Farriers Roundtable

With lower-income backyard horse owners, how do you balance recommended therapeutic shoeing in cases of lameness with the reality of what they are willing to pay for your services?

Q. With lower-income backyard horse owners, how do you balance recommended therapeutic hoeing in cases of lameness with the reality of what they are willing to pay for your services

A: Many years ago, a farrier friend of mine had just finished shoeing several horses and a pony for a client and was waiting for his check. The woman said, “You’re not going to charge me the same for the pony are you?” Without hesitation or a smile my friend said, “Well yes ma’am, it wouldn’t seem right to charge you more.”

I have been asked to discount my services more in the past 2 years than in the past 20. The thing I have to constantly tell myself is that owning a horse is a luxury, not a necessity.

Early in my career, I learned a hard lesson doing a favor for a friend. I had known this family most of my life. They had seven or eight horses and constantly complained about how broke they were. They asked me, as a friend, for a price break on my farrier services. I complied, but the more I gave the more they expected.

Eventually they bragged to their friends — who were also my clients — about the great deals they were getting. You can imagine how my other clients reacted. 

When I picked my head up and looked around, I noticed that these people had many horses while I had one. They had a six-horse living-quarter trailer; I had…

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