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When making a lower-limb-lameness examination, Rick Mitchell follows a specific plan that’s likely similar to ones used by most farriers. The equine vet at Fairfield Equine in Newtown, Conn., starts by observing the horse in its stall for sources of discomfort and then watches it walk on different footings.
Mitchell also evaluates the horse’s body symmetry, musculature and posture while making a thorough and complete exam. This includes palpation and passive flexing of joints to check for the horse’s normal range of motion and holding a joint in flexion for a minute before having the horse jog off. He also likes to watch the horse trot and walk while being worked in straight lines, circles and figure 8s.
Buck O’Neil maintains many farriers decide what to charge for shoes or trims based on what other area farriers are charging and what they believe the market in their area will bear. While these factors certainly need to be considered, the farrier from Horse Shoe, N.C., says it’s critical to draw up a business plan based on how much you need to support yourself and your family.
“Good records and the ability to summarize and analyze them are the critical keys to managing your farrier business,” he says. “It’s important to keep good records and fully understand the costs and expenses you have in operating your business.”
Researchers at the University of…