Times are tough financially for many around the world and the cost of keeping horses isn’t cheap.
Horse owners are feeling the pinch, maybe some looking for lower cost hoof care options whilst the business operating costs for farriers has skyrocketed over the past few years but their charge out rates haven’t necesarily adjusted accordingly.
So horse owners are feeling poor and so are the farriers! Generally speaking of course – there’s always somebody bucking the trend and doing well.
So is it a good idea for owners to find a cheaper farrier or take over the hoof care themselves? And is it wise for farriers to source lower cost shoes, nails and tools?
From an owners viewpoint, the short term benefits of making some savings using a cheaper farrier or having a go themselves will often be lost when any problems arise from making that switch. Market forces dictate the price of farrier fees, often the better ones will be the ones charging more than the unqualified, inexperienced or those with lesser respect.
Whether money is tight or not, having a regular farrier schedule is likely to save money in the long term. Prevention of problems (which the farrier can do through regular appointments) is usually less expensive than treatment (vets!)
So it could be argued, getting the best farrier, retaining his services and keeping regular appointments is the best approach for horse owners when money is tight.
So what about farriers? Is it a good idea to switch to using cheaper shoes, nails and tools then cut some corners so you can squeeze an extra horse or two in every day?
Similar theories to horse owners should apply for farriers. Quality counts in the long run.
Keeping the standard of the work high is vital and this goes hand in hand with using the shoes, nails and tools that you consider most suitable for the type of horses in your run.
All farriers understand that using quality tools can help do a good job, they’ll usually last longer and help save time and effort. Cheaper options (although very tempting at the time of purchase) can sometimes fail and actually end up costing us more when they need replacing!
Keeping up the standard of work can build and help maintain reputation. Over time, this can pay dividends – when other farriers have slashed their standards, switched to using inferior products which let them down and perhaps destroy the trust of their clients, the farrier with a good reputation and quality workmanship will still be standing and in a healthty position to thrive.