Just as hoof-care equipment and tools need maintenance, so does your body.

“We talk about buying good tools, but guess what we can’t buy? Another one of us,” Evansville, Wis., farrier Eddy Strommen told attendees at a Wisconsin Farrier’s Association clinic. “Our bodies are our number one tool. My nippers and hammers don’t run without me.”

As a farrier starting out in the business, a high volume of horses each day seems like a great way of making money quickly. Strommen remembers those days fondly; not because of the money but because he could do the work. Now, 2 decades into his career, his body doesn’t respond the same way.

“At some point, it’s going to catch up to you,” he says. “One recent morning, I was laying on the floor trying to stretch my back out to where I could stand up because I got hurt. Those mornings aren’t fun. Shoeing horses was fun. Now, it’s not so fun.”

Strommen suggests consulting with a fitness trainer to develop a routine to safely stretch and strengthen your body. He also implemented some creativity in his appointment schedule.

“Once the train is rolling, I can go all day,” Strommen says. “When I sit down and drive for 30 minutes, the back tightens up and I have to start the process all over again. When there are four or five stops, getting out of the truck is not fun. When there are two, I can get along fine.”

Consulting a digital map, Strommen decided that he would shoe for clients who were within a 20-mile box. When the location of the 20-mile box was determined, Strommen designed daily shoeing routes within that box to maximize his time on the road. He found that not only did it help his back, it also benefited his bottom line.

“I was able to put away some money in a savings account just because of that,” Strommen says. “I’m on the road less, which means less rig and vehicle maintenance, and less fuel consumption.”

Learn More