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I work primarily with Morgans, American Saddlebreds and Hackney ponies. These horses require a significant time commitment from me. In my practice, working on seven or eight horses a day is tough for a one-farrier operation. Instead, I usually do about four horses a day.
It isn’t just getting to the barn or shoeing the horses. I put in time to watch the horses work, often before and after I shoe them. After you watch them work, you then need to have a conversation with the trainer. By doing the actual work with the horse and factoring in those conversations, it can be 2 hours of time tied up per horse. Realistically, it is a minimum 1½ hours and upwards of 2½ hours if you needed to make new shoes, double nail, toe clips and so on.
Finishing work also is an important part for me. I sand the feet before I nail on a shoe. After I clinch them, I re-sand the foot lightly to blend my pads. This alone is time consuming. At 2 to 4 minutes per foot, per horse, I’m likely looking at around 10 to 15 minutes for my prep and finish work. At four horses per day, that could be an hour.
Do I need to do it? Absolutely not. But I do…