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.


Comment on this post (8 comments)

  • Mark S says...

    Shod horses for quite some time a few years back. Got $35 dollars/hd. After all expenses subtracted made about $20 a head. People forget to realize the wear and tear on vehicles, cost of tools, plus if a shoer
    gets hurt and laid up.

    May 11, 2020

  • Larry says...

    I know I’m a little late on this thread but I had to respond. I’ve been a farrier/equine dentist in the SW for 13 yrs. Out here, depending on your location prices vary from 90 to 125+ for a full set. Some places if you don’t charge a lot they don’t think you’re worth a damn or you’re just getting started. I charge 95-100. I do not charge fuel although many do. I live in the oil country where the cost of living is ridiculously inflated, Weather conditions are extreme, driving is a suicide mission, roads are crappy, fuel & supplies are high priced, everyone has a “needed it done yesterday, call at the last minute” mentality. There is a lot that goes into that $100 that most people don’t realize. On top of all that it’s hard work & hard on your body & most shoers if they’re working alone aren’t shoeing all day because it’s hard on them. Shoeing horses is irregular as well. You may have a really busy day/week then it may be slower the next day/week. Often when people are shocked at the price I’ll say “well you crawl under one & tell me what it’s worth when you’re done!” I’m not meaning to step on anyone’s toes just giving a different perspective.

    January 08, 2019

  • Jim says...

    Andy, it’s kind of like what I told a gent a number of years ago when he was complaining about what my partner and I charged for some drywall repairs. “We don’t do this for fun.” Just saying.

    June 07, 2018

  • Jo Anne says...

    30 for a trim and 70 for fronts, but I get a break in price because this fellow has done my horse for years and he’s included in 10 head that get done each time this fellow comes out. Because there are a lot of horses here, he is on a 2 to 3 week schedule.

    June 07, 2018

  • Edith says...

    You are putting me on my soapbox Andy…
    I left a much larger post before reading this in FB, but you fired me up again over mileage.

    1. Typically when someone drives to work, they drive to one place then go home at the end of the day. Farriers / Shoers / Iron Hangers drive up to 5 places in a day with some being easily 30 miles apart.

    2. We only charged mileage when fuel prices hit $4.00 a gallon and the client was more than 30 miles out. Even then it was a low flat rate.

    June 07, 2018

  • Outfitter's Grunt says...

    So up here in British Columbia it changes alot depending on where you are but from what I’ve seen the average is about $120 dollars for a set of four. I started out trimming hooves at 20 dollars per head until I saw what other more experienced farriers were charging. I was talking to a buddy and he said his farrier is 60 dollars for just a trim. So I upped mine to 40 because I’ve been doing it a few years now and have got better thanks to some instruction from a good ol boy. So the question is, what is it worth? There is a huge demand for new farriers and it suits my lifestyle so I’m getting in on it!
    I’ll be glad to hear opinions or tips, the day you stop learning something new is the day you die.

    June 07, 2018

  • Callie says...


    Most barns here don’t put shoes all the way around because it’s too dangerous and expensive… it’ll cause too much damage if a horse kicks another.

    June 07, 2018

  • Callie says...

    I live just outside Charleston South Carolina (military) and my farrier charges $60 for steel fronts. Other carriers charge $85+ for steel fronts.

    June 07, 2018

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