I Owe You How Much? The Cost Of Shoeing Horses

by | 08.23.2017 | 6:05pm

Your farrier finishes shoeing your horse and hands you a bill for the work. You look at the bill, muster a smile, and grab your checkbook even though you may be thinking, ‘A set of horseshoes costs about $15 and he spent less than an hour putting them on. Why is the bill so much?'

Pat Broadus, who cares for the feet of many elite stakes horses, has been tracking his business expenses for seven years to determine just how much it costs him to shoe a single horse. He compiled his total business expenses for each year and then divided them by the number of horses he cared for during that time. Broadus collaborated on the project with Danvers Child, a top dressage horse farrier, and they presented their findings at the recent Forge of July farriers clinic in Shelbyville, Ky.

Broadus emphasized to farriers that the line items on the list were expenses required for his specific business, so they have to look at their own expenses to judge if the prices they charge are enough to provide them adequate income.

Reality Check

Broadus said most people, even farriers, don't realize that an average farrier's career is limited to about 25 years before he or she is physically unable to do the job any longer. The first ten years is spent struggling to establish a good reputation and a good business, either by developing his own client base or apprenticing with a respected farrier before going out on his own.

“Once that happens, you have about a 15-year run where you can make good money and work for top clients and your body is good,” Broadus said. “Then after that 15-year run, you have a good name but your body starts failing. Danvers and I figured it out, and you have about a 15-year run to make about 60 percent of the money that you're going to earn in the lifetime of shoeing horses.

“But once they get to making the money, they don't put away money for retirement and they don't take care of themselves. Then, all of a sudden they look up and their bodies start failing them and they're in trouble.”

He said farriers don't take into consideration little things, such as using 75cents worth of fly spray on each horse, the cost of nails that are lost or bent when a horse stomps its foot, cell phone charges, paper towels, superglue, drill bits and other miscellaneous items. The cost of good public relations may not occur to him are business expenses. He gave this example:

“You're driving to a barn and you know a guy's been there working all day, and he's going to be there to help you. To make him happy, you stop and grab him a sandwich. That is truly a cost of doing business. And if you do that three times a week, now you are up to $20.”

Larger expenses include multiple forms of health and business insurance, maintaining an inventory of shoes on his truck, and purchase and maintenance of the truck and farrier rig, which is a considerable expense. Racetrack farriers' clients are centrally located at the track, but farm farriers must spend much of their time and money each day driving from farm to farm.

“They've worked themselves to death and they've driven all over, and they've spent $60 in fuel and another $20 in fuel for their propane tank, and they've only shod seven or eight horses,” he said.

Bottom Line 

Per Broadus' calculations, it costs him $114.20 to shoe a horse. This is strictly the expense involved. It doesn't include the cost of continuing education, retirement contributions, the value of his skill and labor, and the profit necessary to afford him a livable income. Broadus added that most business models recommend building a 30 percent profit into the client charge.

He said many farriers don't realize they aren't charging enough.

“They've earned all this money and they're charging what they think is a good price for shoeing horses, but at the end of the month they're out of money and there's still month left because they don't know what it truly costs for them to shoe a horse.

“I'm laying it out, and I'm not telling farriers this is what it costs them to shoe a horse. Don't take these numbers and say, ‘Ah, that's bull.' Be true to yourself—what you truly spend. I think you're going to be shocked.”

  • KErams

    I hope my farrier doesn’t read this. ;))

    • Larry Ensor

      lol, thanks for my morning chuckle

  • gus stewart

    I respect these guys its a tough and sometimes dangerous job. But when he uses 15 year timeframe of this tupe of work. What about other jobs construction drywallers, masonary work.. give me a break if you want to charge what u do fine just dont say only 15 years i can do this.. thosevother jobs i mentioned are tough and people still do them in thier 60s

    • Blue Larkspur

      Gus, if you have never been under 10 horses a day, you have NO IDEA how much effort is involved. The horses don’t just stand there, passive, waiting for you to do your work! They pull and lean on you and it is that kind of back and forth that wreaks HAVOC on the lower back. I can take you around and let you experience the job first hand … you really are clueless

