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One of the stone cold, lead pipe locks in the industry is that the overwhelming majority of farriers work on backyard horses.
Only 8% of all farriers do not have a single backyard horse client, according to American Farriers Journal’s 2016 Farrier Business Practices Survey. That percentage has not moved appreciably in 14 years. It’s a safe bet that the needle won’t move in the foreseeable future.
There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to providing hoof care to backyard horses. Yet, getting owners to buy into their role in the footcare process ranks among the biggest frustrations for a farrier. A number of farriers offer their insights in getting clients involved in the management of their horses.
Getting owners to train their horses to stand for a farrier is one of the most important aspects of footcare. Madras, Ore., farrier Tobias Ellis motivates his clients by giving them grades.
“As a farrier, you want the horses to improve so you can work on them safely,” he says. “You also want the owners to work with them. I decided that by giving them a grade, it gives the horse owner and me a way to see whether they’re improving.”
Ellis grades his clients and their horses much the same way that teachers graded students — an A- through F-system.
Grading clients can motivate them to train their horses to stand better for you.
Demonstrating the procedure the horse needs and the consequences of…