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TOPIC: Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot?

Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 04:44 #1

  • Peters Shoeing
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Hey all,

New to site. I have been shoeing for a bit and I just gotta ask, is anyone else thinking the barefooters are at it again? This last month was mostly trims for me.

Even some of my shoeing clients are asking to go barefoot. I suspect most of them are just trying to save on expenses. Fine, maybe some few think it is more natural. I try to encourage them to continue with shoes, especially for riding/work, but what else can you do?

A trim will run them $40, a full set of kegs with trim will be around $125. I dont want to impose on a client. Of course, I am biased. This is my business and frankly, these horses are not lawn ornaments, most do at least light to moderate work. Barefoot is not always ideal for that IMO. Furthermore, I didn't enter this field with the intention of getting sucked into a movement. I want to further my farrier skills, not get stuck with trims.

So, I started to think what the heck can I do for my business here? I hear of so many self-proclaimed "Natural Barefoot Expert Trimmers", some who even charge $80-90 for the first trim and $55-60 thereafter. Damn. Who are these people? Where are they coming from?

I try to sell some Sole Guard applications, Hoof Hardener, Hoof Soaking for the bacterial cases, and even synthetic shoes for the therapeutic cases. I carry around everything...Steel, Aluminum, Bar shoes, Vettec, and my clients just ask for barefoot trims. I had a few people even tell me not to do crack repairs because they read online or a friend told them that a complete barefoot trim would grow the crack out.

Maybe it's my clients, maybe it's the economy, maybe it's word of mouth. What the heck? ANY ADVICE? What would you say to the barefooters with working horses?

Adam Peters
Alan Peters
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 05:15 #2

  • Red Amor
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:mad:AAAARRRRRRRRRR AAARRRRRRRRHHHHAAAARRRRRRHHHHH AAARRRRRRH AAAAARRRRRRHH AAARRRRRRRHHHH

arhhh yeah mmmmuuummmmmmm breath in breath out arh thats better gooooood boy
there :D
**** BARE FOOTERS :p
Mark Anthony Amor
If we want anymore excrement like that outta you we'll squeese ya head :eek:
Mind how ya go now ;)
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 05:47 #3

  • Peters Shoeing
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Man, Red, you said it.

It's like some sort of mind control. Barefoot trimming somehow cures all lameness, is meant for all horses, makes for a sound working horse, costs you a respectable amount from some one-tool fool who has no clue how to shoe your horse, so don't ask. A light rasp here and there---your horse is healed and ready to work. Except not really. :mad:

Yea. It's madness out there. Just some big excuse not to pay for shoeing IMO.
Alan Peters
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 06:12 #4

  • Mark_Gough
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Peters Shoeing wrote:
Hey all,

New to site.

Welcome.
I have been shoeing for a bit and I just gotta ask, is anyone else thinking the barefooters are at it again? This last month was mostly trims for me.

I'm not seeing any kind of increase in the number of trimmers but have seen a few clients request that service be limited to a trim. This is usually due to financial circumstances versus some conviction about leaving a horse barefoot.
Even some of my shoeing clients are asking to go barefoot. I suspect most of them are just trying to save on expenses. Fine, maybe some few think it is more natural. I try to encourage them to continue with shoes, especially for riding/work, but what else can you do?

The clients write the check. It's their decision. Part of my job is to offer the best counsel I can regarding what the horse needs.
A trim will run them $40, a full set of kegs with trim will be around $125. I dont want to impose on a client. Of course, I am biased. This is my business and frankly, these horses are not lawn ornaments, most do at least light to moderate work. Barefoot is not always ideal for that IMO.

No need to be biased. My need to earn a living is independent of what the horse needs to perform their job. Provide your best counsel and work within the confines of what the owner is willing to pay for.
Furthermore, I didn't enter this field with the intention of getting sucked into a movement. I want to further my farrier skills, not get stuck with trims.

