What does it take to tack on a shoe?

by Articles, Equine Hoof Care

What does it take to just “tack on a shoe?”

Have you ever been to a big event and “It” happens… You have lost a shoe! What to do now?

When your horse loses a shoe, it’s a lot like having a tire blowout. Not a big deal if you have the tools and know how to fix it. But what if you don’t know how to tack a shoe on? You might consider going without the shoe… but it seems questionable. You search high and low to find a farrier, and you find one. Afterward you think, “Oh my gosh this guy was expensive to just “tack a shoe on.”

Think with me from the farrier’s perspective. It would seem simple and that there wouldn’t be any liability, but believe me- there is. The farrier will need to unload expensive tools and set them all up for one shoe, tweak around on a wrecked shoe that came off, and then add his or her name to someone else’s job.

Let’s say the shoe is the wrong size or doesn’t fit correctly; now what? Make it work? Would you be happy with that? Would you do that in your everyday work? What if the trim is way off? Will you fix one foot and leave the other feet at different lengths? What if the foot is broken up with nothing to nail to? Yes, you guessed it. You’re now the moron that “hot nailed” the horse.

All a farrier really has is one’s reputation. It’s more important than any certification or title. So you can’t blame them for not wanting to risk that over the price of “tacking shoes on.” That’s why it’s so hard to find show farriers willing to hang out all day to fix lost shoes.

Years ago I was shoeing at a horse trainer’s place and a new guy lost a shoe. I get a shoe put on and he says how much do I owe you? “Whatever you think is fair,” I said. He handed me a crisp $5 bill!

Another time I was shoeing for a client and an older man came up, leading a horse and carrying a shoe. He tells me he needs this shoe tacked on and asks what I would charge him. I say $40, and he said, “What! I have the shoe, how about $20?” I said, “No sir, it’s still $40.” He walks off, then comes back with a $20 bill! “Will you please tack this shoe on? It will be simple, it will just take some nails and I’ll pay you $20.” He was a friendly guy, so I said I’d do it. It was not simple at all! Worse yet, I didn’t even want to be associated with the result.

Unless they had shod the horse originally, most farriers will charge you around 20-40% of their full shoeing price. It takes a lot of knowledge to “tack a shoe on.” Anytime you’re paying someone in the service business, you are paying for what they know, not what they did.

I say that if you can’t do it yourself and you find a farrier willing to get your lost shoe back on, don’t complain about the price. Instead, give them a tip for saving the day and thank them for getting you back in the arena!

God Bless America

This article first appeared at Mustad.com