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"Process and Handling Fees" for Farrier/Vet Visits

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  • "Process and Handling Fees" for Farrier/Vet Visits

    I tried to do a search on this, but couldn't find it, forgive me if this has been discussed before.

    I am a BO/BM/NNT. I run a smallish (14 stalls) boarding facility in Tenn. Now that horses are back to day turn out with the cooler weather I have run back in to the same old problem I always run in to... holding horses for the farrier and vet. I feel like I spend hours ever few weeks catching horses for the farrier! In the summer its not a big deal because all the horses are in the barn during the day, plus there is plenty of day light hours to get stuff done. This time of year I feel like I already have limited time to get everything done, and its only made worse on the days the farrier comes.

    I'm wondering as BO/BM and as boarders, what do you all think is a fair fee to charge for holding for the farrier/vet. Some things I'm looking at are: I'd like to charge the same year round so there is no confusion, so I need an average price to charge to reflect the PITA it is in the winter months and the relative ease it is in the summer months. I'd like to charge the same for all farrier care (trims vs shoes) since its the same PITA to catch them no matter what and once they are caught they'll all stand on cross ties. The vet isn't as big a deal. For vaccinations all the horses are done at the same time, so its not really a problem, but recently boarders have asked me to deal with the vet during lameness exams (the owners weren't there at all) and I didn't have a set price to charge them nor did they offer to pay anything.

    I do not want to add these fees in to the board because I do have boarders that are usually out here to catch/hold for the farrier/vet. I have never been at a barn that offers to hold/catch horses for the farrier/vet. The owner was expected to be there for the appointment (a scheduling nightmare!) and in some cases the farriers were expected to catch the horses themselves (not an option at my farm, I just don't think its the farriers job).

    To give you an idea on fees I currently charge $385 for 12x10 stalls and $350 for 10x10 stalls. Lessons are $25 on rider's horse or $35 on one of my schoolies. The only other fee I charge is a $25/month blanketing fee if needed.

    Also, what do you feel is the best way to introduce this fee? BO/BM: What has worked for you in the past? Boarders: What would make you happiest with the change?

    Sorry this is so long, I appreciate everyone's input!
    Brae Mont Farm

  • #2
    I have only been at one barn that offered to hold for the farrier or vet for a fee. All the others the owner had to be there.

    That barn charged $10 for things like that.


    • #3
      $10 per handling need is what is charged at my barn, where indoor stall board is $400/month and outdoor field board (what I do) is $210. I think the $10 is fair, and the only time I've been bothered by it is when I wasn't told the farrier was doing my horse and the fee was tacked on. It wasn't the fee that was the issue in that case, but rather that my horse was done without me knowing. I always try to be out there for farrier and vet, but have an employer who is flexible about such things.

      From a boarder's perspective, I think the way to communicate this is that you are now offering boarders an additional service, and should they choose to use the service it is $10 for each need. Nobody HAS to pay it, and it definitely is a benefit to them if they take advantage of the service. However, I would make sure every boarder has advance notice of work that will be done so they have the opportunity to make the choice to be present or pay the $10.

      You sound like a considerate barn owner, and are very accommodating of boarders' needs!


      • #4
        For the farrier, if they stand for by themselves on the cross ties and the only issue is trying to catch them to bring them in, why not just leave them in? They can be turned out after their feet are done.

        For the vet, do you schedule the visits or do your boarders? Since each visit could be different, I would come up with a reasonable hourly fee for your time and state that if you are to be responsible for handling the horse for the vet they need to contact you and have you make the appointment for when it is most convenient for you..

        I would introduce the fee in a letter or email to all of the boarders 30 days before it takes effect. The letter should explain the amount of the fee and when it will be charged. That way, if people do not want to pay the fee they can make arrrangements to take care of this themselves.
        Last edited by RockinHorse; Nov. 11, 2009, 12:05 PM. Reason: typos
        Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
        Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by RockinHorse View Post
          For the farrier, if they stand for by themselves on the cross ties and the only issue is trying to catch them to bring them in, why not just leave them in? They can be turned out after their feet are done.