No reason to get sucked into anything. Trimming a horse nets more income per hour than shoeing. Do the best work you can and move on to the next one.
So, I started to think what the heck can I do for my business here? I hear of so many self-proclaimed "Natural Barefoot Expert Trimmers", some who even charge $80-90 for the first trim and $55-60 thereafter. Damn. Who are these people? Where are they coming from?

What can you do for your business? Conduct yourself in a professional manner. Provide the best quality service you are capable of and continue to pursue whatever educational venues are available. Don't worry about your competition, trimmer or otherwise.
I try to sell some Sole Guard applications, Hoof Hardener, Hoof Soaking for the bacterial cases, and even synthetic shoes for the therapeutic cases. I carry around everything...Steel, Aluminum, Bar shoes, Vettec, and my clients just ask for barefoot trims.

Don't try to sell products. Sell service. The products are part of the means to deliver that service. You are a complete service farrier. Trimmers, by definition, are limited in what they can provide. If the clients horse needs more than a trim, work and time will eventually demonstrate that fact to the owner.
I had a few people even tell me not to do crack repairs because they read online or a friend told them that a complete barefoot trim would grow the crack out.

Sometimes a crack can be remediated via nothing more than trimming flares which cause the leverage which caused the crack. Sometimes not. Advise the owner as appropriate for each situation.
Maybe it's my clients, maybe it's the economy, maybe it's word of mouth. What the heck? ANY ADVICE? What would you say to the barefooters with working horses?

Adam Peters

Explain the basics to them. There are specific reasons why a horse may require shoeing. Explain those reasons and ask if their horse falls into any of those categories. If the owner decides to disregard that counsel, trim the horse, collect your paycheck and move on. In time, the horse will likely demonstrate the value of your original assessment in a manner that is less refutable.

Cheers,
Mark
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 06:33 #5

  • Peters Shoeing
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This is usually due to financial circumstances versus some conviction about leaving a horse barefoot.
Hey Mark. I definitely agree, except my clients seem to present it in terms of "barefoot is best for soundness". If and when someone is up front about cost, I would probably work with them. I offer discounts for referral and stables too.

I saw your post on the Mirage of Natural Trim, I will buy this with my next Centaur order! Sounds great.

The clients write the check. It's their decision. Part of my job is to offer the best counsel I can.

It is their decision, but it's as though they are not hearing me. Maybe they will get the idea in a few months, after time will tell if shoes are needed, as I suspect. I had a woman call me today telling me that she just bought a horse (breed unknown), he came with shoes, he doesn't need them, she wants them off. He only needs a trim. I respectfully told her that I would need to see him to make any suggestions, but she stood firm, "he needs shoes pulled and a barefoot trim." :confused:

Trimming a horse nets more income per hour than shoeing.
I guess if you are booking full days. That does brighten me up a bit.

Do the best work you can and move on to the next one.
Always! ;)

Don't try to sell products. Sell service.
I find the two coincide sometimes. I would not sell anything that I did not have to apply or complete myself. I think those applications I mentioned have a good place in a farrier's tool box. They are not for every client, by any means. Ok, and some clients could apply them on their own, but would they invest in all needed tools and do it correctly? I don't always believe so.

In time, the horse will likely demonstrate the value of your original assessment in a manner that is less refutable.
Thank you for everything. I realize I cannot be right on about every case. It's just a whole lot of trimming lately. KWIM?
Alan Peters
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 10:34 #6

  • Mike Ferrara
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I haven't seen an increase in the number of barefoot cultist but I have seen quite a few people simply cut back on what they're spending. They're taking fewer horses to horse shows and going to fewer shows. That means less horses shod.
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 11:07 #7

  • Mike Ferrara
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Mark_Gough wrote:
Welcome.


No reason to get sucked into anything. Trimming a horse nets more income per hour than shoeing.
Mark

I make more money shoeing. I think one reason is that when it's all trims there's no paying work that you can do standing up. I can physically do a greater dollar amount when shoeing because I get paid for the work I do at the anvil. Some of the "specialty" stuff pays pretty well too. I think my most profitable work is resetting show horses.

