I have purchased boots from the manufacturers, but I’m no longer dealing with any kind of boot because I was losing money. You can’t charge more than the buyer can pay in the store and the discounts as a dealer are not great — plus then you are responsible for the follow up questions and answers and the buyer expects to be able to trade up used boots that don’t end up working out.
Easy Care and Renegade have it great with their dealers because the responsibility and customer service is passed off to them. Easy Care actually expects their dealers to follow their 30-day money back guarantee and won’t reimburse the dealer for the difference.
I was told to mark up the boot appropriately to cover this risk. That’s baloney because my boots would be too overpriced. As it is I have one or two folks who don’t mind me fitting their horse and waiting to find a sale somewhere else. I even ordered a pair once and the owner asked if I’d meet a sale price she found, which would require me to lose money.
So all I’m doing now is taking the time to fit boots and the buyer can buy them from somewhere else. I don’t charge for this service as I only do it for my current clients and it doesn’t take long.
—Jessica Goonan, Goffstown, N.H.
I let my customers provide the boots.
—Laurie Tonita, Saskatoon, Sask.
I used to keep a small inventory but because of the different styles, models and pricing, I no longer have an inventory. I do have a dealership through Easy Care and will special order boots based on the size and product the owner is interested in.
I help owners measure the hooves if they want to try a product that I don’t carry and then help the owner fit the boots for the first time.
—Diane Saunders, Bristol, Vt.
Boots cost too much money to keep in inventory. I have the customer buy their boots. Once I know what they bought, I will carry the adaptive products and the repair products. We have a great tack shop in the area. I let them know what boots I will be recommending and let them carry the inventory. I do carry a few soaker boots and therapy boots for weekend emergencies so a horse is not in pain through a weekend.
—Cheryl Swayne, Meriden, Kan.
I buy them from my farrier supply store.
—Walter Varcoe, Port Jarvis, N.Y.
I don’t stock them, as three or four tack shops in my area usually carry all the various sizes in inventory.
I have a dealership account with Easy Care. So far they have carried a wide enough variety of sizes to suit the various situations I’ve run into. I have bins in my truck with dividers to separate the sizes. I carry a full stock of all sizes in Gloves, Glue-ons, Epics, and Rx, plus the most common sizes in Grips and Easyboots.
—Pete Ramey, Lakemont, Ga.
I let my customers buy the boots. I am willing to advise, but the burden of cost and success is theirs, not mine. I can’t afford to offer refunds and free service to maintain hoof boots manufactured by someone else. I would rather service and maintain my own shoes and trims. In Hawaii, everything is via mail order.
—Gretchen Cardoso, Makawao, Hawaii
Due to several types and sizes of boots, it is not feasible to carry them in the truck. I either order for them or they can head down to the nearest tack store to purchase boots on their own.
—Esco Buff, Webster, N.Y.
I order boots only when necessary, especially in my part of the world with only about a 3,500 equine population.
—Dr. Balakrishna Polanaidoo
I have the customer buy the boots.
—Dr. Karl Shewmake, Stevens Point, Wis.
From U.S. suppliers. I also buy used boots and repair them for resale. Easyboots go on forever and the parts are easy to fit. When customers only want boots for the winter months when they want to pull their shoes but still do the odd trail ride, they don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on new hoof boots.
—Cole Henderson, Victoria, British Columbia
I don’t buy them and let the client do that. I suggest where they can to get them. I have enough inventory of shoes without worrying about carrying boots.
—Conor McCarthy, Versailles, Ky.
I do not stock boots for the following reasons: With such a large size variation and the cost per pair, it would represent too large of an investment in additional inventory. Clients can purchase boots from my supplier or any of a number of tack shops and have them the next day. This way the horses will have the correct fit as these suppliers buy in bulk and carry all sizes.
Beyond selling my services including shoes, pads, winter studs, etc. I don’t want to be in the business of selling boots, hoof supplements, hoof hardeners, etc. this is just my way of doing business.
—Phil Gendron, Plymouth, Mass.
I buy boots for clients at my local farrier supply shop.
We purchase them direct from the company as needed. We have a pair of size 3 “loaners” that clients can use on a temporary basis to help their horse.
I buy from a large distributor and retail the boots.
—Shane A. Westman, Skagit Valley, Wash.
We maintain a supply of boots in our store, Harry Patton Horseshoeing Supplies, and DeLeonardo Farrier Service buys boots from the store.
—Mike DeLeonardo, Salinas, Calif.
All boots are customer purchased. I measure the feet and they order the boots.
—Dean Moshier, Ostrander, Ohio
My clients purchase their own boots.
—Shawn Pepper, Yorba Linda, Calif.
I get the Delta Boots through Ken Davis and Sons. I try to have all sizes to try on the horses to get a good fit.
—Trudy Uldrich, Blue Creek, Ohio