There may never be a better time to educate horse owners on the many benefits of effective footcare. That’s the advice offered by four farriers that can lead to more exposure for you in the equine community while boosting your professional image.

Stress Health Care

Scott McKendrick and a local veterinarian partner with Western wear and feed stores in putting on educational programs aimed at helping owners take better care of their horses.

“We’ve emphasized that proper hoof care, vaccinations, deworming and other items help keep the cost of horse care down compared to expensive problems resulting from improper care,” says the farrier and Utah State University extension educator from Logan, Utah.

“Proper trimming from birth through maturity can do more for their horses than all of the magical and expensive additives on the market.”

McKendrick has also offered low-cost owner clinics where owners are shown basic hoof trimming needs. “This doesn’t detract from my business as these people are not my customers,” he says. “After they try this work for themselves, they’re often better customers for me and other farriers. And they know what to look for in farrier work.”

To help clients cutting back on hoof care for economic reasons, Kim Kauranen set up a free farm call day at the local fairgrounds.

“They save my $65 farm call charge so hopefully they’ll be able to put the money toward better hoof care,” says the Elmira, Mich., farrier.

Go Over The Basics

Danny Ward maintains it’s essential to let owners know what you are doing with the footcare on their horses.

“Sometimes a lack of knowledge leads to problems,” says the operator of the Danny Ward Horseshoeing School in Martinsville, Va. “It’s a good idea to sit down and go over the basics.”

Ward suggests that new farriers get involved with local riding schools, saddle clubs, FFA and 4-H Club groups. “Offer to do a clinic for these groups, especially if you have slow times,” he says. “You don’t want to teach them to shoe horses, but you can show them how to pull a loose shoe, how to cut a nail off that might hurt a horse and how to wrap a foot until a farrier can get there.”

Ward says it’s critical to educate new horse owners. “We’re still shoeing for the grandkids of people I talked with many years ago in local clubs,” he says.

Follow The Money

Red Renchin was willing to trim and shoe for almost anyone when getting started. The farrier from Mequon, Wis., says this was a good way to gain experience and develop skills. When he looked at who was spending money on footcare, it was the folks who go to horse shows.

“By going to shows, I made contact with a whole different set of clients that had a lot more money,” he says. “I was able to set my prices higher and they were willing to pay for improved hoof care. My business quickly expanded.”

Could these ideas work for you?