The average horse is shod 8 times a year at an average cost of $70 per
shoeing. This means that the average horse owner shells out a whopping $560. per
year keeping their horse shod. I have come up with 5 ways to keep this cost from
escalating while giving the horse the best care possible.
1. Educate yourself. You can save yourself money and grief
each year by learning to tell a good job of trimming and shoeing from a bad one.
Educational sources are numerous. You have taken a good first step by reading
this article on the Wide World Web. Also read those articles on hoof care and
shoeing problems that the horse magazines are frequently running. The AMERICAN
FARRIER'S ASSOCIATION has
literature (some free) to help you better understand what is right and what is
wrong. Equestrian catalogs have many books which will give you the basic
knowledge you need to asses the work done on your horse. Community colleges
frequently offer one day workshops on trimming and shoeing your horse. You
wouldn't own a computer without learning a little about the care of them. Why
shouldn't you take the same trouble with your horse?
2. Select the best farrier for your horse. The lowest
priced farrier is not necessarily the least expensive. In fact, more often than
not he is the most expensive in the long run. Ask your veterinarian for a
recommendation. Talk to horse owners and trainers you respect. Find out which
farriers are continuing their education by attending clinics and workshops put
on by local farrier groups. Take a critical look at horses shod by farriers you
are considering. Does the farrier drive a dependable rig that is not likely to
break down on the way to your appointment? Is he a successful, educated
professional respected in the community? Does he have the tools and skills to
take care of your horse's needs, including high tech solutions to any problems
that might arise? THE AMERICAN
FARRIER'S ASSOCIATION has a pamphlet titled Choosing a Farrier which will assist you in your
search. You can order this by calling 1-606-233-7411. Tell them Geronimo sent
you! They also have a directory of member farriers and their level of
certification on their web site at Find
3. Have your horse shod or trimmed on time. The average
horse needs to be trimmed or shod every 6 to 8 weeks. Many hoof problems are
caused by stretching the time between shoeing, either in a misguided effort to
save money or by simply not taking the time to get the job done. With or without
shoes, horses' hooves grow and wear out of balance. The longer you go between
farrier visits, the more time and effort it takes the farrier to put your horse
right. This costs more money.
The more out of balance your horse's feet get, the more problems you create
further up the leg and body such as skeletal and muscular problems requiring
chiropractors, vets, gel pads, etc. This all costs more than having your horse's
feet worked on when they need it.
4. Follow the farriers advice. Because you have carefully
selected a farrier you respect, you should realize he is an expert in his field
and suggestions by him are motivated by concern for your horse's well being. If
he says to keep the horse out of the mud, ride the horse easy or follow a
specific hoof care program, do not ignore this advice.
5. After selecting the best farrier, learn how to keep him.
Just as you expect the farrier to be on time for his appointments, he will
expect you to have the horse made ready for his visit when he arrives. Having
your horse ready would include that the horse be caught, fed, watered, cleaned
and trained to accept trimming and shoeing. Provide your farrier with a proper
shoeing environment out of the wind and rain, sheltered from the hot sun, on a
clean and dry level place. Most farriers require payment upon completion of the
job, but if your farrier sends out bills, pay yours promptly upon receipt.
How does this save you money? Having the horse trained and providing a good
working area allows the farrier to do his best work for your horse. Less than
his best will cost you performance and money.
Trimming and shoeing under these conditions will also keep the farrier happy to
continue working for you. Changing farriers is expensive. Chances of finding two
good farriers in a row are slim, and it can take a lot of money to repair damage
caused by inferior work. Even a good farrier will take a few shoeings to get to
know how to best shoe a particular horse, and in the meantime you are losing
performance ability and causing damage to your horse.
So, when you get a good farrier, hang on to him for your wallet's sake and your
If you keep these 5 money saving tips in mind and follow them diligently, you
will find that your horse will benefit from receiving the best care possible
while doing minimal damage to your checking account.
The American Blacksmith