There was a statement made by William E. Jones, the executive director of the International Association of Equine Practitioners, in the July/August 2003 Farrier's Journal, which goes a long way toward clearing up any confusion associated with the distinction between the role of the veterinarian and the role of the farrier in the treatment of the horse's foot. His statement during an interview in that edition of the Journal was, "Most aspects of shoeing normal horses are out of the realm of equine practice and no veterinarians want to do it on a routine basis." Jones says. "Few veterinarians have as much farrier knowledge as the typical professional farrier".
If you wish you can view that article by clicking here.
This is critical to keep in perspective. The farrier relies on specialized knowledge and experience which can only be aquired through operating on each individual foot, through time, and observing its individual response to variuos techniques of balancing and maintainance. At least he's supposed to. The vet then has to gain that information from the farrier and the horseowner to become a meaningful player in a situation. That, in theory, is a simple process and makes for a well-equipt partnership to then head towards successful diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
It's obvious that what must also be factored into your expectations of the job performance of any farrier, or vet, or any professional service person, is that there is no guarantee of care or integrity or knowledge. This is probably the single most complicating factor in getting good work done. The best way of dealing with this problem is to take responsibility as a horseowner by way of learning about horse behavior and care through experience, and from widely accepted reliable sources, even getting second opinion, therby gaining a solid foundation from which you can judge things for yourself. And then the more able you will be in contributing to the solution during any hoofcare issue you may be faced with.
Hopefully this quick overview will be useful toward avoiding confusion in this area.