          The problem with this is I could potentially end up spending even more time cleaning stalls. The boys know their schedule and with some of them no amount of hay can keep them happy if its time to go OUT! Stalls get nasty fast when the boys are impatient!
          Brae Mont Farm


          • #6
            personally I think this should be "built into" board costs. I run a barn and, as long as the boarder uses my farrier and vet, which I schedule, I do not charge. If they prefer to use their own (which noone does) they are responsible for scheduling and being here to meet vet/farrier, or I would charge. By scheduling myself I put it on a day where I don't have too much else going on, and in the winter, the horses that need vet/farrier stay in until they are done. I schedule early in the AM so it doesn't disrupt the horses normal turnout too much.


            • #7
              $10 is a pretty usual handling fee for a simple trim which should take about 20 minutes, or a routine vet visit for jabs or worming. For all four, hot shod, it may be as along as an hour (or for holding for teeth floating/sedation etc) and doubling the fee would be reasonable. Put it in your written boarding contract.

              My farrier will not work on horses in cross ties- he wants them all hand held in case they get antsy or have a trouble while being trimmed. Horses not infrequently lean on the farrier, lean on the cross ties and sometimes just collapse from reflexes- all situations where x-ties are not really safe.
              "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


              • #8
                Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
                personally I think this should be "built into" board costs. I run a barn and, as long as the boarder uses my farrier and vet, which I schedule, I do not charge. If they prefer to use their own (which noone does) they are responsible for scheduling and being here to meet vet/farrier, or I would charge. By scheduling myself I put it on a day where I don't have too much else going on.

                This is my situation exactly. I have a smaller barn -- five boarders, three of my own. I once worked at a big barn where they charged separately for everything -- it was difficult to keep track of, and it is annoying to pay a bunch of small charges (to me anyway). So when I got my own farm, I just charge a flat rate for boarding, and then everything else: holding for vet/farrier, worming, even fly spray, is included. Most of my owners cannot do their own horse care either because they are too sick, or don't know much about horses (e.g. a nonhorsey wife who inherited her husband's horse when he died).

                On the other hand, since you are making a change and many of your boarders do their own farrier/vet holding then perhaps a per hold fee makes sense. I'd make it high enough to be worth your while.
                Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


                • #9
                  Another possibility:

                  You could offer your boarders a "handling fee" of $10/time or $25/month. The latter would cover all vet and farrier appointments. The way my horses lose shoes and get owies, I would probably opt for the flat rate and not have to worry about counting up the dollars each time one of their "friends" came to see them.

                  But they have to commit to a plan at the beginning of the month. No fair choosing a la carte and then switching when their horse gets a puncture wound...
                  "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                  Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump


                  • #10
                    How many different farriers are your boarders using? Can't be that many if you only have 14 horses on the property. I would encourage your boarders to schedule their trims/shoeing on the same day. Add an incentive--if at least 50% of the horses are scheduled at the same time, there is no charge; otherwise, $10 per horse. If multiple horses are being done, you can just leave them in and throw them extra hay, then turn out when the farrier is finished.


                    • #11
                      My BO would just leave horses in if the vet or farrier were scheduled. I paid $20 per horse for her to hold them. Much cheaper than having to take time out of work.


                      • #12
                        Your situation is somewhat similar to mine. At my barn I hold almost all the horses, but I do have a few owners who like to take care of it themselves. I charge between $5-15 per hold. This is based on the time involved with the task. For the most part people are happy with this.

                        Even a horse that can be tied up for farrier service (though we don't normally) would still have a hold fee (probably the $5). I still have to 1) Schedule the appointment and make sure all of the horses are in and clean/dry 2) Meet the farrier (and wait if he's late!) and communicate regarding what needs to be done or any issues 3) Call the owner if any new issues arise during the visit 4) Occasionally pay the farrier for clients when the cost is different than expected or the client forgot to leave a check and 5) CLEAN UP, both the work area and the stalls.

                        Vet and farrier visits can suck up a huge amount of time. Also, it is an added responsibility to be the intermediary between a client and the vet or farrier. The other thing I have had happen is that clients start expecting you, the BO, to keep track of when their horse is due for the farrier. I don't mind this, but it is another responsibility that is covered by the hold fee.


