If you could offer one piece of advice to other farriers on a single way to improve their practice, what would it be? This can cover any aspect of being a farrier.
Re Carrie Carpenter's post: Understand when a horse is acting up from pain, versus being out of his "comfort zone". Many times I've found fractious horses to be completely manageable once I figured out where they're happy being shod.
Treat every horse and every human as an individual. Educate your clients. Be very conscience of your trim and understand how the foot functions and balance it to the individual horse and it's conformation. The right shoe is very important as well, but without the right trim the shoe will not help. Be professional, don't be afraid to let bad clients go, show up on time. Never stop learning, attend as many clinics as possible, know when to call in a more experienced farrier when it's over your head and have an open mind.
One thing any farrier can do at any stage in his career to improve is to get with other farriers who are better than him or herself. One way to do this is thru your local afa chapter or simply picking up the phone and calling someone. Most top guys are more than willing to let someone rude with them. Remember all of started out in the same place.
If a horse is misbehaving, ask yourself if you are hurting it. I see to many farriers grab a leg, crank it into what ever position is comfortable for the farrier, and the horse starts hopping around. Try, holding it lower, closer to the horses body, etc. this is especially true with older horses. The first farrier I apprenticed under drilled this in my head twenty years ago, and I'm glad he did.
The one piece of advice I would Pass on to young farriers. Work on improving your people skills, shoers provide a service to their clients and need to work through problems with good people skills.At IHCS I listened to many young farriers complain about problem clients and vets,to make a career shoing horses you have to deal with people. The easy part of this business is shoing the horse.
The best piece of advice I can give is to educate yourself. Work towards certifications, go to continuing education clinics, ride with more experienced farriers. All of these will help you improve. You can never be too inelegant. I like to say that you can never stop learning. The day you stop striving to get better is the day someone else passes you by.
—Paul Skaggs CF
Return calls promptly in this faster moving world if you don't answer or return calls quickly there is a good chance they will call someone else
A lot of owners and new horses owners need to be educated about what you are doing with there horse,talk with them ask what the horse is doing right or wrong so there for you can correct it .BY doing this the trust between you and the owner will grow and your refferals will also.Always remember to be a professional and do the job you were hired to do.
—Steve,South Tx farrier service
One of the toughest lessons I had to learn was CORRECT SHOE SIZING! From experience, I know that many shoers with 30-40 years experience still haven't figured this out. Every one of them will fight to the death, insisting his undersize shoes are correct, but I can almost always prove otherwise.
The above are all very good suggestions, but mine would be...DON'T LET EMOTIONS ENTER INTO YOUR BILLING PROCESS...know what your charge for each application, including extra accessories, add them up on paper and bill accordingly...Good Luck
Educate and share information with clients. Tell them what is going on with their horses hooves so they can treat accordingly if required and be preventative.
Like Patrick Swayze said in Roadhouse. "Be nice!" It's not personal. It's a job that we do. The horse is probably not saying " how can I be a pain or make this farrier miserable ". Understand the animal you are working on and be nice, as difficult as that " beast" is making it, be nice and a good horse person.
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