The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Joey and Samson Again

The trimming business is slow. I had one new client just before Christmas, and occasionally I'll get a repeat-business call, but things got to where I finally gave up and went to the job fair at the ski slope and applied to work in the rentals department. It pays horribly (even more so when you factor in tax), as most people who work there do so mainly for the sake of free skiing benefits, but I thought I'd better do something, however meagre, to increase our income. It was not to be, however, as they never called me back.

As most people whom I've trimmed for seemed happy with my work, I chose not to be paranoid about the lack of calls from existing clients, but to chalk it up to Procrastination - something which I know all about myself. 

I trimmed the two minis Joey and Samson back in June. Their owner asked me to call her in a couple of months to schedule another trim. So, I called back in August, left a message, and received no reply. Same thing in September. After that, I let it go, not wishing to be a pest.

The owner finally called me two days ago to schedule an appointment, and off I went today, wearing my long underwear, as winter has finally kicked in. I found the horses' feet to be not over-long, and their heels were nice and wide. The horses are kept at their owner's son's place. He is a really nice guy and loves animals. He had the brilliant idea to lay a slab of concrete, about maybe 8' x 8', which the horses like to stomp around on. They go up on the slab and paw the ground. I honestly would never have thought that horses would put a concrete slab to such good use, but it has worked very well to keep their hoofs balanced and not overgrown.

Joey, the little stallion, who was pretty good last time, was even more friendly and cooperative today and stood without being held. His buddy, the gelding Samson, is much more nervous and mistrustful. He was held while I worked on him and was quite resistant at first, as he had been last time also. However, as is often the case, when he realized that I wasn't going to force him to do anything, and that I was trying to help him figure out how to find comfortable positions, he too became cooperative. One of his hind feet was ok resting on the stand; the other was only happy resting on the toe of my boot. He didn't like picking up his RF, but again, when I showed him we didn't have to lift it up very high and that I was aware he was uncomfortable, he relented and allowed me to work on it.

The owner's son has a little flock of goats, of whom he is very fond and whose names and lineages he told me in detail. He has already provided them with some goat playground equipment, but he's planning to build a deluxe high platform with ramps. (I wonder if the minis will feel a little annoyed at the goats' ability to climb up onto a level inaccessible to horses.) It's always nice to meet someone who tries to provide a happy home for their animals.

After I'd trimmed Joey and Samson, they went off to play together. Joey is the dominant, bossy one - but in play Samson bites back. A good reminder that in the horse world, it's ok to be sassy to the leader.

p.s. All day long I've been finding myself in an unexpectedly good mood. This evening, as I pause and take time to reflect, I find that it is because of my encounter this morning with Joey and Samson.


  1. I book in my client's next trim at the end of the previous visit. I get my diary out and find a slot for them right then and there that suits the horse's trim cycle needs as per my recommendation, as well as the owner's schedule. That way, you don't wait for them to contact you, the horse gets done when it needs to, your reputation gets better, and you get repeat business. Voila!

    Nice blog, btw. I've added it to my list. :)

  2. Thanks, Lisa!
    That's a good idea about booking the next visit right away. I think I'll start offering that. I was thinking a while ago that I might offer a discount if people book an appointment for within, say, 10 weeks of the present appointment.

  3. I have been thinking about my pricing structure too. How much do you charge? An where are you from?

    I am in Sydney, Australia and I charge $40 for a maintenance trim. $50 for a set up, $60 for a set up with shoe removal. Extra $5 for a boot fitting, and only $35 per horse for a maintenance trim if there is more than one horse being done during that visit.

    I like to keep all my clients on a 4 or 5 weekly trim cycle, because much more than that and I find their feet get too long and it reflects badly on my trim to other people. I had stopped trimming a couple of horses because the owner would leave it 2 or 3 months between trims so it was a set up trim each time, no progress in their feet and people were starting to talk saying my trim wasn't great because they knew I did those horses. So I dropped them.

  4. I'm in Pennsylvania. I charge $40/horse, $30/mini - and if it's in my own town, I charge $30/horse, $20/mini. More than 30 miles, and I'll charge a mileage fee.
    Thing is, most of the horses I see are backyard/barnyard horses, who mostly aren't ridden. There's absolutely no way on earth their owners would agree to their being trimmed that often, nor could they afford it. My friend in this area who trims insists on seeing horses at least every 8 weeks or more often. But the good-old-boy farmers whose horses I do just wouldn't go for it.

  5. But I'm going to start offering a discount for re-booking under - let's be conservative here - three months. Cos most of clients are batting at around 6 months let's face it.

  6. Ah, I see. I'm lucky in that my clients are one horse pleasure owners who love them above all else and just want to spend every last cent on keeping them healthy and happy. It is super rewarding work if you an get those kind of clients.

  7. Yeah, that sounds nice! However, in defence of my farmer types, they are fond of their horses - they just have a farmer's thrifty attitude about everything! And honestly I've been surprised at how well some of them do - even improving between trims.