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Veterans in the farrier industry are very used to being scrutinized, talked about and compared by clients on a regular basis.
We are tagged as competent, reliable, personable (or not) as well as many other labels.
As businessmen, we should also scrutinize and make judgments about our clients. There is a definite scale of horse husbandry in the horse industry, from the luxury box stalls of our equine superstars to the lowly muddy lot of the horribly neglected. As hoof-care providers to this diverse group, we make a business decision as to what segment of this population we will provide our services to.
I categorize shoeing clients from the best to the worst in an A to E fashion. I have found that it works well for my business of shoeing hunters and jumpers to have a mix of A, B and C clients. Each has its own characteristics and its own pros and cons.
It is common in the early portion of young farriers’ careers for them to have to work for anyone willing to hire them. This usually includes what I call the E-list clients. This portion of the horse industry involves the horses and clients that the more established and experienced farriers don’t want.
The E list usually includes bad and dangerous horses, slow-pay and no-pay owners, poor working conditions and single-horse situations. However, if you can survive this test — not of fire, but of manure and blood — you gain valuable…