By Doug Anderson

A farrier from Tennessee recent asked AFJ, "I’d like some advice regarding tool use and maintenance that will provide the most 'bang for the buck.' In other words, what will pay off the most, both in cost savings, as well as wear and tear on my body?"

As I thought about this question, the “bang for the buck” part stuck out. The one tool that needs constant work on keeping it up and running in good order is my mind. 

Our profession is ever-changing and growing and if you want to be prosperous in it, you must grow and evolve with it. That means continuing education. We all may think a little differently on this subject, but we all need to continue to learn.

The worst thing that I’ve ever heard a farrier say was, “I’m not going to go to the clinic (or conference). I have to stay home and do real work that I get paid for.”

I was stunned!  I am so grateful that the men who taught me to shoe also taught me that I have something to learn from everyone. “Everyone has something to teach you — good or bad,” is sage advice from good men.

Taking the time to go to a local clinic or an international conference is always high on my priority list and well worth the expense. I get so much more than learning anatomy or how to do this protocol or that one.  I get to spend time with the most talented people in my business and they all take time for me — a priceless benefit.  

The conversations at these events run from soup to nuts and always come back to some aspect of being a successful farrier. The old adage of being my own worst critic has never been more important to my business and me. It is what brings me back to the basics and fundamentals. 

It goes without saying that maintaining the tools that we make our living with is paramount, and keeping tools with joints well-oiled, tools with edges sharp and vehicles properly maintained is very important. But for me, I cannot forget to sharpen and oil the tool between my ears.

You can read more tips on this subject in the April 12103 issue of American Farreirs Journal.

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