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Shoeing is a rewarding business but it can take its toll on you. In a 51-year horseshoeing career, I’ve seen a lot of change and progress. I’ve also made some observations that were able to make my work easier, provide better services to horses and customers and make more money for my shoeing business. In addition to continuing to develop our knowledge and skills on the technical side of horseshoeing, there’s a lot that we can learn about performing our jobs with less physical labor and time.
For instance, the system I’ve come to rely on for trimming and fitting shoes has saved me about 15 minutes per horse. It’s pretty easy to calculate how many more horses you can shoe in a week with this kind of time savings. Or, it means time off to do other things.
It’s good to question what you do and why you use a certain method. Just because that’s the way it was taught in school or because that’s the way Uncle Joe did it doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Look for the simpler, easier, better way of doing things. If you can better manage your time and energy, you can make more money and have a longer, healthier shoeing career than if you wear yourself out early.
I recently watched a top-rate horseshoer drive nails and then immediately bend them over. I asked why he didn’t just twist them off and be done with it. “That’s the way they…