|Consider A Shoeing Body As
|A Long-Term Investment
|By doing so, you could be shoeing out of a fancy rig
for $100 per month
|By Frank Lessiter, Editor/Publisher AMERICAN FARRIERS JOURNAL www.americanfarriers.com
WHILE MANY SHOEING RIGS appear very fancy and
look like they carry a hefty price tag, using one can certainly do a great deal for your
business. Besides boosting your shoeing efficiencies by saving valuable time and storing
tools and supplies in a convenient location, one of these rigs can also boost your
professional image. Representing an investment of around $13,000 the shoeing rig shown
here has a life span of at least 15 years, maintains Brent Chidsey of Stone Well Bodies
& Equipment in Genoa, N.Y. "The typical farrier will move a shoeing body to a
different truck every 4 or 5 years," he says. "If you used the same shoeing body
for 15 years, it would typically be used on three trucks. In addition, the federal
government allows you to depreciate a shoeing body over 5 years for tax purposes, which
means theyll help pay for much of the cost of a new body and help you trim your
annual costs." The owner of this rig, Lee Liles, has been shoeing for 35 years. While
his family concentrates on breeding and showing Quarter Horses at Carousel Farms in
Sulphur, Okla., he still shoes some horses and runs the National Museum Of Horseshoeing
Tools & Hall Of Honor.
||SPLIT DOORS ARE CONVENIENT.
Fold-back doors located on both sides of this Stone Well body make it much easier and
safer to shoe in narrow barn alleyways.
|"When you analyze
the investment in one of these shoeing bodies, it only costs you about $1,200 a year and
thats a pretty reasonable investment," says Liles. "For $100 per month,
youll get a time-saving, highly efficient and convenient rig that can be
depreciated, yet still has some resale value when youre done with it." While
most people that buy these rigs dont end up shoeing more horses, the increased
efficiency and time savings would allow you to shoe a couple more horses per month that
would result in enough dollars to pay for a rig like this one. Instead, most buyers say
these rigs give them more time for themselves and their family while going home less tired
and feeling better at the end of the day.
|COMBINE WORK NEEDS. By
locating a drill press, belt sander, band saw, vise, welder and other items all in one
area, you can improve your shoeing efficiency. Note the convenient pull-out vise at right.
Major Rig Benefits
When designing this shoeing rig with Chidsey,
Liles wanted a unit where tools and supplies are easy to reach and a unit designed to make
a shoer much more efficient. Heres what he sees as major benefits for this rig.
1Liles likes the split doors that fold back to narrow the width of the rig
when shoeing. "With these doors, you can more effectively utilize your shoeing space
in a narrow barn alleyway and shoe under safer conditions," says Liles. "With
the older doors that increased the working width of the rig, owners and trainers were
scared that a young colt might become spooked by the truck and run into the shoeing body
door possibly injuring both horse and rider. "The split door is a great safety
benefit when youre working in a barn alley where horses are being moved past your
"A typical shoeing body has a life span of at least 15 years..."
REMINDERS. Essential business items are displayed where clients can easily see them so
there are no questions about payment or shoeing work.
|2As farriers become older, Liles says a swing-out anvil
and forge become major benefits. "This protects your back and means you dont
have to lift these items in and out of your truck at every stop," he says. "You
can also get set up and started shoeing much faster with this equipment." Chidsey
says using a swing-out anvil lets a shoer use a heavier anvil, which makes it easier to
work steel shoes. Yet one disadvantage of a swing-out anvil is that it will be positioned
at the same angle as your truck. "Youve got to have your truck level to keep
your anvil level and if you shoe in a hilly area, keeping the truck level may be a serious
problem," he says. "Consider this before you add a swing-out anvil."
SAVE YOUR BACK. A
swing-out anvil and forge enable farriers to set up fast for shoeing work while avoiding
lifting heavy equipment. Plenty of drawers and compartments make it extremely easy to find
needed tools and supplies.
|3Liles added air bags (sometimes called air springs) to
provide a smoother ride. "These bags stabilize the truck, keep the body level and
provide extra clearance between the body and tires with a heavy load," he says.
"When Im pulling a three-horse trailer, I increase the air pressure in the bags
from 25 to 70 pounds to keep the shoeing body from bottoming out on the wheels," he
says. "This lets me get by with single wheels rather than dual wheels, which
qualifies as a commercial vehicle in many states." Chidsey says the Firestone air
bags are an alternative to placing extra leaf springs in the trucks suspension
system. They can be easily removed and installed on your next truck. "Very similar to
air shocks, these bags can be adjusted for air pressure up to 100 pounds per square
inch," he says. "Theyre designed much like the air bags that people
install on semi-trailers to provide good suspension."
|4Liles stores a stall jack, shoeing box and apron in a
side compartment thats also used to store keg shoes. "When you have only one
horse to shoe at a barn or show, its convenient to open this compartment and get out
every-thing thats needed," he says. "You can get a lot done with just a
stall jack and a couple of keg shoes when you only have one horse to do.
I pull a trailer of horses to a show or a roping contest, I dont have to unhook the
trailer and raise the back door to get out my shoeing box when someones horse has
lost a shoe. This can be a serious problem when trailering horses with a shoeing
"The typical farrier will move a shoeing body to a different truck every 4 or 5
|5"I like keeping all of my shoeing items in a specific place
where theyre always easy to find and reach," Liles says. "For example,
lets take making a pad for a shoe on gaited horses," he says.
"Everything thats needed to do this
work is located along the drivers side of this rig. "I can assemble a pad and
shoe without walking back and forth around the truck. Its easy to rivet a pad, cut
the pad with the band saw, use the belt sander to clean it up and drill holes through both
the pad and shoe with the drill press. "Without taking more than a couple of steps, I
can easily do all of this work, which leads to much more shoeing efficiency."
|6Liles says accessibility to tools and supplies is still
another major benefit with this rig. "You dont have to pull out tools and
supplies to reach some-thing else," he says. "Its much easier to inventory
supplies. Everything is kept in the same place all the time, which makes it much easier to
do your shoeing work."
||QUICK SHOEING COMPARTMENT. A
front compartment stores a stall jack, shoeing box, apron and keg shoes.This makes it easy
to get out equipment needed to shoe only one horse without opening all of the rig doors or
unhitching a horse trailer. A large removable plastic box contains maintenance tools for
use away from the shoeing rig.
|7Being able to adapt the rig for special tools is still
another benefit.A good example is the Milwaukee portable band saw. This is a $300 unit
thats frequently used by plumbers and framing crews on a construction site. By
adding a bracket and plate to anchor the bandsaw, its been turned into a low-cost
|8Liles mounted the shoeing body on a four-door Ford
350 1-ton truck. "I like a four-door truck because the backseat can end up being your
shoeing business office," he says. "Since a horseshoer spends so much time in
his or her truck, this extra space can prove to be very valuable."
The extra passenger doors come in handy when traveling with
apprentices or if you want to take another farrier, a vet or client to lunch. It's also a
handy place to store jackets, boots, hats, clean t-shirts and sweatshirts.
|9Theres a special compartment for hanging
clothes in the front of the rig on the drivers side. Whether its just a couple
of shirts to use in hot shoeing weather or a place to store clothes for an overnight trip,
Chidsey says 25 percent of farriers who order a Stone Well shoeing body ask for clothes
Both Liles and Chidsey agree that
the key to designing a shoeing body is to avoid wasted space, providing plenty of storage
and coming up with the personalized arrangement of tools, equipment and supplies that
works best for you and leads to increased shoeing efficiencies. By meeting these basic
requirements, you can shoe out of a rig that can readily pay for itself in the months and
years to come.
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