      • Fred and Joan Booth

        We shod our own and our neighbors horses for over 25 years.Many of the conventional positions for farrier work are VERY hard on a farriers back.We stopped using most conventional positions early om. We spent many times kneeling instead of bending our back so much.Of course you have to trust the horse your working with and their often times unknowing owners too.We found it was best to have a slight breeze, man made or natural to provide comfort to all of us.Also it is important that the horse be fed and that there be a minimum of activity,commotion while working! We used to refuse to work for people who expected us to shoe their horses while they cleaned stalls or load up hay! Many stupid, no common sense horse owners out there sadly, in our experience.

        • Funny
          I thought I was the only one that kneeled to trim and file with the hoof resting on my knee, must be about the same age. Any one that complains about the price has not picked up and filed many feet. The nipers arnt so bad but filing is a killer for me now days (that in its self makes one good with the nippers )

          • Fred and Joan Booth

            Yes, one becomes very good with nippers so as to avoid too much rasping! As far as the price of shoeing goes the price of tools has gone way… up since we learned to shoe our horses in 1982! We feel for those farriers just starting out as to starting out costs.We had to learn how to shoe because of our using our horse for basic transportation as we had to make a choice when the NW had its major recession in the early 1980`s, we could keep our car or our horse,. Of course we kept our horse, Turk. Our farrier at the time asked us to learn to shoe Turk because we wore out a set of shoes usually in a months time and sometimes they would have a crack down the center because we rode him so many miles. He lived up to the age of 30.By shoeing him ourselves we also eliminated the 1/4 cracks that kept recurring from as we later learned from experience were caused from excessive trimming of the bars.When we wore out his back we later taught him to drive also. Turk was a very spirited and fast 3/4 Arabian who was faster than the many thoroughbreds he helped us teach to ride.The owners at times became aggravated when we told them their racing prospect would only be fast enough for a pony horse, not an outrider or race horse!

        • Blue Larkspur

          I learned from two people, one of which was a woman who’s father had been a farrier, too, and she utilized a milking stool, but the horses I worked on just weren’t reliable to sit underneath …. I have almost quit now, as it is too much strain on my back and takes away from my riding.

        • Very smart. Horses don’t like the conventional positions either, and are much happier and stand better when the trimmer kneels. The rest of what you mentioned is good common sense, unfortunately not a lot of owners have that. Many horse owners do not really work on their horses’ manners, and since they are large, powerful animals, it makes working on them more dangerous than working on a well behaved, relaxed horse.

      • gus stewart

        Ive been around horses clueless. I have watched what they did with our horses when we had it done years ago. I said it was a difficult job that i would have trouble doing. My point was other occupations as i mentioned, have you seen a drywall guy do his work have you been a guy in the commercial brick laying biz,, difficult physically, but tbey dont charge based on hey i only got 15 years to do this so here is my price. It doesnt work thst way,, clueless

        • Blue Larkspur

          While you were WATCHING, I was DOING the job. There is a HUGE difference between using a nail gun to fasten one inanimate object to another inanimate object and dealing with a 1200 lb LIVE ANIMAL.
          You are the clueless party ….

          • gus stewart

            Anger issues never discounted job and difficulty it was price according to longevity comparison,, fyi no shoeing, but helped saddle, tongue tie, and helped cooling out after races.the more you call me clueless, the more ridiculous you become.

          • Blue Larkspur

            No anger, just fact; I did all the rest that you did, too, including riding them and that has NOTHING to do with shoeing.
            And with that, I am done with dealing with the assertions of the ignorant and stubborn.

          • Agree around here there are a quite a few that can nail on a keg shoe for a cheap price and you get just that, cheap
            Heal’s hanging out the back, sole pressure ect. One needs to differentiate between a shoer and a farrier. I use to have a master farrier that I used but age and back/sholder issues ended his service.

