Working with an apprentice or an associate can be a great asset — if you are on the same page. Setting expectations early will save time and frustration down the road. The rules you give your helper don’t have to be the same as mine, but establishing what you expect is your practice is critical to everyone’s success. Here are a few of the rules I give helpers when they ride along with me.
Shoeing Expectations

  • I'll show you the way I like it done.  Small, tight clinches and feet dressed up neatly. 
  • Cut clinches and pull a shoe off gently — diagonally across the toe. Don't get snatchy and tear off wall. On clipped shoes, pull nails individually.
  • Use a buffer if they'll stand for it. I like my horses to look the best they can — yes, even the ranch horses.
  • You're working at your own risk, just as I am. If you get cut, scraped, poked, burnt, pinched — take care of it — please don't bleed on my tools! 
  • Work efficiently, but don't get in a hurry. Don't try to do something as fast (or faster) than I do it — I've logged a lot of years in this business.

Basic Workspace Rules

  • Please put tools/shoes/inventory back exactly where (and how) you found them. 
  • Know the difference between a left and right shoe.
  • Always bring a FULL bucket of water. 
  • Don't stand between my forge and anvil. 
  • Open the forge door before hitting the igniter button. 
  • Don't hand me a hot shoe.
  • Grab the broom every chance you get.
  • Respect your tools. Don't drop them on the floor, in the dirt or throw anything.
  • Roll up my extension cords properly. 
  • Use the appropriate tool for the job. Especially pritchels, punches and hammers. Please use the round face of the hammer for hitting my punches.  
  • If you break/bend/tear up something, don't hide it, be honest. We've all broken things. 

Interacting with Clients

  • Treat everyone's horse like it's the best horse ever. Tell them it's the best horse ever.
  • Don't engage in political debates or visit with clients above an idle chatter. (If their horse is a dink, don't go and tell them it’s a dink!) 
  • Don't do work for the client so that she/he can get out of it — such asholding/catching horses.
  • Clients are clients. Cute family members of clients are still clients. Be polite, not flirtatious. 
  • Don't give the barn manager my good fly spray and allow her to go down the whole barn aisle at my expense. 
  • If a client/groom gets sideways with you, let me know — I'll go to bat for you. 
  • Don't try to call clients from my book and tell them I'm sick/hurt/out of town and try to steal my business.  I'll throw you plenty of good bones.


  • Check your personal drama at the door. If you need help with something, talk to me — chances are I've been through it and have the T-Shirt.
  • Ask appropriate questions at the appropriate times but don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • Be on time.  It's OK if I'm late, but I don't want to wait for you.  
  • Stay off your phone! 
  • Wear a shirt long enough that those around you don't see your butt crack. 
  • Look presentable and act professional. (Wear deodorant — plenty of it!) 
  • If you are going to call in sick/hurt, do it the day before so I can either adjust my schedule or find other help.  
  • If you don't know how to do something - ask. If you need help with something - ask! 
  • Clean up after yourself!
  • I pay a good, honest wage - I won't short you, please don't short me.
  • Work hard and don't complain.  It's hot, it's cold, there are flies. Let's just get this done.  
  • No smoking in or around my truck and if you dip (I dip Beech-Nut) don't go spitting everywhere. 
  • Treat your time with me like a trip to Vegas — what's said and done here, stays here! 

Don't buy things at the supply store for your own business and put it on my account without me present or knowing about it.