Took on more horses than I could shoe properly. Once I started to lose clients through my mistakes created by hurrying I cut back to shoeing less horses per day.
I took on a large account that forced me to place all my efforts into one place. When that customer asked for discounts and I didn't grant their wish it cost me fifty percent of my total customer base which really took a long time to rebound from.
Not being open enough to listen and consider the opinion of owners, trainers and especially vets. It took me almost 20 years to try someone's opinion or method, even if I knew it wouldn't work, then fix it if needed.
By not seeking out credible farrier science education, I spent a long time learning what would have taken me 2 to 4 years learning with some real focus and discipline. I am referring to the basic knowledge required for CF and CJF levels. As we know this trade requires a "life time" of learning. The basics are hard to do without.
Making my life centered around shoeing horses. Yes, it is very important to do your best by the horse but you will miss out on so much if you only live for the job. Get active, find a hobby that you love. Do not get to the point that you only look forward to television and other distractions.
—Elizabeth J. Decker
Three Fold -
1) Thinking I knew how to shoe when I started - I could level the foot and stick a shoe on but... When I think about the horses I do now and compare them to the horses I did when I started, my shoeings have evolved along with my knowledge, just don't be scared to experiment - preferably not on your best client's horse (see second point)
2) Fire your 2-3 worst client every couple of years but tell them. This elevates your client list, educates the horse owner, and makes them better for the next farrier. These are the check bouncers, bad horses, those who make you late for your good clients, etc., etc.
3) Thinking that other professional farriers are your competition. They are not, good farriers all have our own clientele and more than likely too many to do. Most professional farriers will teach you the ropes of the area, tell you who to avoid and maybe give you some work that they can't do (or their#2s). But be humble and go ride with the best in your area and who knows you may make a friend.
Share your thoughts in the comments section below...