    • One_Jackal

      I have worked in the construction industry in some form or another for many years. There are very few people in their 50’s who can pick up a 110 lb 12 foot sheet of drywall, much less hang 100 pieces a day. Maybe 1 of 200 is still able to do hard labor in their 50’s and that guy cannot work by the piece and make enough to pay his helpers.

      • gus stewart

        I can appreciate you response, i still have freinds in their late 50s that still do that work. I guess again im saying charge what you want, its a tough job working with the horses feet for sure. But besides a few careers, lol oh the nfl players league,, adjusting a price based on longevity in a carreer is not common

    • Phillip Douglas

      Dry walkers and brickers don’t work on moving objects. And most don’t put 50,000 miles a year on their rigs. I’m 32. I’ve been shoeing for 17 years. Yes we can work more than 15 years. But like said in the article it usually takes 10 years to get in the grove and actually start making money.

    • firehammer

      Due to the physical strain alone, it’s nearly impossible to overpay a farrier. -Jeff Doll
      And I am sorry to be the one to tell you but none of the jobs you listed come anywhere near close to the demands of a farrier.
      For one thing, none of them include an independent thinking animal that out weighs you 10:1 with the strength of many grown men.

      • Larry Ensor

        I beg to differ. Please read my reply to Donald Sherer above. I am one of those that “tames” that “independent thinking animal that out weighs you 10:1 with the strength of many grown men”

        By the time a farrier works with one mine the vast majority of the heavy lifting has been done.

        Give a little credit where credit is due to the folks who “make” a horse a horse not the “wild animal” they start out as.

        • An excellent point. Plus if you’re going to be a farrier, you need to be able read horses and you should have some training skill. Horses are quick learners and they don’t hide their intentions. Have seen too many farriers who are too quick to hit horses with a rasp, or jab them in the ribs when the owner can’t see. That is how horses develop fear of the farrier – which is not conducive to making a relaxed and well behaved horse.

        • firehammer

          Well it certainly isn’t the farrier’s job to train so thank you for that but you are deluded if you think training is as difficult as shoeing. It has consistently ranked in the top 2-5 most demanding jobs.
          Just because we make it look easy doesn’t mean it is.
          But be my guest and jump in. The water is fine.

          • No it shouldn’t be the farrier’s job to train the horse. But it takes minimal time and effort. Time and effort well spent for MY safety. Why would I want to come and argue with a horse every time? That’s foolishness. There is a very simple and effective way to get a horse to stand well to be trimmed. It’s non-aggressive, the horse understands, it seldom takes more than 4 repetitions, and if treats are used as reward as well it’s even better. Have never had it fail. And surprise to all those farriers who hit horses with rasps, horses actually start to like and respect you.

          • firehammer

            Really? So a horse can regularly be taught to stand well for the farrier with four repetitions and well timed treats.
            My dear, i can already tell i would never agree to work for you. Either that or you’re being purposefully daft in troll mode.
            Side note: you are the one mentioning abuse, not I and btw, a good many horses I’ve shod over 30+ years were happy to see me and relaxed to near sleep.
            4 repetitions….and treats….
            BWAHAHAHA. …

        • Flag Is Up

          If you are taming a horse that out weighs you 10:1 you are either very small or taming horses far too late. Since the average foal weights 100-150 lbs. most farmhands are on pretty equal basis when it comes to working with babies.

          In my many years working with TB racehorses I’ve found the best farriers are not paid enough and the worst farriers are paid far too much. Where your farrier stands on the scale is only known by you.

      • That’s not true. Good grief! I felt guilty charging people $45 (more because I had to go far and stay overnight in Eastern WA for something that took 20 minutes. I guess I just don’t have the greed gene.

        • Fred and Joan Booth

          We never over charged people either as they were our friends/ neighbors too. They of course once they saw how good a job we did with our horse Turk, naturally asked us to help them out by shoeing/ trimming their horses feet too. We once shod a beautiful gorgeous 15.2 hand chestnut Arabian with flaxen mane and four white socks who had been foundered in his hind feet but not his front feet.He actually bled through his laminae and was so sore that we were the only ones who would even try to shoe him. Raffy had to be trimmed and nailed shoes on VERY gently as he was hurting so bad.We did not use twitches, tranquilizers either just patience. We have NEVER used a lip chain either! Raffy`s founder was caused from a dairy farmer spreading his VERY hot fresh cow manure onto Raffy`s field which sadly his owner did not own. She could only afford to lease the barn and field from the owner.

