Saturday, May 3, 2014

Instability

I had the same hay farmer and the same farrier for 12 years when I lived in Nevada, but my experiences in Arizona have been very different.  In the past year, three of my hay suppliers have gone or are going out of business.  Then this past week my farrier gave me the news that he's retiring and moving out of state in a few weeks.  He gave me a list of four barefoot trimmers who he hadn't heard any complaints about.  I asked him how many of his clients received this list from him, and he said all of them.  I was one of the last clients to receive the news about this being my last trim with him, so I knew I had little chance of finding a new farrier on his list who would have room for me.  There definitely is a shortage of barefoot trimmers in this area, especially ones who have studied with Pete Ramey.

I don't like the unknown.  I called around and got one farrier who promised me she'd trim my horses when they are due in June, but she wouldn't set up an appointment ahead of time.  She said she'd call me closer to those dates.  I have never had a farrier who doesn't schedule appointments in advance, so I'm skeptical.  One of the things I loved about my old farrier was that he would write me in on his calendar exactly 8 weeks from the day he trimmed them, same day, same time, because he knew it worked for me.  I never had to talk to him on the phone.  He never called to remind me of the appointment.  He just showed up every 8 weeks like clockwork and I was always waiting for him.  Nice and simple.

I was really happy with the last batch of grass hay I bought, and the supplier assured me that they have grass year round.  I don't have to order it only during growing season.  They also delivered as much as I needed and stacked it for a small fee.  I thought I was set for life with the perfect arrangement.  Then I found out this week that they went out of business too.  I'm sure there are other options, but when I think of the hundreds of other customers who also lost their hay supplier, the future scares me.

My hay farmer in Nevada had been threatening to go out of business every year for the last ten years I used him, and I learned that it was all talk to scare the clients so that they would not complain so much about his price hikes.  I wished he'd stop doing that, because he caused me a lot of worry and stress every time he came around shooting off his mouth that this may be my last hay delivery.  At least I had a pasture and a couple of feed stores as an option.  We had a problem with local hay farmers selling out to foreign countries and subdivisions.  I always wondered where the loyalty to locals was.

Anyway, I'm sad to see my farrier go.  He's been a good friend to me.  He actually had been firing clients over the past year if they or their horses were difficult to work with, and he told me that even though he'd been trying to cut back on the number of horses he trimmed, he hung in there for me, because I was one of his best clients and my horses are well behaved.  Unfortunately, he has to go out of business with a back injury caused by a young horse.

My husband thinks I should study barefoot trimming and start my own business, but when you consider all of my health problems and my age, I don't think I am a candidate.  You have to be strong and have a good back to trim hooves all day.  My hands are so weak that I've never been able to squeeze hard enough to trim off my horses' hoof walls.  All I can do is file and pick.

But, I tell you, my farrier taught me enough about barefoot trimming that if I were actually capable of memorizing all of it, I probably could at least go into it with some depth of knowledge.  But, I have memory problems in addition to being old and weak and sick all the time.  So, hopefully, this next farrier will work out, and I can find a new hay supplier who offers both quality hay and a decent delivery service.  I really don't want to have to drive somewhere to pick up a load of hay every weekend.  I'm more of a bi-annual delivery kind of gal.

12 comments:

TeresaA said...

that sucks. It's difficult these days with hay and farriers. My farrier doesn't book ahead either. But he does good work so we make it work.

fernvalley01 said...

its rough when you find a good farrierand they retire, I had one I thought I would never be able to replace, and it did take some trial and error(went through some rotters! But the y fello I have now is awesome , and so is his brother , and they are both reasonable young so ...I can trim a little here and there but it is very hard I agree.Maybe ask a few friends close by who they recommend

Katharine Swan said...

I'm sorry to hear it. I'm in a similar boat -- the vet I've had since Panama was coming 3 is unexpectedly moving out of state. I like the vet he sold his practice to -- she would have been my second choice -- but it worries me how busy she is likely to be now, even with the additional vet she's adding to her practice.

Cut-N-Jump said...

So were you getting your grass from B&B then? Because I went past there the other day and they looked deserted, the building has been repainted, the feed shed was empty, the yard was empty and I've wondered what the heck happened?

Did they move? Did they close? They've been there for ever! I wonder if the semi-big box type store down the street did them in. I know that happens sometimes.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

CNJ - Yes, B&B went out of business. They had better quality hay than the semi-big box store down the street, but I guess I'll be going there now. I just wish I could find a hay farmer to buy grass directly from to save money. Buying from feed stores is a little too re-retail for me.

Cindy D. said...

Shoppers used to get their hay from "The Hay Barn" but then the Equine buyer decided to go with someone different so they could make more money off of it. The hay is CRAP! Do not buy it. I You can buy from the Hay Barn direct, but I do not know what their prices are. I Like to buy from G Farms out of Stanfield. They have nice hay, but it is a drive and I don't know that they will deliver this far out. However,if I go out there again, I would be glad to let you know ahead of time, and can double the load.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Cindy - Thanks for the advice and the offer. That's amazing that you've got to travel that far for decent hay. I wouldn't dream of imposing on you. I probably just need to do what my husband has been threatening to do for a long time... which is to buy a flatbed trailer and pick up and stack our own from distant farms. My main issue with that is that I can't lift most bales, which leaves my husband to do all the work, and he almost always gets hurt. He's had both knee and shoulder injuries and surgeries. That's why delivery is so important. I'm willing to pay extra for 2 or 3 strong men to lift and stack.

Cindy D. said...

If I was going there already it would not be an imposition. If it would make you feel better you could split the gas with me. :-) Also I know of two teenaged boys that would be happy to stack your hay for your for cheap.

But it will be a while before I go again, so I really think you should try calling The Hay Barn. I know that they do deliver.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Cindy - Yeah, I've probably got enough hay to last me through July or August, and I'll try The Hay Barn first. If they won't deliver to me, I'll check with you and see when your next trip is and if the boys are available. Thanks.

lilyrose said...

Try the Hay Barn. We have been getting our hay from them for the last several years. They do deliver for a reasonable fee...I think $20? We usually buy a squeeze at a time. The hay quality has been consistent. We are also barefoot people. Our farrier comes up from Tucson. We really like her.

Cut-N-Jump said...

The Hay Barn is typically pretty reasonable on everything and they seem to have locations all over the valley. Otherwise I have heard of another one up your way called Hoofs, but I have no idea where they are or how to reach them. Local bloggers???

I know katphoti used to use them all the time for grass. I know she had to sell off her one gelding and was heartbroken over it. I don't know if she's still got any horses left or not. I don't hear much from her anymore, but I will try texting her to find out.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

lilyrose and CNJ - Thanks for the information.