Longtime farrier loves working with horses

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Name of Business/Address: Ken Wolgram's Horseshoeing, 21566 County Road 17, 824-8359

What prompted you to open your business in Craig? I was laid off from Hayden High School where I taught industrial arts. I had shod my own horses for a number of years, and so I started doing it for other people I knew. That was 11 years ago.

How did you get into your line of business? My dad always shod our horses. He would always have me help, and I learned a lot from him. But it wasn't until I left home and had horses of my own that I really started doing it myself. Now, I continually read, trying to keep myself updated. There really is more to this business than people realize, and there is always more to learn.

Describe your philosophy of being a good businessman: My philosophy of doing business is to be as reliable as I can. When I set an appointment, I always try to be on time. I try to respect the time my customers have. I make a sincere effort to return phone calls quickly. Word of mouth advertising is all I've really ever used. The customers I have are not only repeat customers but will refer me to other people. I like to build a business this way.

How do you define the role of your business in the community? The Craig area has several farriers. But this is horse country. Many of my customers are not only horse owners; they actively ride and use their horses. For the horse's health, they will need to be trimmed or shod every 6 to 8 weeks. For horses, their hoof care is essential.

What is the best part of your job? I love being in the fresh air. I enjoy being able to schedule my own hours. Of course, I enjoy working with the horses.

What is the most challenging part of your job? The most challenging part of the job is when the horses have problems with their feet and trying to get the shoe to help them instead of hinder them. It is also a physically hard job. When you have a 1,200-pound horse, you have to figure you are holding up at least a quarter of that weight. And, horses can hurt a person pretty easily. I really don't tolerate it when the animal misbehaves.

What advice would you give a young person considering opening his or her own business?

I recommend shoeing a few horses first. It is definitely a physically hard job. You have to be very strong in the back and legs. The more you do, the better you get at it, though. But, it is more work than it appears, and there is always more to know and learn.

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