Additionally, the number of horses on the books doesn't necessarily increase and the travel time and costs don't decrease just because the horses are barefoot. The $200 shoeing just becomes a $50 trim and my income is cut by 75%.

Worse maybe is the fact that a lot barefoot horses get by on just a couple of trimmings/year. You need an awful lot of those on the books to make any kind of living.

Lastly, while I like a few trim accounts here and there, just trimming gets pretty boring after a while. It kind of gives me that "all dressed up and nowhere to go" feeling.
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 11:33 #8

  • Gabino
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My advice is "Be water,my friend". If the owner want barefoot,take barefoot. If the horse is sound beeing barefoot,you get money easily. If the horse is pain, you take an orthopaedic shoeing, very very expensive, and you get money too. The owner has rigth to take the wrong road.

Be us the rush. Bow down the wind..and get the money.
Gabino Fernández Baquero

www.farriergabino.com
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 12:08 #9

  • Red Amor
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As Ive said before
I live on an Island
the population around 500,ooo
the percentage of horse owners about 5 or so percent could be less

In Hobart area my area there is /was about 12 full time farriers and another 6 or so part timers
We all seemed happy in our lot
In the past 4 /5 years the hoofter brigade mainly foreigners have come over bs ing every one and the diy hoofters have come outta the wood work
this lead to several hoofters getting together and starting hoofter schools in the north of the state , there was also talk of them starting one in the south

Trimming is our cream to me a kind of reward for having gone the distance sort of to become a Farrier to try provide the holistic package that traditional Farriery does

I resent hoofters they mostly charlatans drop outs from Farriery schools or cream scrapers that never intended to go the hole distance and opted for the easier and cheaper service to provide
they mostly did this through bs and backstabbing the good hearted people that started them , giving then knowledge friendship , tools and a way in life who were they THE FARRIERS
and what did /do we get in return rubbished and our work pinched
Don'T just don't tell me to just do your work and stick to your guns and make sure you always do do do do
I have never been guilty of being complacent when it comes to by job/ livelihood Ive always kept a good eye on my compatriots and their performance and even a closer eye on the hoofters
you have to ,in a small place you should in any business you have to know what people will pay for n not
I don't loose sleep over it but I do take notice of whats going on
Tassie is a place where people have to realy watch their dollars and if your in business and in the upper range of fees charges to provide that service you have to know what your up against

you blokes do see them as much as we do because of how big your place is
my back yard is tiny
Also I don't know any Farrier who wouldn't rather go out to trim say 10 a day than shoe 4 or so Lord I know what my body will do longer and Im one who will have to work at something until the day I die Ive no great super or land packages retirement funds ,
My fault no one to blame but me
But I'm OK with this I was working on putting on a bloody good kid to teach and hopefully partner up with and with a few bad breaks of late and the onset of the hoofter had to give that Idea away for the time being at least
Hopefully some day Il get er done Ill need to If I'm going to stay in the game
my body is packing it in faster than I ever imagined
I gess what Im saying is for you bloke to not take the hoofters to lightly
there are some realy good one out there and they can teach me a thing or two I'm under no delusions of grandeur as to my abilities or stature in my community
and there are some that just should go anywhere near a horses hoof and yes there are some Farriers or shoers letting the side down
either way they are all taking your our cream which is the trimming
some of it will come back once people see the promises not being lived up to
Farriers about the place are now n then hiring helpers but there are little or none putting on apprentices
I'm not trying to tell any of you your business
but you mark my words
all the Farriers are working harder and traveling more for less profit per day

WE can do bare foot trimming after all who tried to teach the BUA in the first place
Mark Anthony Amor
If we want anymore excrement like that outta you we'll squeese ya head :eek:
Mind how ya go now ;)
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 12:58 #10

  • Mike Ferrara
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Red Amor wrote:
Also I don't know any Farrier who wouldn't rather go out to trim say 10 a day than shoe 4 or so

Hello, my name is Mike. Now you know one though some times I can shoe two or so (depending on the kind of work) and make what I make trimming ten.
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 14:20 #11

  • tbloomer
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Ever notice how most of the barefoot gurus have a "story" about how they started out as farriers and despite years of trying, they could not keep horses sound with shoeing? Instead of giving up the trade altogether, they set themselves up as an "authority" on barefoot.

