A baker’s dozen of clinicians imparted a wealth of knowledge and information to attendees at the American Association of Professional Farriers Hoofcare Essentials Clinic on Saturday at Life Data Labs in Cherokee, Ala.
In a wide-ranging clinic that included presentations on such topics as running a multifarrier practice, quarter crack repair, business improvement tips, flip flop pad benefits, as well as product knowledge.
The clinicians were Roy Bloom of Drummond, Wis.; Pat Broadus and Matt Spoerlein of Broadline Farrier Solutions; Brent Brown of Newport, Maine; Curtis Burns of Wellington, Fla.; Tim Cable of Blasdell, N.Y.; Gene Cunningham of Razerhorse; Dave Farley of Coshocton, Ohio; James Gilchrist of Wellington, Fla.; Mike Hayward of San Martin, Calif.; Cathy Lesperance of Fergus, Ontario; Steve Prescott of Raleigh, N.C.; Shane Westman of Bow, Wash.; and Adam Wynbrandt of Sacramento, Calif.
Burns discussed a number of considerations when farriers are faced with a quarter crack including the difficulty of dealing with horse owners that are inexperienced with hoof cracks. In one instance, he was brought into a case in which the owners were pretty much going to give the horse away a horse.
“I patched the horse up, no big deal,” he recalls. “I asked them how long it had the crack. They said, ‘Well, he had it when we bought him 2 years ago. I asked why they didn’t do anything about it. They said, ‘It never bothered him. I don’t think it bothers him now.’ Later that year, the horse won a $1 million grand prix.
“It just goes to show you, you’ve got to realize these things are actually hindering these horses’ careers more than you realize. They might not look like they’re limping on them, but they could be holding back a little bit protecting themselves.”
Business Improvement Tips
Westman presented 50 (or so) tips to improve your business.
“It’s always important to remember what professionalism is and being an expert in your field,” he says. “You need to carry yourself as a professional. You sell yourself every day and you sell your knowledge.”
Westman strongly encourages farriers to establish goals for your practice and write them down.
“Your goals should be clearly defined and attainable,” he says. “Your goals help you when making choices and keep your business plan on track.”
Out of all of the tips Westman shared, though, he strongly emphasized the need for an emergency savings account.
“You need it now,” he says. “This is not a vacation fund. This is money set aside when your truck breaks down or anything happens that is going to take you out of work for a period of time.”
Although many experts suggest saving 3 to 6 months of expenses, Westman suggests a year because of the likelihood for long-term injury that a farrier faces.
Setting Your Business Apart
When thinking about your practice, what sets it apart from others in your area? That’s one of the questions that Hayward considers when trying to improve his business.
“It’s important to ask, where do others fall short?” he says.
The most important way to set yourself apart is simply your work.
“The foot that you put on the floor,” Hayward says, “is the best business card you will ever have.”
The British farrier, who runs a multifarrier practice in Northern California, is a big proponent of creating a brand. His logo is the Union Jack in the silhouette of an anvil, and all in his practice wear shirts with the logo and his name prominently displayed on them.
“People recognize that brand and remember it,” he says. “My name is on the back of my shirts so if someone approaches us, they already know my name and who to ask for.”
Adamsville, Ala., farrier Chris Turner wanted to honor the late Red Renchin, an International Horseshoeing Hall Of Famer and American Farriers Journal technical editor. Knowing that Renchin, who passed away Aug. 29, had boundless enthusiasm for continuing education and often sat right in the front row at countless clinics, Turner decided to save him a seat. He wrote a sign that read, “In Memory Of Red Renchin,” and placed it on a chair, front and center.
“It was truly my honor for such a great farrier,” Turner says.
A number of speakers either mentioned Renchin during their lectures, included photos of him in their presentation, or often did both.
“The reason we loved Red was because he was so generous with his time and knowledge,” Burns says. “He was a great farrier and he always wanted to learn more.”