Molding Better Backyard Horse Clients

Communication and motivating owners are keys to managing hoof care

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.

Take A Stand

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.

Farrier Takeaways

Grading clients can motivate them to train their horses to stand better for you.

Demonstrating the procedure the horse needs and the consequences of…

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Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the Lead Content Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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