I think it is a bit arrogant for these "experts" to think that just because they failed to become competent horseshoers that every body else suffers from the same limitations.
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 14:36 #12

  • Mike Ferrara
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I've noticed.

I'm not a marketing guy but it also accures to me that it's almost the perfect marketing situation. It comes across as un-selling. A horse owner might like to hear that they don't need that $200 shoeing...and the marketer can blame the lameness of the barefoot horse on the shoer. I think Barnum would have been proud.
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 14:51 #13

  • tbloomer
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Sort of goes along with the idea that the latest whiz bang super shoe, pad, hoof packing or whatever appliance is passed on in a "veterinary prescription" is going to cure whatever shortcomings exist in the skills and experience of the attending farrier.
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 15:15 #14

  • Mark_Gough
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Mike, you make a good point. While trimming does net a greater profit per hour than shoeing, it also requires a larger volume to deliver the same total income.

The reality is that some horses simply cannot perform their job while barefoot. In such cases, the only tool a trimmer can bring to the table is some kind of hoof boot. We all know the limitations of boots. More often than not, the boots ultimately end up gathering dust somewhere on a tack room shelf.

I know of only one trimmer that practices in my area. She is highly competent, delivers quality work at a fair price and will not hesitate to refer work to a full service farrier if she believes the horse requires more than a trim.

There are a couple of competent, full service farriers in this area. They are generally fully booked and rarely take on new clients. I have no issue competing with them. That competition is a normal part of any business and serves to remind me that I have to deliver the best quality service possible to every client.

There are a lot of 'backyard, cowboy wack-and-tacks'. These are the competitors that most directly effect my business. They are very fast, very inexpensive and generally deliver poor quality work.

Horse owners employ such poor quality service providers for three reasons.
  1. The service is incredibly cheap.
  2. The work is completed in a very short time.
  3. The owners do not know the difference between good and bad quality farriery until the animal's soundness level provides the needed education.

I can't do anything about what others charge for their work. My fees are reasonable for the level of quality I deliver and I have no interest in doing this work for less. I will not trim a horse for $25 dollars and I certainly won't shoe one for $55.

I cannot shoe a horse in 30 minutes and have no interest in taking the short cuts that would allow me to do so.

I address the third reason, listed above, via what education I can provide to local horse owners. I provide educational material to local 4H groups and horse owners. I host clinics, inviting farriers and horse owners to attend and share information, concerns and questions. I encourage horse owners to pursue personal education in equine hoof care with the same enthusiasm they have for riding, showing and all other aspects of horse ownership.

The most difficult, competitive aspect of my business isn't barefoot trimmers, cheaper service providers or even poor quality competitors.

The most difficult challenge are horses presenting cheap, poor quality hoof care that, from the owners perspective, seem to go generally sound and do their job in spite of that care.


Cheers,
Mark
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RE:Barefooters Taking Over again? Shoeing clients turned barefoot? 11 Jul 2010 15:33 #15

  • Mark_Gough
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
I've noticed.

I'm not a marketing guy but it also accures to me that it's almost the perfect marketing situation. It comes across as un-selling. A horse owner might like to hear that they don't need that $200 shoeing...and the marketer can blame the lameness of the barefoot horse on the shoer. I think Barnum would have been proud.

It's a "flawless" argument ( un-selling) often used in debates. The logic is based on the difficulty of disproving a negative in a large domain.

Prove that the lameness wasn't (there's your negative) resultant earlier shoeing.

Specific example. A long heeled horse presents caudal discomfort. A vet diagnoses 'navicular disease'. A trimmer reduces heel length and the horse goes sound.

Prove that the trimmer didn't (there's your negative) cure navicular syndrome. That logical fallacy is, of course, that the horse did not suffer navicular disease to begin with.

Cheers,
Mark
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