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For about 20 years, I have worked at busy 3-day eventing, endurance, dressage and driving barns. These barns range in size from a half-dozen to 3 dozen horses. Over the years, I’ve developed a strategy for managing show barns that fits most disciplines, regardless of size.
The most crucial part of managing show barns is scheduling — how to stay ahead of them. This requires the farrier to identify and understand the performance window of each horse.
Once I’ve discussed this, then it is important to also address other issues related to managing the schedule of the horses, including when lameness comes up.
For me, maintaining the schedule for each horse is just as important as shoe selection. As such, when I first establish a relationship with a new barn, I explain what I can do for its horses. Part of that involves reviewing my policy for scheduling.
I will impress upon them how important this is in relation to keeping the horse working at its peak level. When I trim or shoe a horse to move its best or address a lameness, the horse begins to grow away from the trim or package that I applied the next day. Therefore, any progress made with whatever shoeing package put on a horse can be negated by a shoeing cycle that goes too long.
Managing the show horse’s schedule is first accomplished by providing clients with an understanding of your expectations.
Staying in charge of the…