Horse owners can expect farriers’ prices to rise over the next few months, as the impact of rising world steel prices takes effect.
The rapid growth in the Chinese economy and its appetite for steel is already starting to affect the price of horseshoes, nails, tools and studs.
“Raw materials have increased in price by 75% over the past year,” says Mike Legg of Legg Bros Ltd, the hot steel rolling mill that provides the fullered concave steel for most UK horseshoe manufacturers, many of whom are raising prices.
Chesterfield-based Arthur Cottam and Company, the biggest horseshoe manufacturer in the country, has put up its prices by 6%. Kerckhaert, a Dutch company whose shoes are sold widely in the UK for racing plates, raised its prices on 1 May; and MNC Ltd, importer of a horseshoe range from Malaysia, has posted a 6% price rise from 1 June.
“There could be further increases within six months,” says Mac Head, managing director of MNC Ltd.
Swedish- and Swiss-based Mustad Hoofcare, the world’s largest manufacturer of horseshoe nails, issued a warning in March: “Already we are buying and booking steel at much higher prices. Prices for all our steel-based finished products will have to increase later in the year as steel stocks run out. We might have to start from July 2004.”
Huw Dyer, a working farrier who is vice-president of the National Association of Farriers, Blacksmiths and Agricultural Engineers, says: “Most farriers are looking at increasing their charges. In any business, you have to pass on cost increases – you can only absorb so much – and shoeing in Britain is already the cheapest in Europe.
“I would think we are looking at a general price increase of at least £5 per set. In my own business, we expect to raise prices imminently, probably in June or July.”