      • gus stewart

        Its a difficult job, but one guy is still working out here in calif now for close to 40 yrs . He worked for us in 90s nice guy also another one here on west coast was working for Bobby frankel in the 80s and was still working in the late 2000s,, he was a wonderful guy i think from from south America. Just great people loved horses, but worked way beyond 15 years

    • Gary Miller

      I agree with Gus. Working in other skill fields like he mentioned have just as much physical strain on the body as shoeing horses. I have worked in construction and as a pipe welder and I’m currently a Farrier of 12 years. I find do difference in shoeing horses as I did in the other jobs when it came to bending a lifting with my back and leg muscles. It all depends on how you work.

      • Exactly. Work smarter, not harder. I used to trim 10 horses a day, 4 days in a row. But I very quickly gave up traditional farrier way of bending over and holding foot. Kneeling was so incredibly easier, horses like it so much better, and combine that with using a hoof stand to finish, instead of my leg, the work was much easier. Bending over is the real issue. No only is it bad for your back, but it cuts down on your ability to breathe because it squeezes your diaphragm. I guess maybe because I’m not a man, I didn’t need to make my job harder to impress people.

    • Erin Casseday

      Just curious, have you ever bent over holding a horse’s hoof for any length of time? Try it for 30 minutes and see how your back feels. 😉

  • Jbumi

    Speaking of horseshoes, I was wondering – if Del Mar’s track really is causing Arrogate’s poor performances, would a different shoe (type or composition or both) perhaps help? Much the same way football players use different shoes on different fields.

    • longshot

      I don’t know about a different shoe, but I think a different track would make a difference . He just doesn’t seem to be the same horse on the Del Mar surface

  • mike

    this is a tough job. the people that do it make it look it easy, but if you try doing it sometime, you will find out. hats off to the farriers.

    • Larry Ensor

      Yup, I have done trims in on a hot muggy day.

  • Isabel_NH

    I would pay any amount of money to have my farrier that retired 3 years ago come back. It amazes me how many people in the horse world try to nickle and dime professionals who keep their horses going. Right now I have an older mare barefoot all around, the trimmer I use comes about an hour to my barn just for me, and he only charges $55 for his trim. The first time he told me the price I asked incredulously, “that’s it?” I don’t know how they do it. To me, a really good farrier is worth any price they ask for.

    • Dan Harmon

      The going rate for a barefoot trim in my area (near Tampa, FL) is $30-40. He has to drive an hour to you, so $55 is a good deal for you, unless he is capable of handling a few customers in your general area. :)

  • Donald Sherer

    Of all the components that make up horse racing the farriers are the hardest working and provide the best value. They may be the only group that I can say that about.

    • Larry Ensor

      “horse racing the farriers are the hardest working and provide the best value”

      You can’t be serious. If you are you have never, owned a farm and or worked at one. Boarding, breeding, foaling, raising, preparing for their first visit with the farrier, than taking them to the next level and the next level and the next and the next. Breaking/starting and I promise you they do not come out of the mare ready to put a saddle on them.

      Dealing with a health issues that requires meds 3-4 times a day, the last being at 11-12:00 at night, for weeks at times. Working with re-habs, placating, figuring out how to keep a horse on lengthy stall rest happy, Dealing with a horse that has just come out of being in the hole (stall) for 60-90 days and needs 30 days of hand walking, then walk under saddle. They tend to be very full of themselves.

      Pretty much 7/365. Sorry I know being a farrier is not as easy as it looks, I’ve done plenty of just trimming. But I am not going to break out the small violin. Sure they have over head, a truck, and various tools of the trade. But a fraction of the over head folks who own farms, a fraction of the “tools of the trade” a farm owner needs.

