By Esco Buff, Ph.D.
Many farriers who work on therapeutic cases fail to plan ahead for this work. You need to plan for additional time, as well as for materials that may be needed.
If you spend time evaluating a horse, discussing your findings and suggesting a course of treatment, you’re going to upset a horse owner if you then have to tell them you don’t have the materials, equipment or shoes needed to perform the job right away.
Allotting the right amount of time for therapeutic work can be very difficult. You’re often going to spend a great deal of time evaluating the horse, then discussing your findings, pricing and treatment with the owner before you actually begin the job. And where does that leave you if the owner decides he or she doesn’t want to engage your services?
When you first start doing therapeutic work, I have one simple suggestion. Schedule such work toward the end of your day. That way, you will be able to provide the attention and extra work the case needs without interfering with another customer’s appointment if you run late. After a little experience, you will have a better idea of how much time to allot for such therapeutic work.
Sometimes therapeutic work will mean you have to consult with a veterinarian. In those cases, you may have to meet earlier in the day. But find out if you actually have to be in attendance at these appointments. It may be that the veterinarian can call you and relay his or her findings so you can determine what therapeutic course to provide.
If you do decide that you need to be in attendance, then you’ll also need to determine how you will charge for your wait time during the process.