There is an article in the November issue of Horse & Rider magazine that may provide some help for farriers. The article looks at some core areas of horse ownership in which corners are cut to save money. In footcare, the author presents a scenario in which a competent farrier advises the owner to keep the horse on a 4-week shoeing cycle to address a concern. The owner goes against this advice and opts for an 8- to 9-week cycle, resulting in saving half off what would have been paid in a year for hoof care. The alternative also is presented in which the footcare goes south and the hoof health deteriorates. The longterm costs of veterinarian work and rehabilitation far outweigh the price of the advised hoof care.

This scenario and the two alternatives are no surprise to farriers. Especially in the economic downturn, more owners gamble with the health of the horse to save money. It is more likely 8-week schedules are stretched much further — possibly not even scheduling the farrier at all. The reasons are apparent. Horse ownership is expensive, and owners often look for ways to lower those costs. Often footcare is the first area to be considered to save money — even before sacrificing those new pairs of riding boots.

This may be a good article to pass along to that novice horse owner who might be thinking about saving some bucks or might be looking for discounts from a farrier to subsidize horse ownership. The goal should be to tip the owner that dodging hoof care is an unwise gamble. Otherwise, the stakes could be much higher than the client expects.