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Make no mistake about it, Rich Cleland is a man’s man. The central Florida farrier runs his shoeing business the only way he knows how — he works hard, does a good job, stays dependable to his clients, maintains a professional appearance and finishes up the day’s work as soon as possible so that he can jump on his pontoon boat, grab a beer or two and catch enough catfish for that night’s dinner.
And even though the farrier from DeBary, Fla., doesn’t always have time for his beloved fishing expeditions, it’s his consistent business philosophy that has earned him enough credibility to maintain a flourishing shoeing business that has grown solely via word-of-mouth advertising.
As I phone Cleland the night before meeting up with him to spend our “Shoeing For A Living” day together, the 51-year-old farrier warns me that this isn’t going to be one of those textbook days you often read about in this American Farriers Journal feature.
“I’m not one of those guys who counts seconds between nails or keeps track of the number of rasp strokes. And I don’t run a fancy business,” Cleland says. “I schedule six or seven clients a day, I do a good job and I finish up.
“And tomorrow we’ll be making even fewer stops than usual because I’m scheduled to spend the entire morning working on some horses at one of my biggest accounts, the Orlando Police Department’s Mounted Patrol.”
Excited at the opportunity to see how shoeing is…