Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.
Throughout the past 9 months, COVID-19 has negatively affected society. Regardless of how you align politically, this is undeniable. Obviously, there are the lost lives and diminished health cases. There are lost businesses that will never come back.
Even with new products filling supply shop shelves every year and initiatives in farrier-based scientific research, the farrier industry isn’t one for swift and universal change. Lexi Barron says insurance is somewhat similar. The Snohomish, Wash., attorney and insurance broker notes that the insurance industry can be old fashioned. But old-fashioned doesn’t mean that impactful changes don’t occur.
About 20 years ago, Jessica McGrane wanted to begin a career as a farrier. She asked West Chester, Pa., farrier Dave Werkiser if she could learn the trade from him. Werkiser admits that he was at first hesitant, having had some previous helpers join his practice, but leave just when they became useful.
To say there is a subject in which farrier opinions differ doesn’t make much of a story. Instead, sharing the farriers’ experiences on the topic and allowing the audience to come to their own conclusion that best fits their practices.
Several months ago, I had dinner with a group of farriers in Texas. We learned another farrier couldn’t join us because he was working late because his helper didn’t show up, leaving him alone to shoe that day’s horses.
By the nature of the business, farriery is a dangerous job in which your fate can change without warning. Even the most skillful horseperson is one horse away from loss of career or worse. Beyond the horse, factor in the equipment carried on a shoeing rig and used on a daily basis.
There are differences in how every farrier approaches his or her business. Still, the most common and effective way to manage the finances of a farrier business remains knowing what it costs to shoe a horse.
Most of the United States began their late spring figuring out how to return to some normalcy from the measures taken to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19. While businesses in some states were reopening under guidelines on providing an environment that would limit the spread of the virus, others were less certain.
British farrier Wayne Preece has worked as the resident farrier at a veterinary hospital, taught those aspiring to become farriers and conducted research to benefit our understanding of footcare. Reflecting on his 35 years in the trade, he simplifies his resume.
Illinois farrier Vern Powell shares the benefits of looking at feet in terms of steel length instead of a standard factory shoe sizes. It could give you a leg up in a forging competition or when sitting for an examination.
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