As a farrier, you’re considered the hoof-care expert by your clients. That also means they look to you to teach them at least a little bit about hoof care. This makes sense in many ways.
Sharing your knowledge of hoof care with your clients gives you an opportunity to stress the benefits of regular appointments, teaching horses to stand for the farrier and periodically picking out and cleaning hooves. It also helps establish you as the “go-to” source on the subject and makes it less likely that a client will fall for the next shoeing fad or hoof-care guru they encounter in a barn or on the Internet.
Most importantly, sharing your knowledge about the hoof will result in better hoof care for the horse — which should be the ultimate goal to begin with.
In the field, we’ve found many farriers who take the job of educating horse owners very seriously.
Popular methods include:
- Using hoof and limb models.
- Carrying dry erase boards and colored markers for drawing hoof diagrams (some farriers have even mounted one of these on the wall or door of a shoeing trailer or rig.
- Using felt markers to actually draw on the hoof and sole.
- Carrying textbooks, particularly those that include detailed anatomical charts. Anatomical charts as well as charts that explain the trimming and shoeing process are available through a number of suppliers.
- Videos and digital photographs that can be easily played back or displayed on a laptop computer. Digital photos stored on a laptop are also useful for showing a client “before” and “after” views to illustrate the progress a particular trim or treatment is having on a horse.