The snow continues to melt. The trails are opening back up. The trail crews are back on payroll and earning every cent of that $10 an hour, running those crosscut saws from sunrise to sunset and then hiking to the next issue that needs addressed and cut out of the trail…Now that the trail conditions are improving the topic of conversation has changed around Trailhead Supply’s coffee pot. The hot topic of the week are farriers, shoeing the ponies. As the sun stays up longer and the trails are being cut open one of the big preparations we all have to do is get some steel nailed on the mules. Holy cow did the farriers union renegotiate??? I’m being attacked by every customer I have. What is your farrier charging this year? Who do you use? Is he any good? Is he taking new customers? But what does he charge? Its got so bad that I went in for my physical the other day and my doctor was quizzing me about farriers. Now, before you fill my inbox full of hate mail lets look at the big picture. The average rate in NW Montana is $90 to $100 per head. And some farriers charge mileage!!! Truthfully, that is what upsets me the most. I’m 57 years old and have been working since I was 11 years old, and I never got paid to drive to work…NEVER!!! So, now lets move past the mileage issue or I will be on that subject all day. I can only use myself as an example, and I know rates are different all over the country…so bare with me. The farrier comes to the house not to do just one…I have eleven and I help whoever the lucky one is. We can turn almost 2 and hour. That’s $200 an hour!! Well its not really $200 an hour they do have to spend $12 on shoes. At this point my doctor stops me and says, he doesn’t make $200 an hour and he has a decade of schooling and a lifetime of student loans to payback. So, as everyone continues to complain about the rates of shoeing this year and drinking my coffee…Remember they only get $100 a head because you're willing to pay $100 per head, don’t blame the farrier Its really all of our fault we hand him the cash. On a side note: maybe this is just a simple issue of supply and demand, and proof that the "trades" industry in the USA really does need some new blood willing to work hard and get their hands dirty. But now that you got new kicks on the horses lets hit the trail.
See you on the trail.