We all would rather do business with people that we know like, and trust. In the farrier industry, where both economic and emotional factors can come into play, it is essential to have that connection. I read various rider magazines and they often feature surveys that in general the horse owning public say a good personal relationship with their horse professional is more important than the skill of that person.

Maintaining that good personal relationship is something that needs constant nuturing. Do not take your clients and business associates for granted. It is important that you show that appreciation in a regular and tangible manner. With the holidays upon us and the year coming to a close, now is the perfect time to do this.

In the next few days, I urge you to contact your clients and let them know how much you appreciate their business. I prefer the personal touch, such as a handwritten note or a gift with an appropriate card. I don’t think an email does the trick. The best-received gift that I came up with was a handmade horseshoe wreath that was hung near the barn entrance. It was about 2 feet wide and decorated with bright red apples. Around the second week in December a common question was, “When is the wreath coming?” Just a little thing like that is priceless in public relations.

Like any relationship, your business relationships are bound to have some bumps in the road. A kind word or a small gift now can be like a smoothing road grader when those bumps are encountered. I like a quote from Hall Of Fame farrier Dave Farley, “You are investing in their minds.” When there is a problem, understanding and sympathy for you is their first emotion rather than anger. This is how you keep good clients.

Since retiring, I miss all of the fine people who I shod for over the years. Fortunately for me an old saying came true, “As one door closes, another one opens.” Since hanging up my apron I have met host of new friends who have made the transition interesting and very fun.

I would like to thank these many people who have given so generously of their time in helping me with my new career as a wordsmith. I especially would like to thank the entire staff at the American Farriers Journal for their support and guidance. They are a great crew.

From my house to yours, and to you and your loved ones, I wish you a happy holiday Season.