinions...
I'm lucky (I believe) that a long time ago, our old English farrier taught me how to trim our mares and I've been doing it ever since, but hear enough farrier stories it just make a few comments, for whatever they are worth..
- Trimming healthy feet is not particularly hard to do, but it is still hard work,
and I have great respect for good farriers. I used to be able to trim all three of our mares on one day, but as I got older, doing three (well behaved) horses in 90+ weather just about kills me. I now do one every Saturday morning (so they get done every 3 weeks), even if they often just need a quick touchup and roll over.
- Even around here where there are multiple farriers, they are all busy, many won't take new clients, and most aren't even interested or put you at the bottom of the list if you have only a couple horses. I fully understand the economics of this, but it can make finding a good farrier tough. Back when we used a farrier and had only one horse we were lucky to have two farriers nearby and they would schedule us as the first in the morning on their way to the barns, or the last in the afternoon on their way home so they didn't have to drive out of their way. If a farrier is too busy or just doesn't want your business, I would expect a professional to suggest other farriers rather than brush you off or not call you back.
- Pee-d on horse... unexpected situations do happen and if you're around horses and can't take getting dirty, you're in the wrong business IMHO.
- Being late... I treat this just like when I go to the doctor. If it's more than 30 minutes, I expect a call and/or to be rescheduled. Many farriers, like doctors, do book too many appointments, and to be quite honest, I would expect a farrier to have 5 or 10 minutes to talk to me about my horses's feet if needed, and I would gladly pay a little extra for the time if asked. I expect the same from my vet even when he comes just to do routine work, e.g. Coggins or rabies shots.
- Being sore/lame after a trim...probably the most common complaint I hear from all my barefoot friends. If there was some sort of corrective trimming that could cause soreness, I would expect to be told before the farrier leaves. Otherwise, I would never accept that soreness after a trim is a 'fact of life'. Farriers do make mistakes (I certainly have), but I would expect someone to admit to it and even come back just to take a look to make sure nothing else is wrong. This may sound unreasonable and is probably a pipe dream, but if I did it for a living, I certainly would. I also feel that some farriers 'over trim' to make a trim last 8 weeks because they are uncomfortable suggesting that the horse really needs to be trimmed more often.
Hats off to all the consciencious, professional farriers out there... you guys (and gals) are the 'doctors' of the most important part of our horses.