To get ahead in the farrier business, nothing is more critical than continuing to expand your shoeing knowledge. Whether you attend local clinics, take in a national conference, ride with an experienced shoer or learn from the pages of American Farriers Journal, you need to do everything that you can to get ahead.

This means finding new ways to improve your shoeing work, make work easier and get more efficient without sacrificing your shoeing quality.

One problem says Jim Poor, a veteran farrier and clinician from Midland, Texas, is that too many farriers think they can teach themselves new shoeing skills. Unfortunately, this keeps them from attending clinics to learn new skills.

On the other hand, Brent Brown is always eager to learn even more skills that can help him shoe better.

“From September to March, my shoeing business slows down a little,” the Gorham, Maine, farrier said during the December American Association of Equine Practitioners meeting. “During this period, I’ll take in every shoeing and lameness event that I can to further my education. It’s the best dollars I spend.”

Featuring the best farrier clinicians in the country or top-notch local shoeing talents, these clinics and conferences are a valuable educational experience for shoers at every level.

Does It Pay To Go?

Results from the latest American Farriers Journal “Farrier Business Practices Survey” indicate that it is definitely worth your while to attend clinics.

Full-time farriers who attended one or more clinics last year averaged $7,913.83 in additional gross income compared to shoers who didn’t attend any clinics. For part-time shoers, the difference was even higher, with an average of $8,082.63 more gross income.

On a national level, attending events such as the Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium, the American Farrier’s Association (AFA) annual convention, the Farrier Focus Conference, the AAEP meeting or other lameness and shoeing events are solid investments in the the future of your shoeing business. At these events, you’ll learn the latest ideas on many aspects of the farrier business.

One valuable farrier learning experience coming up later this winter in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the 32nd annual AFA convention. Featuring a number of speakers and the Farrier Industry Association-sponsored trade show that highlights the latest tools and supplies, the dates are Feb. 26 to March 1.

If you head to Salt Lake City, be sure to stop and talk with the American Farriers Journal staff in the hallways, at the meetings or the trade show. We want to hear what you think about everything that’s going on in your industry.

Soak Up Farrier History, Too

If you’re driving to Salt Lake, consider stopping at the National Museum Of Horse Shoeing Tools & Hall Of Honor in Sulphur, Okla. Developed by veteran shoer Lee Liles, it’s the most extraordinary farrier museum that you’ll find anywhere. It’s well worth your time to study the unique exhibits that make up the history of horseshoeing.