      Most farm owners pretty much are always working at keep their stalls full. Then “hand over” a barn full of clients to the farriers, vets, feed suppliers etc.

      Farm owners and the folks that work on them are by FAR the hardest working people in the business. Along those who break/start babies. These are the people that do ALL of the heavy lifting, preparing youngsters to be safe and predictable for the folks who will be working with them when they go to the racetrack. That includes farriers.

      The hardest working farriers are those that have the skills and patience to work with, foals, weanlings, short yearlings etc. These guys//gals REALLY earn their trim money. Racetrack farriers only have to walk,drive barn to to barn and work with horse that by and large are/should be well behaved if the farm they came from did their job correctly.

      No disrespect to farriers, I know their job is tough by and large I have worked with lots over the years. But when they leave my farm after working on 10 in a couple of hours and I hand them a check for $1,000 to $2,000 two, three times a month I think they are pretty well paid. Because I was there the WHOLE time help at times and I promise you I didn’t get paid anywhere near that. A fraction.

      Sorry, end of rant.

      • Donald Sherer

        Sorry but I have been in this business for 40 years and respectfully disagree with most of what you say.

        • Larry Ensor

          What part? How big is your farm. How many horses have your personally put a saddle and got into? Trained from from birth to starting gate?

          Re-hab, re-school?

          I am not saying that farriers do not have a demanding job. But they are well paid for it. They also have very low overhead compared to farm owners.. And can take take off pretty much when ever they want.

          My farrier would be the first to tell anyone that horse farm owners have a much heavier work load and a much more dangerous job. Not talking about hobby farms or mom & pop.

          I was born into it and at 61 have done, worked in just about every aspect of it. I didn’t write the book but have added a few sentences and or a paragraph or 2.

          No disrespect intended. Happy to agree to disagree.

      • Herd horseshoeing

        sounds like ya ought to shoe your own horses pal,heck just you tube it im sure you can figure it out!

        • Larry Ensor

          I have and would if the only farrier around was somebody with your attitude, pal.

          I have had the same farrier for a number of years. He does my mares, babies, yearlings, racehorses and sport horses. He’s in his mid 60s so much for only having a 20 year work span. Plus he is pretty darn good horsemen himself. Rides, show and fox hunted for years. I love working with service providers that have done that walk also.

          Fortunately I live in a horse area and have lots of farriers to choose from. From what I understand anyone of them would love to have my account. Our horses have a reputation of being well behaved by and large and I don’t tell them what or how to do their job. I just tell them what is being done with the horse and leave it up to them to do their job.

          I also don’t put the lowest skilled person on the horse’s head. Like a lot of farms do. Ones that may be tricky I handle. A good horse person on their head makes the farrier’s difficult job much easier. They know this and are very appreciative. Plus we have fun BSing the hours away.

      • Flag Is Up

        Mr. Ensor,
        In my many years working with TB racehorses I’ve found the best farriers are not paid enough and the worst farriers are paid far too much. Where your farrier stands on the scale is only known by you.

  • Larry sterne

    my farrier handles the question of cost this way…. I’ll drive the first nail then ask the customer to drive the second nail! that usually quietens the cost talk.

    • Larry Ensor

      Fair enough. I’ll put the question this way. How many farriers go into the stall of a weanling, short yearling for 15-20 minutes a day to get them used to having all 4 feet picked up, then get them used to having those feet picked out, with them bouncing off the walls with the handler long before a farrier even trims one let alone “drives the first nail”?

      All for $25+ a day including breakfast, lunch and dinner and clean sheets. Fact is the majority of horse people and that includes farriers have never worked with youngsters.

      • caroline webster

        I told you we agreed on everything!! Where were the blacksmiths when we were teaching them to pick their feet up?i purchased an expensive yearling at keenland last year,it took us 30 days to teach her how to pick up all 4 feet without trying to kill us.we found out later that she had been tranquized for every trim before the sale. Just wish someone had told us…

  • sara swope

    thats why back in the day they were
    unionized. before the hostile republican take over.

