Changes are Coming to the Hoof Care Industry: Are you Getting Ready?

Veteran farrier Gerard Laverty outlines some of the challenges he thinks farriers will face in the not-too-distant future.

Gerard Laverty, who teaches farriery at Kwantlen Polytechnical University in Surrey, British Columbia, says the recent economic downtown is the first one he’s seen that will have a major effect on the horse and hoof-care business since he came to North American from his native Northern Ireland in 1981.

And he points out that it’s not as if he arrived in some economic mecca at that time. He first went to work in the Pittsburgh, Pa., area, that was still in the grips of economic turmoil caused by the collapse of the U.S. steel industry.

“Pittsburgh was depressed, but the horse industry in Pittsburgh was still doing well,” he told attendees at the awards banquet of the Colorado Classic in Loveland, Colo., in early June.

That downturn, which he traces to 2008, led the veteran shoer to take a long hard look at the future of hoof care. He still sees it as a viable and rewarding career, but he also believes that there are challenges ahead.

He told his audience, which consisted largely of young farriers who will be shoeing and living through those challenges, that it is those who plan and prepare for those challenges who will have the best chance to thrive.

“I tell my students that they need to be looking down the road and tying to figure out where things are going, because they are not going to be in the same place they are now in 15 to 20 years,” he says.

Laverty has…

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Pat_tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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