As we head into the fall here in western Washington, the rain is just around the corner. And by rain, I mean a generous sprinkling or light misting and gray skies for the next several months. We might not see the sun for WEEKS here. It is muddy, soggy, dark by 4:30pm and did I mention muddy?
I have been getting increasingly busier with clients as my business takes off and it is wonderful. I love my job and I love making money doing something that I find valuable and meaningful. I am very lucky.
Some of my amazing clients include:
A client who is now too pregnant to bend down and pick her horse’s feet out, so she is recruiting friends to stop by the barn, pick out feet, and treat for thrush.
A client who has so completely overhauled her three horse’s diets to compliment the transition process from shod to barefoot that I now ask her questions about nutrition!
A client who had a gut feeling her gelding had a deep thrush infection despite no smell and no appearance of thrush, and her previous hoof care provider dismissing her concerns. A few months later after religious treatment with Red Horse Products, his central sulcus’ are filling in with new healthy frog tissue.
A client who had two farriers refuse to pull shoes for her on a gelding who had a toe crack (citing that the hoof would completely fall apart without shoes) who drove to the local feed store, bought a rasp and shoe pullers, and when I pulled up to the appointment, had a hoof propped up on a bucket rasping off the clinches.
A client who is so interested in learning to trim that he already has several books, is purchasing all the necessary tools, and has worked hard on all his horses to ensure they behave for me when I trim.
These clients are willing to put in the time and invest the money into their horse’s hoof and overall health.
Your Hoofcare Provider’s Suggestions
Most of the time when I spot an issue or discuss something with an owner, I am going to suggest doing something that takes time, money, or both. This might mean something small like buying a hay net so your horse can have access to more hay but eat slowly. It might mean something big, like moving to a different barn where you can prioritize your horse’s health. Not all boarding barns are actually set up with horses in mind. I am constantly recommending that clients treat thrush, which means buying treatment products and actually applying them. I might suggest that you change their diet, add in trace minerals, subtract processed grains and anything with sugar.
Some things I suggest are phrased as suggestions but are actually really important — like treating thrush. Other times, we discuss things that would happen if we lived in a perfect world, which we don’t. I know not all of my clients can or will follow the perfect plan to have a healthy and barefoot horse. We do the best with what we have and what we can do.
However, I know when I am going to be able to make progress with a horse’s feet, and when I am not. I know when I will be able to maintain the status quo (avoiding things from getting any worse) but not make much positive change. And likewise, I know when I am completely set up for success. This is the case for all hoofcare providers. You get a sense for that really fast once you start seeing clients.
So if you have concerns, comments, or worries, always check with your hoofcare provider! And give them an opportunity to be completely honest with you about what your horse may need for their best feet and their best health. Knowing that it will cost time + money, just like everything else horse related!