Farrier On A Motorcycle
I, like many others, started out in a pickup truck with a cap. I carried a fair assortment of hand tools and an assortment of shoes. A portable anvil stand and a one burner forge with some steel flat stock to make shoes I didn’t have with me. If you don’t carry all the shoes you need, it’s lost business to tell the customer you’ll be back later. I had no problem making shoes as I was also doing ornamental blacksmithing back home and considered it part of the tradition.
A little while later I apprenticed under a nationally known farrier who worked on show Saddlebreds exclusively. He also worked on show Morgans, if he had to, so he was happy to turn them over to me. He worked out of a vintage step van he had converted from a blue and yellow bakery truck. He made it into a machine shop and blacksmith shop complete with coal forge. Also, lots of weighted shoes…about a half ton worth and pads. So, I modeled my new/old truck after him, except for the coal forge. Propane was quicker and neater. I got a deal on an old postal delivery truck complete with power lift gate and flashing light on top.
I made more money shoeing the show horses and I really enjoyed working out of the truck. I always was more at home in a blacksmith/welding/machine shop. What I didn’t like was driving the thing and particularly disliked parking it in tight spaces at the smaller barns I still did. It didn’t handle well any time and leaned around turns. My 4WD pickup I could drive around behind a barn, but not the shop van. I did more walking. As you can imagine, my gas mileage was terrible. It was a heavy truck filled with steel stuff.
When I started doing more with HoofArmor I did less with the shop truck. Family issues made me temporarily give up the show barns and start a new practice so I started doing more barefoot trimming and HoofArmor application. A friend gave me a Honda 500 and, with some saddlebags; I was a mobile farrier. For a while after that I still did some shoeing and could get by with a few shoes and a stall jack. Makeshift, but got the job done and the bottom line is if the customer gets the end result, not how it’s done.
Now I only do barefoot trimming and HoofArmor and I can do it out of my car or my Harley. New clients are surprised when they call me and I show up on the bike. Old clients ask where the bike is if I show up in my car. I never had any negative responses and I enjoy the ride better than I ever did driving the old shop truck. The nice part is that HoofArmor is “one size fits all” and now I carry very little inventory. Is this the future of hoof care? The Trimmers Motorcycle Club?