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Since most farriers have a number of loyal backyard horse customers, it’s not always easy to separate friendships from simply providing footcare work. In fact, many of the 203 farriers who answered a recent American Farriers Journal electronic survey on working with backyard horses indicated they take precautions to avoid becoming close friends with hoof-care clients.
Most of these farriers do not socialize with clients outside of work, preferring to think of horse owners as clients first and friends second.
Dustin Carroll finds it’s important to charge friends the same prices as all clients and treat them in the same way. Over time, they’ll understand you’re doing equine footcare work as a living and can only be friends after the hoof-care work is done, says the Placerville, Calif., farrier.
Gerry Rayon agrees with this approach. “I keep my client relationships professional, and don’t spend time with clients outside of my duties as their farrier,” says the Elma, Wash., farrier. “I’m personable and friendly, but am not considered to be a buddy in the good old boys club.’’
Christine Abramo says her rule is to avoid socializing with clients. Ask yourself if you could maintain the friendship if they started using another farrier…