5 Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Farrier Business

Attrition rate is a term often used in the sphere of business management to refer to the occurrence of loss, whether it involves clients, goods, or employee turnover. A high attraction rate is generally undesirable for companies. It's crucial to undertake a deep, analytical review to unearth the root causes behind the dissipation of clientele and workforce.

In the hoof-care industry, a significant attrition rate is, regrettably, somewhat expected. This can be seen both in the fluctuation of clients on a professional's roster and in the number of new industry entrants who fail to establish a successful practice and decide to exit the field.

For those in the hoof-care profession, the challenge lies in maintaining client happiness, dealing with the capricious nature of handling horses, and simultaneously enjoying work.

1. Losing Your Cool About a Horse

At the close of a sweltering summer’s day, you come to your final appointment — the last horse, the final foot. Bailey, seemingly impatient, wrests his hoof from your hold. Two thoughts flash through your mind:

  1. Prepare yourself for an equine rebellion with a potential kick.

  2. Take a moment to consider – perhaps an irksome fly is to blame, or Bailey's advanced years and possible joint pain are making him cantankerous.

Your patrons regard Bailey with the same affection as a cherished family member, and they will, undeniably, scrutinize you and the quality of your service through the lens of how you manage their Bailey. It's crucial to hone your skills in horsemanship. Learn to discern between behavioral responses rooted in aggression and those in fear. Engage in dialogue with your client about the challenges Bailey poses to your work. Devise a collaborative strategy by pondering the following:

  • What strategies can augment Bailey's confidence during foot handling?

  • Should we consult a veterinarian to consider sedation?

  • Is there a behavioral concern that requires the attention of the client or a horse trainer?

How you support a horse's hoof communicates volumes to the animal. Are you the one who courteously invites and patiently waits for the horse to present its hoof, or do you commandingly seize and hoist it? The last thing you want is a reputation as a farrier who lacks patience. Exercising kindness toward the horse not only manifests your professionalism but also signals to your client that you hold their equine companion in high esteem.

2. Go Beyond Your Knowledge

Early in your journey as a farrier, you'll undoubtedly face scenarios that are familiar from your studies, yet uncharted in practice. When confronted with such situations, you're presented with a critical choice. You can either rely solely on your academic knowledge and tackle the challenge independently, or acknowledge the limits of your experience and seek guidance from a seasoned mentor or continue to develop your knowledge base.

Sure, it can be difficult to find a craftsman locally to lean on, but you can also take advantage of the many benefits that websites, YouTube and social media provide. Start with research online to discover the best practices in your field. As you conduct your research, don’t forget to set up privacy settings on your Iphone or Android device so you can browse safely.

3. Communication Problems

To ensure retention and low turnover of clients, effective communication is paramount. Establish clear parameters regarding the nature of your professional engagement with clients.

Initiate this by outlining your expectations from client interactions within your business. For instance, clarify that you cater only to well-mannered equines. Specify the need for adequate work conditions such as protection from weather conditions, and state that payment is expected immediately upon completion of services.

A frequent client complaint and reason for seeking new services is a lack of responsiveness—"my previous farrier simply vanished without a trace," or "I never heard back after calling." Avoid falling into this trap by maintaining open lines of communication.

4. Allowing Risky Practices

Adhering to sound principles of hoof care is critical to avoiding undue hazards. Appreciation from equine owners and their horses will be a testament to your conscientious approach.

A myriad of novel methods for addressing hoof ailments exist. When presented with an innovative method or product, pause to consider equine anatomy and physiological hoof functions critically. Pose essential questions to yourself:

  • Could this method or gadget inadvertently inflict harm?

  • Is this considered high-risk?

  • Am I prepared to vouch for the results of my work?

Resist the allure of the latest trend or gadget uncritically. Do they necessitate specialized training for application? Evaluate them rigorously — only you can determine if they serve the horse's best interest and achieve the desired outcome.

5. You Are Not Growing a Farrier Business

Lifelong learning isn't mandated in many places, including the US and Canada, but it's essential for personal and professional growth. Don't fall into complacency—strive for continuous improvement.

Setting into a comfortable routine can feel safe, yet it comes with risks. Conforming to the mindset that "it's just enough" can lead to stagnation and even burnout. We must always be on a quest for enhancing our skills; otherwise, we risk diminishing passion and proficiency in our professions.

The domain of farriery exemplifies an industry where knowledge is never static. The more proficient you become, the more you understand there's a wealth of information yet to be discovered. Fortunately, opportunities for learning are abundant. Free clinics, widely available across the country, provide not just learning but also networking possibilities with peers who are equally eager to refine their craftsmanship. Such interactions can spark motivation, insight, and lasting connections.

The digital landscape also offers an abundance of resources. In addition to The Farrier Guides's many resources, there are plenty of other valuable sites such as the American Farriers Journal, with its treasure trove of educational videos, webinars and articles. In addition to websites, YouTube is an invaluable source of information, where you can find answers to even the most specific questions you may have. You'd be surprised just what level of detail you can find in the videos there.


Building a successful farrier career requires more than just technical skills. It takes dedication, constant learning, and effective communication to establish and maintain a thriving business. By recognizing the importance of these factors and continuously striving for improvement, you can become a respected farrier who is sought after by horse owners. Remember to always prioritize the well-being of the horse above all else and seek guidance from experienced mentors to further develop your expertise.


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