What goals have you set as a farrier or veterinarian for 2011?

January brings a renewed hope for personal and family progress in the new year.  Starting with New Year’s resolutions, this is the time of year when people tend to set goals and make commitments.   Using this traditional time of the year to evaluate the past and plan for the future are worthwhile, healthy pursuits.

However, by the middle of January, many goals decided at the first of the year are already set aside.  It’s normal for many to experience cycles of progression and other times when it’s more a fight against inevitable challenges of regression.  Yet it’s  important  to not give up because goal setting and making commitments should be a continuous process rather than a once-a-year experience.

An example to illustrate this principle is the way we’ve set up our farrier school. To study important subjects on a regular, daily basis provides a better and longer-lasting understanding of the subject than does last minute “cramming.”  The mind has time to process and ponder the information, weighing the information in relation to other ideas and concepts we teach.  It’s easier to incorporate the information into an over-all perspective.

Cramming, on the other hand, fills the mind with facts and figures, without the information staying around very long.  A person normally prefers to undergo surgery at the hands of a physician who had not crammed for his exams, but rather one who consistently and carefully continues his studies and practice with the commitment to keep learning and progressing.  Just as it is “good medicine” for people to do this, it’s very desirable for horse owners to only allow practiced professionals to work on their valuable horses.

A story told by Dr. George Platt [found in detail on page 728 of The Principles of Horseshoeing (P3)] tells of the importance of “doing work that fits you.”  Some work requires a lot of skill and experience you may not have acquired yet in your career.  In the scenario Dr. Platt discusses a veterinarian working on a founder horse case.  The vet recognizes the farrier “is not up to solving this problem.”  In explaining to the owner the serious condition of the horse, the vet explains the farrier’s role is very critical.  He explains how the farrier he recommends would probably cost about $300 to do the job, and the monthly follow-up would be an important, added expense for about six more months.  Fortunately this owner chose to go with the experienced, well-trained farrier, while the comparison situation, in contrast, doesn’t work out when another owner chooses an incompetent farrier as the cheapest route to go.  (Dr. Platt’s whole explanation in P3 is worth reading.)

The point is that to excel and be capable of treating the horse correctly takes time and effort on the farrier’s part.  There’s more to starting off a new year than only having a few goals in mind, especially if there’s no serious commitment behind those goals.

Selecting worthwhile goals are intermediate mile-posts that mark progress.  Determining your overall “vision” and purpose can have a far-reaching effect on your farrier career and even exceed the importance of goals.  A vision is like a lighthouse, for it gives direction rather than a destination – it’s important to keep this perspective in what you hope to accomplish.

It’s never too late to refocus your vision of future desires, as long as that vision is supported by goals that provide purpose and direction in the here-and-now.   In Star Wars, Yoda had good advice: “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  There must be genuine, wholehearted effort if worthwhile change is to occur.

Values, as well as vision, are important in your farrier business.  Have integrity and sincerity among your new year’s commitments, for example, and you’ll better serve your customers and their valued horses.  There are no shortcuts to any place worth going!  Practice is a means of achieving the perfection desired.  As Irving Berlin, the famed musician, stated, “Talent is only a starting point.”

Dave Ramsey, a well known money management expert, says:

“Malcom Gladwell in his book Outliers studied people who are unusually successful.  He discovered that while some people have a natural predisposition toward some areas, the key was they took the gifts they had and then practiced and studied for thousands of hours to turn their gifts into world-class talents.  In other words, these people made choices, and the “talents” were really acquired skills.

“This stuff doesn’t just occur.  You’re not a born leader [farrier] any more than you’re a born football player, actor or musician.  You may start with a gift, but you have to make a choice to work your tail off if you want to develop that gift to its fullest potential.”

In my own life, I retired from university teaching in 1995, yet no matter how many times I’ve thought about retiring, I seem to keep flunking, or dropping out of, the “retirement course”!  Goal setting, therefore, is still important even at my age!

We’re excited to have a new class starting this week!

  • “I think the school is set up real well because of the way we do class in the morning and then right after have an example in a horse to work on that we had talked about in the lecture. We work on horses until lunch and then forge in the afternoon … it’s a pretty well rounded day.  It helps you learn because you do it. You talk about it, you go out and actually get to see it on the horse, hands-on, so you feel and experience it.   For your homework, you read it, write it down, think about it, and also draw it. It applies to all your senses in every way it can.  The horse I worked on for my final was great, and I felt real good about the job; once again, it gives me even more confidence – knowing I can do the job.”                                              –Guy Nelson, OH
  • “I decided to come back here because I was so satisfied from the first two times I came here.  Each time – the basic and then the advanced class – everything became easier.  I like the teaching style – you have three teachers just for you – it’s a one-to-one teaching system.  It’s the best in my opinion.  You learn all the steps you need to do.  It’s much easier learning when the teaching way is easier.”    — Cristiano Biacca, DVM, Italy
  • “I had a really good time and learned a lot more than I thought I would.  The best part was getting under so many horses.  I had someone from home ask me during our fourth week if I had been able to shoe any horses yet, and I said, ‘Yeah, since the second day!’  I liked the six week course – others I looked at were 12 weeks long, and it didn’t look like I’d do as much as I would at this school in only six weeks.”                           –Dani Jo Rueter, IA
  • “In the morning class – I learned about founder, how to know if a horse has founder and what to do to fix it.  That same day, we work on the horses which have founder – it’s very good:  we learn in the morning and do in the afternoon!  The homework makes me improve – something’s carved into my brain so I can remember that because I’m drawing.  I know how to find something I need to know in the P3 book –it helped me pull things together and apply things.  Here I have everything I need – it’s really convenient.  I can be here and have more time to study than at other schools.  My friend went to another horseshoeing school, and he had to travel to other places to shoe horses, wash clothes, buy his noon meals and get other things he needed.”                                 –Hyunsuk Ma, South Korea
  • BPFS is more in-depth even in the foundation course.  The thing I really respect about Dr. Butler is that the horse comes first.  He’s very interested in the individual horse’s welfare. He taught us to recognize our limitations.  I know where to draw the line when I reach the point that I’m not experienced enough and need to refer something to another more experienced farrier.              –Kelly Avery, Canada

For those of you who don’t yet own The Principles of Horseshoeing (P3), you may purchase it at www.dougbutler.com.

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