The graduation ceremony is over. That unforgettable feeling of finishing the first horse without the instructor’s help is still fresh. The former strangers who became close friends during the long days of learning and practicing must now go their separate ways. It’s time to head into the real world of farriery. Where do you start?
The mindset with which you approach your journey into the world of hoof care can often be the difference between fulfillment or frustration with your chosen career.
Adoption of a successful mindset provides beginning farriers with the courage to try new things, learn from experiences and approach their chosen trade without being controlled by fear of the unknown. Let’s look at these ideas and how they can help you develop a successful, fulfilling career in hoof care.
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.
Six years ago, Wes Meyer was trimming and shoeing a lot of horses and making good money. Yet, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., farrier's practice wasn't doing as well as it should be. Meyer was chasing outstanding payments, his inventory was too high and his horses were losing shoes. He recognized the need for an improved way of doing business.
Being successful will mean different things to each person and the pictures of success will change as you go through different stages of life. Just as life has different stages, every small business will go through different stages of growth.
In an ideal and unrealistic world, horse owners would be model clients with mounts that had perfect conformation and feet. Rather, it’s necessary to ask questions and gain some knowledge about that horse and client before saying “yes.”
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.
To build loyal customers, look for opportunities to educate your clients about footcare. This proves important when encountering clients who question the amount they pay for footcare. Rather than getting defensive, I like to provide insight. Most clients have little understanding of what it costs us to shoe their horses.
The most common question farriers discuss is how much should they charge. The answer is never simple. Guidelines provided throughout this issue, especially those of Shelbyville, Ky., farrier Pat Broadus, show how complicated the formula can be.
Society’s general understanding of the law is often shaped by what we see on television or in movies. The storylines depicted typically start with a search for the truth and end with a sense of justice served. In the real world, the law is not nearly as black and white; much more often, it’s shades of gray.
As a self-employed farrier, enrolling in an employer-sponsored retirement plan isn’t an option. You’re on your own and you want to get serious about saving for retirement by opening a dedicated account, but where do you start?
Campbell, Texas, farrier and American Farriers Team member Sawyer Spradling demonstrates his approach to tuning a distorted pritchel to a punch, a skill that has served him well when he travels to clinics and competitions.
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From the feed room to the tack room, SmartPak offers innovative solutions to help riders take great care of their horses. SmartPak was founded in 1999 with the introduction of the patented SmartPak™ supplement feeding system. The revolutionary, daily dose SmartPaks are custom-made for your horse, individually labeled and sealed for freshness.