    • lastromntribune

      hostile republican take over…………..please…..grow up …..DEMS have utterly ruined this country

  • igallop

    OMG!! Racehorse farriers are far and away the best “footmen” around. I have spent equal time between race horses and show horses /eventers and in my 40 years of watching and learning I found that my racehorse farrier was light years ahead of any other farrier i have met. They work without the fancy box truck and the electric and the heat! .Horse show farriers come with a rather large ego as well! SI spent between $75 and $125 for proper shoeing during my racing days and a ridiculous $250-350 during horse show phase and the shoes and trim jobs sucked leaving my horses lame!!!!! Racehorse farriers rule! :)

  • Gls

    Following this business model I think it costs me $30 to brush my teeth and take a leak in the morning. And I thought it would be the vets that would drive me out of this business.

    • Olebobbowers

      And to make it even worse GIs, there’s gonna be mornings where you might have to include toilet paper in (unless you suffer from constant constipation.) No $*it ;*(

  • perks

    the cost of a couple bad shoe jobs pales in comparison. :)

  • lastromantribune

    keep the sandwich…..more than a hundred dollars to shoe a horse is crazy……but to be honest I wouldn’t do it. they EARN there money……..no hoof no horse.

  • longshot

    😭. Just finding out how tough the horse business is

  • Minneola

    I watch the farriers that come out each week and am, somewhat, awe-struck that they can do the work that they do. I find that my just cleaning the hooves can be quite an undertaking, especially, with some horses. But, then, I watch the farriers and I bow to their abilities. Such hard and tough work! By the way, I have yet to meet a farrier that didn’t have a great attitude and fun to chat with. Could it be that they enjoy their job and that translates to everything else?

  • Gothoof

    Theres my tools , show me what you got “pretty boy”. I guarantee you’ll be happy to pay me whatever I ask within 10 minutes of your failed attempt.

    • caroline webster

      That was a bit rude. Larry is spot on about farm owners,we work 24/7. I love my racetrack horseshoer who retired from the track,and now does farm work. He doesn’t have many years left,and I cant imagine running my business without him.that being said,he will be the first to admit farm owners that break babies,foal mares,surgery work etc are the hardest working people in the business.i figured out I averaged $1.00 per hour last year working on my farm,but loved every minute of my life.there are many,many bad blacksmiths out there,just like there are incompetent horse trainers.

  • GloriaU

    As a horse racing fan, I’d never thought about how tough a job like this is. I guess it seems like common sense, but I never considered all the bending over and toll it takes on the body and back to do the work. I also don’t think people consider all of the other smaller things mentioned in the article, which add up, that go into having to do this job, or any job. Thank you for an excellent article.

  • yes, it is a tough job, and one you can’t do after a lot of years and horses. However, I find fault with the complaint of having to pay for truck expense. I trimmed professionally for several years (started late at 50), and drove many miles a week. However the IRS is very generous with vehicle expense and it often came to over a $20,000 deduction each year. You get to deduct all your tools, work specific clothing, supplies, meals during the work day, etc. I charged $40 per trim and in my last year trimming – 4 days a week from 11 am to 5 pm – I took in over $80,000. I think that was fair. Going by his rate, let’s round off to $100 and stick to a 4 day week. I’d have earned $4,000 a week. $208,000 per year. The US census bureau has the following income information – The Census Bureau estimated real median household income at $55,775 in
    2015, up $2,062 or 3.8% from the 2014 level of $53,713. Household income
    varies geographically and by race.[2]
    The overall median has continued to rise steadily, if slowly, to
    $57,616 in September 2016 according to one unofficial source that
    reports monthly versus annually.

    So most Americans make a lot less than a farrier. If we choose a hard job, that’s on us, not on our clients.

  • Robert Millis

    So is he dividing by 10, 15 or 25 years to come up with his #?
    I would contend any of them makes the exercise (and the final fig) invalid.
    Why? Because he is assuming the person is incapable of earning $ income (a living) outside of his farrier portion of his life. A “20 year career” might mean we’re talking about a 42yo packing it in. Is that person not able to make some $ doing something else after?

