Every farrier runs into the same problems over the course of a shoeing career. One of the most annoying for me, without a doubt, is the old, “stand him up” misconception. How many times are we as farriers going to have to hear, “I need you to really back up his toes and leave all the heel you can.” Just the sound of the words makes me sick to my stomach. It’s time horse owners and farriers alike learn what happens when you “really back up the toe and leave all the heel you can.”
Often times as farriers we work really hard to become better at our trade, but neglect working to become better at the business side. Recently, I picked up Terry Stevers, a hero of mine, to go to a clinic. On the way there I was picking his brain and he told me there are three things required to be a successful farrier. The first thing was, you must have the hand-eye coordination to shoe a horse to his conformation. The second was, you must be able to manage his money well enough to continue his practice. The last thing he said was, you must be a people person. It was the last of the three that struck home with me.
Recently, I read a Facebook post that used a quote from Craig Trnka. The quote read: “The Single greatest threat to farriers is isolation.” After reading I asked myself “Is that the single greatest threat to farriers?” That’s a pretty tall order. “The single greatest?” I agree isolation is a big threat and probably ends some careers, but it’s 2013, and there are too many ways to fix that problem, if you’re willing to.
Everyone has their own ideas about apprenticeships and whether or not they are a good idea for young (new) farriers. It’s my personal belief that an apprenticeship is a must in every farrier’s career. This is probably because all of the great farriers I was lucky enough to spend time with, were big believers in apprenticeships and most of them have studied under multiple mentors, as did I.
n the last post I talked about mentors and the impact a great mentor will have on someone’s life. In this post I want to touch on what makes a great apprentice. I talked a lot about responsibilities of mentors from a leadership stand point. The apprentice’s roles is equally as important. I want to explain the responsibilities every apprentice should learn in order to one day be a mentor that someone else will be lucky enough to have learned from.
I want to end my ‘apprenticeship trilogy’ by answering the following three questions. First, what type of person should I look for in a mentor? The second question is, when should the apprenticeship end? Last but not least, how do I find a mentor? This is just a compilation of information that I could not put in the other posts, and I do feel that this information is very important and will help set you up for success.
There is always one thing that is most important in every business and farriery is no different. There is something you must always remember when you are working. It’s usually an unspoken or unwritten rule, that should be followed without fail. So what is that rule in our industry?
Well it’s now the end of 2013 and we will soon begin 2014. I know many of you still don’t think that the internet has much to offer for the farrier or maybe you just don’t like using new technology. Well it’s out there and you should take advantage. I’m gonna show you three ways the internet will help you this year.
Education in this industry, and every other industry for that matter, is what separates those that go far from those that just get by. One of the things that keep people from gaining real knowledge about farriery, is the terminology. You don’t have to be a genius or a doctor, you just have to practice. If you can master these terms, having an intelligent conversation with vets becomes second nature and you might even earn their respect.