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Haul-In Farrier Practice Thrives in an Unlikely Place

Jake Stonefield’s practice provides a controlled work environment in rural South Dakota

Farrier Takeaways

  • Jake Stonefield’s haul-in practice enables him to control the work environment more effectively, as well as eliminates the headaches of travel and catching horses.
  • Gain clients’ trust by being transparent with shoeing costs, finding cost-effective alternatives that achieve the same goals and compromising with the hoof-care team when it doesn’t harm the horse.
  • Take the extra time to replace a shoe when you miss the fit. Leaving it on demonstrates a lack of respect for the client and reflects poorly on you.

Conventional wisdom suggests farriers must travel to their hoof-care clients if they want to stay in business. After all, what motivation do clients have to surrender the convenience of their shoer arriving at their barn to perform a valuable service?

Once upon a time, Jake Stonefield counted himself among the skeptics. He knew his buddy Allan Voeller was thriving with a haul-in practice, but that’s in Bismarck, N.D. The state capitol has a healthy 74,429 population within its city limits, and that doesn’t include the surrounding suburbs and rural residences. Meanwhile, there are more cattle in the neighboring pasture than the 107 souls who join Stonefield in calling Brandt, S.D., home.

“A haul-in practice can’t work for me,” he recalls telling Voeller. “There’s no way.”

Make no mistake, Stonefield was busy. He was putting in 16-hour days — 6 hours of which were spent behind the wheel driving 200 miles a day — shoeing up to 10 horses daily.

“I was stressed out because of the…

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Cota

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the Lead Content Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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