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NIGEL KNOWS BUSINESS. California farrier Nigel Starkey focuses a good deal of his time on the business side of farriery to complement his shoeing skills.
The crowd gathers in a barn on a Saturday or Sunday morning in southern California. It’s a group of horse owners who are looking for answers to their hoof questions, who want to learn more about their horses’ feet or who are looking for a new shoer. But, no matter the reason, they’re all here to see one person — Nigel Starkey.
Starkey, a farrier from Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., with the permission of the barn manager, has conducted several short “clinics” at barns for horse owners. This allows several horse owners (he’s had low turnouts of 4 owners and high turnouts of 18) to show up, learn about horses’ feet and ask questions in an informal setting. Starkey also selects one of the horses in the barn that has the worst-looking feet and offers to shoe the horse for free at the clinic so the owners can see first-hand what he does.
“A common complaint I hear from horse owners is that their previous farrier didn’t answer their questions,” Starkey says in his crisp British accent. “This left them confused as to what the farrier was doing to their horse.
“I’m trying to open up a discussion between farriers and owners so we can learn from each other. If the owners have a question they want answered but don’t want to ask their own…