  • Olebobbowers

    My Blacksmith went far beyond farrier, he was an artist in that field. I can’t thank you enough, Wally Henderson, for the comfort as well as confidence instilled in me, shoeing my racehorses. They all felt stylish showing off their new shoes in the winners circle.

  • When I am in Kentucky Broadus shoes my animals

  • Constance Hartman

    Good article Denise Steffaus. Pat Broadus, I think you are terrific! My farrier was so important to my horses career. He wears glue-on shoes. Once the first shoe placed on because they are hot and have to be held up for minutes. Two front shoes $625.00.

  • forestwildcat

    114.20 out of pocket to shoe a horse- Hogwash!

  • Erin Casseday

    As someone who comes from the horse show world, I know that a good farrier is worth their weight in gold. They are part scientist and part engineer. The last show farrier that I used custom made each shoe for each hoof of each horse. My horse is no longer with us as he crossed over that bridge to green pastures in the sky, but I still have his last set of custom made shoes!

  • Banty

    Our farrier is a “retired” track farrier. He charges us $15 a horse for a trim, $30 for shoeing. When I told him I thought that wasn’t enough, he replied, “I decide what to charge my customers, and I’m charging you $15 a horse.” He is not taking any new customers, and has become a very good friend with great stories. Our horses love him, and he has been doing our horses for about 15 years. He also is a great horseman with great tips on anything horsey.

    • Fred and Joan Booth

      How lucky you are! It sounds like he is a farrier who just likes to be around horses and people.We would bet he does not even break even with expenses! That is what the going rate for cold shoeing was here in the NW in the early 1980`s! Spoil him well with cold drinks / comfortable working conditions and well behaved horses.Wish we could meet him, would enjoy hearing/ sharing tips of horsemanship with him.

  • Sally Shaw

    In my area finding a good farrier is pretty hard ! Your right the good ones don’t last seems like by the time they know what they’re doing their back goes out . I pay $40 a trim and I have two horses .The guy I’ve been using for 4 years is getting pretty unreliable ! I’m actually waiting over a week for a call back right now .I hate to to start looking another guy because the UNEXPERIENCED EXPECT to be pd the same as the experienced man ! I know what the results of a bad job are ! any one can buy farrier tools and have cards printed up those guys usually don’t last though ,word of mouth usually puts them out of business. I’ve owned horses over 50 years and I know a good farrier and I hate to lose my guy .

    • You are so right! Good farriers are hard to find, and getting harder. A bad trim or shoeing job is a very bad thing and basically you just paid someone to damage your horse! Good intentions are not enough, knowledge and skill are required.

  • Farrier wife

    Wife of a farrier here. Husband is a fantastic farrier but is nearing 20 years in and his body is breaking down as the author mentioned. As a horsewoman I get how a lost shoe or forgetting to schedule a shoeing can ruin trail ride or show plans. But as a farrier wife I see how little this matters. My husband has missed school performances, family dinners, and other important milestones to keep his clients sound, healthy, happy, and at top performance. His sacrifice to his craft has put him in the ER more than once. If we had a dollar for every time he has been called and asked to “come out today” or “I know it’s 5:00, but can you do one more?” or been told “I owe you how much?!” he could easily retire. What clients don’t see is the hefty checks paid for self employment tax, the cost of a truck sturdy enough to haul tools and a weeks worth of supplies around, and the liability and insurance costs. By the time farriers buy supplies, propane, gas, pay the loan on the truck and the tax man, there is a bit left over for groceries, mortgage, and living expenses, but not near enough for a quickly looming forced retirement when their body can simply handle no more. Clients joke “Wow, your back must hurt by the end of the day!” but don’t really know how that limits a farriers ability to go home and be mom/dad, or enjoy hobbies outside of work. If you have a good farrier pay the bill without complaining. Have your horses ready when they arrive. Offer them sandwiches and water. Tell them thank you for their hard work. Many people can butcher feet and hang iron, but not many have the skill and craftsmanship to keep a horse optimally moving for your performance goals. It’s a tough job, so let your farrier know you appreciate them.

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