When I started shoeing horses, I went to a large horse ranch in the area and asked if I could shoe horses there. The forman asked me how many horses I had shod that year. I had not thought about that and could not give him an answer. He asked if I figured I had shod over 2,000 horses in a year. I told him I was sure there was no way I had shod that many horses. His comment was, ” When you are shoeing over 2,000 horses a year come see me again “.

365 days a year minus 104 days of week ends equal 261 days times 8 horses per day equal 2,088 horses. This is a pretty good average for a full time farrier.

I started shoeing at $18.00/head. We never considered shoeing the front only and just trimming the hind. Trimmed horses were brood mares, colts, and convelescent horses. all useing horses were shod on all four ( weather they liked it or not ). A box of nails, a hand full of keg shoes and a road cone cut up for pads were all the materials need to shoe a horse. The largest overhead was a beat up old truck with a pipe bumper that surficed for an anvil and gasoline that was less than a dollar a gallon.

Most farriers had no education in business management or finance. Therefore, you make a dollar, you spend a dollar. By the eighty’s the average price was $55.00 for keg shoes. Hunters and Jumpers , Dressage, a few walkers and Arabian show horses had become popular and handmade shoes were a must.These horses would cost $ 100.00 or better. New materials for padding, packing and hoof repair came into play and prices could be pretty high, and now fuel prices were well over a dollar a gallon. To compete in the show horse industry required a fancy truck and shoeing rig. Now farriers are beginning to realize their overhead is greater than their income, some of us finally realized we had to get business straightened out with the IRS. With shoeing prices being pushed to a limit, the only way to increase more income was to shoe more horses. Ten horses a day ( and more ) seven days a week were now required.

Economic crises at the end of the eighty’s decreased the number of horses being shod on an average.
to pay bills, shoeing prices had to be raised , but suppliers had to go up on price to cover their lack of volumn. The farrier was back to just getting by. The ninety’s and the first decade of the twenty first century, our industry is at an idle. Fuel prices are over three dollars a gallon and new developments in shoeing techniques have entered many new and expensive shoeing materials.

The horse owner is forced to consider more trimming and less shoeing. If trimming is the answer, farriers now have to increase their volumn to stay in business.

I have shod large numbers of horses for over thirty years. I turned my basic business over to my son at the end of the ninety’s. To stay active and involved in the farrier practice I have concentrated my experience ( total fifty years ) into Equine Podiatry. I am now 68 years old. To continue to do this work, I have to reduce the number of horse and be particular about the disipline.

Work on diseased and injured horses require time. The young farrier has to consider volumn to stay in business. I don’t require the income now that I did when my children were young and I can do o.k. with one or two horses a day. I would like to work with other farriers and vets on special cases, help them to get the horse back to work and let the horse return to the original farriers care. I have no interest in shoeing large numbers of horses or interfering with another farriers business. I would like to help by taking the cases that you do not have time for. Many of these cases require the vet, farrier team. I think I have a good repore with the veterinary community. Please contact me if I can be of help, vet, farrier, or horse owner.


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