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Five ways to save money Shoeing your Horse

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.

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 assess 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?

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.

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, veterinarians, gel
pads, etc. This all costs more than having your horse's feet
worked on when they need it.

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.

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 horse's sake!

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.

Geronimo Bayard
The Village Blacksmith

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