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The Cost of Shoeing a Horse

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Added 12th September 2016

How did you (or will you) calculate the cost you charge your clients? Was it a lecture at college during your apprenticeship? Will it be what your ATF charged? Will it be influenced by farriers in your area – perhaps it will be more or less? Have you sat down and worked out your costs, what you will need to earn to live now AND provide for your future?

We have thrown some numbers around; not to provide exact figures for pricing your work but to provoke thought. Individual circumstances will vary; you may be registered for VAT, you may be travelling more or less, you will each buy different materials and tools and work in a different way.

To receive the calculations document - The Cost of Shoeing a Horse - please email me.

I'll be honest, these calculations were inspired by a newly qualified farrier charging £50 a set on a 'BOGOF' offer. I couldn't help but wonder what thought processes (if any) went into this price tag. This is less than was paid for my pony to be shod more than 20 years ago. Farriers should be proud of the qualification earned and the profession entered; aspire to be valued for your expertise and knowledge.

Farriery is a skilled profession. It is also incredibly hard work. Very few farriers are comfortable later in their career shoeing the number of horses they shod per day at the beginning of their career. You may choose to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ and capitalise when fitness is on your side. Whatever the choice, quality of work should remain to be of paramount importance – the shoeing of horses is a welfare issue. When prices are driven down, corners are cut. It's the reason that horse meat ended up being on supermarket shelves. Chasing the clock, using cheaper products, not reinvesting or replacing equipment and not investing in your own health and professional development can lead to a drop in standards and ultimately it is the horse that suffers.

Some thoughts -

  • Travel is a large cost - would concentrating on a smaller area be more economical and efficient, allowing for a better standard of service?
  • If better quality shoes are purchased which may be more likely to be refitted at the following appointment could this be more economical than fitting cheaper shoes that wear more quickly and need replacing everytime?
  • If time allows, is it more economical to hand make shoes?
  • If you are not investing in an accident or sickness policy, how will you manage if you are unable to work?
  • If you are not saving for a pension, are you investing elsewhere to provide for your future?

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