Farriers who are just starting out often run into a kind of Catch-22. They hear their mentors saying that investing in high quality tools will enable them to do better hoof-care work. They’re also told that better tools will actually cost less in the long run, as they will have a longer life, if properly maintained, than less expensive ones.
That sounds great — but many novices says it’s tough to lay out the money for quality tools when you’re struggling to establish yourself and those tools might cost more than you bill in a week.
During the 2011 International Hoof-Care Summit, a pair of speakers offered some direction for dealing with this dilemma.
Dan Bradley, a farrier from Lucedale, Miss., who is also a clinician for G.E. Forge and Tool, suggests that if you are serious about horseshoeing as a profession, you establish a budget to invest in high quality tools. Decide an amount you’ll invest in better tools each year. At the same time, set up a schedule for your purchases, deciding what tools you will invest in each year, or every 6 months.
And where should you start?
Chris Gregory, owner of the Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo., in an aside during a talk on how to better use hoof nippers, suggested new farriers make their initial investments in tools that will be used the most.
“A high quality pair of hoof nippers can last you for years if you properly maintain them,” says the member of the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame. “And you are going to use nippers a lot. Your nippers, clinchers, hammers and tongs are going to get used a lot. If possible, those are the tools you don’t want to scrimp on.”
There will be more on tool and product use in the April American Farriers Journal, the annual “Shoeing Showcase, Farrier Product and How-To Issue,” which subscribers will be receiving soon.