I remember when one of the local colleges offered an eight week course for folks that wanted to be a farrier. Over time I had a few clients who told me,”Well this will be the last time you will have to shoe ole Dobbin.” Me: “Oh yeah. You selling him?” They would go on to tell me that they had signed up for the 8 week course at the college and they would be doing their own shoeing. Out of 6 clients that signed up for the class I only had one client shoe all four feet of his horse. He then hired me back, said he had enough.
Then there are the ones that sit there and watch you as you work and they tell you, I think I can do that. Looks pretty easy. Then there is that age old question, ever get kicked? Really?
Then there are the bargain hunters. They have no loyalty to their farrier. They are just looking to get the cheapest price they can. I remember one time while fueling my truck a guy hollers over at me and says, how much. I said $2.55 a gallon. He said no, how much? I said, well it will probably hold around 30 gallons today. He immediately says, NOOOO! How much do you charge to shoe horses. I said, do you have a farrier now? He said yes but I thought you might be cheaper at which I immediately replied, you couldn’t afford me. Yep, they are loyal to the end.
Then you have the internet farrier. Yep you read it right. This is the group that cruises the internet to learn everything they can find concerning ” How to Shoe Your Horse”. So while you are shoeing their horse they are standing looking over your shoulder telling you what you are doing wrong. I mean geeze, these guys are pros. They learned from that all important school “Lame Horses or Us.”
Then you have the farrier that if someone doesn’t agree with your assessment of his/her shoe job they swell up like a little bantee rooster and get their feelings hurt. Bring a horse into a room of 4 farriers and you will get 10 different ways to shoe the horse. The lovely world of horseshoeing. Also be prepared to be told you charge too much.
Then there are the great things you get to experience. I remember one such time. I was on the back end of the horse with its back leg over mine when all of a sudden the horse made a gut sound that sounded like a freight train roaring down the track. I just got out of my mouth, well he shouldn’t colic any time soon, when all at once its tail went up and yep, liquid road apples come out of the back end like it was coming out of a power washer. Before I could get out of the way it hit me on the side of the head and my back and…..never mind just trust me it was a mess.
Seriously though, I am proud of my trade. I am a firm believer in continued education. It is hard work and you have to be well disciplined. It is too easy to get up in the morning and say, I think I will call in sick today. You have to be a business man and be able to deal with the public.
I am semi-retired now. I still have around 40 head of horses on my books. I am thankful for all those who helped me better myself. Dr. Don Walsh, Dr. Amy Rucker, Dr. Joanne Kramer, Kelly Case, Bob Schantz, Dr. Thomas Loafman to just name a few. If you decide to walk the path of a farrier I urge you to seek out continued education through clinics. Bob Schantz, owner of Spanish Lake Blacksmith Shop, along with Homestead Veterinary Hospital, Dr Kramer and Dr Rucker have some great workshops during the winter months. Be sure to check them out.
Thanks for reading my blog. I deeply appreciate it. If you are considering a career shoeing horses I wish you well. It is hard work but take pride in yourself and your work and it can be a real rewarding experience. Spread the love!