                        • #13
                          I built those prices into the board, in general. As a previous poster said, if the boarder is on my schedule and uses my vet and farrier, I don't charge to bring in for those appointments. If they wish to use their own vet/farrier it is their responsibility to bring their horses in. Same goes for non-routine vet visits, it is the owner's responsibility to be there (except, obviously, for emergency situations)

                          When I boarded, the barns always charged a $10 holding fee, which is what I would charge if needed (haven't had to charge in the year I've been open, I love my boarders!)
                          A lovely horse is always an experience.... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. ~Beryl Markham


                          • #14
                            I charge $10 to catch and hold for vet or farrier.


                            • #15
                              I think 15 bucks or so should cover it per incident.

                              Frankly, and I'll probably be flamed for this, I do not understand why in MOST situations, the owner can't make the arrangements to BE THERE.

                              Unless you're paying for a full service barn, I can't imagine expecting a BO or BM to do this without paying.

                              I've always worked full time and still have been able to make arrangements to meet the farrier or the vet....

                              The only way I can see that being totally unfeasible is if the BO insists that only THEIR vet or farrier may be used and only on THEIR schedule during certain hours.

                              Otherwise, why can't people just be responsible for getting it done themselves?
                              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                              Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                              • #16
                                If I schedule routine farrier/vet it's included in the board. I try to keep them all on the same schedule. For training horses, if they are difficult, that's their lesson for the day. For owner scheduled appointments or with a farrier or vet other than mine, owner has to catch, hold, schedule and clean up.

                                I have a fee schedule that states that I can charge $10 and up for medication admin, vet holding for illness, etc., but have yet had to charge it.

                                All of our boarders are very well mannered and I would only charge the additional fee for a very difficult horse. Again, if it's a training horse, that would be their training for the day/week.


                                • #17
                                  We don't charge an extra fee. BUT: I have one farrier and one vet. The farrier comes every week and he has a board showing who is scheduled. The horses are either left in or my staff brings them in as needed and leaves them in when they're done. I wouldn't use a farrier that required every horse to be held. If he needed a holder, I feel like he could hire one. Now, one of the staff is available if there's a need (young horse, nervous horse), but horses always get better with my farrier because he's quiet and patient. I think you need to charge enough to hire adequate staff or else charge an extra fee when you handle for vet or farrier. Either way, you need to charge for services.


                                  • #18
                                    At the place I board it's $15 to hold for the farrier. Our board costs are similar to yours ($385 is stall + blanketing). I think $15 is more than fair, I'd be completely willing to pay up to $20. I'm always out there when the vet comes, so that's never been an issue for me. I usually try to schedule the farrier for when I can be there, but sometimes school and work get in the way.
                                    Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
                                    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Unprovoked92 View Post
                                      I have never been at a barn that offers to hold/catch horses for the farrier/vet.
                                      way back in 1992 most of our boarding clients worked full time and we held the horses for $10/head as the farriers did not come round just on Sat...

                                      this meant bringing the little queenies from the pastures walking back to barn cleaning them up mud and feet and such...

                                      on wet days the animals came in the night before to make sure we had dry legs and bellies...for some animals it was the only damned time that were fiddled with all month esp those on pasture board so we earned our money for sure

                                      do not do it for free however you do it....
                                      Last edited by Tamara in TN; Nov. 12, 2009, 08:43 AM.
                                      Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                      I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks for all the input! I'm glad to hear I'm not being "nickle and dime-y" with charging for catching/holding horses for the farrier and vet. I think what I'll do is charge $10 (that seems to be the most common answer and kind of what I had in mind) when I have to hold the horse for farrier and quick (less than 30 min) vet visits. I wont charge for bi-annual vaccinations because I always schedule that for first thing in the AM and spend less than 10 minutes per horse. Vet visits longer than 30 minutes I will charge $20. I think thats fair and from what all of you had said it seems like my boarders will too. I'll put out a letter or email within the next week or so and start the new policy on January 1st. That will give people time to make other arrangements and start scheduling their own farrier visits if needed.
                                        Brae Mont Farm