She needs no introduction, her truck says it all: it's Bare Feet by Katy. EasyCare's featured dealer for September 2013 is passionate, dedicated and, yes, fun. It's business with a smile when your natural hoof care practitioner is Katy Banks of Corbett, OR.
Katy became a certified farrier in 2000 and shifted her focus in 2005 to natural hoof care. She hit the ground running as an EasyCare dealer in 2008 and has been a fantastic addition to our hoof care practitioner dealer network.
As a single mom, Katy recognized that what she really needed was a skill that could afford a flexible schedule and be used and taken virtually anywhere. Having spent her life with horses, the transition to a career in hoof care was a perfect fit. Being self employed allowed her the needed flexibility to be available for her children and still pursue a successful career helping horses. When Katy first started her venture, her daughters were only ages four and two so this was certainly no small undertaking. The girls, now teenagers, continue to keep things hopping at home for Katy. Add to the mix a clientele of 150 head of horses a month and you have one very busy lady.
When asked about her marketing and business strategies she says, "It's hard not to put the truck at the top of the list. The "big girl truck", as my mom calls it is recognized nearly everywhere in the NW Oregon and SW Washington area. The other key element I believe is my personal attention to my clients and their horses. Customer service must be a priority in my line of work. If my clients and their horses are happy then I've delivered on my end of the deal. I strive to be available to my clients and consider their needs a priority, always taking into consideration their input. After all, they really know their horses better than anyone. I ensure they have access to as many resources as possible to keep their horses happy and healthy. Part of that equation is keeping EasyCare hoof boots and accessories on hand. The Easyboot Glove and Back County are my most requested boot styles."
As far as advice, she recommends her fellow hoof care professionals maintain the highest level of communication possible with clients. Keep appointments and never, ever stop learning. She also encourages hoof care providers to think independently and to assess new ideas carefully. To the horse owner, she couldn't stress more the importance of working with your horses so that they can stand quietly and comfortably while being trimmed – your horse and hoof care provider will thank you.
As is often the case, taking the road less traveled hasn't been without a few bumps. Last fall, Katy received news she had developed an acoustic neuroma that would require cranial surgery. Things came to a screeching halt and there was a big question mark placed on a lot of things. Ultimately Katy came through it more determined than ever. Clients and friends stepped up to help her through the rough spots and Katy says she was completely overwhelmed by the love and support show she received. The surgery resulted in many challenges and has left Katy deaf in one ear, but her recovery and successful return to trimming is one to rival a Rocky movie.
When asked about her favorite hoof boot, she'll tell you she really doesn't have one but rather her "favorite" is the one the that fits and suits the horse best for his job at that given time. She is quick to mention however that her youngest daughter loves the Back Country for her gaited horse.
Katy has many great stories but the one most near and dear to her heart is of a paint mare with navicular that came into her possession. The horse had been shod with pads and wedges for the previous five years (she was 13 at the time). The shoes were pulled and after six months of diligent trimming the mare was pasture sound barefoot. This mare progressed from a size #0 wedge/bar horseshoe to a size #2 in a hoof boot and was able to be ridden on the trail in boots with pads. Katy adds that the whole experience was so satisfying and fun. "Watching her moving freely in the pasture with the other horses and being able to keep up on her own, well there is simply nothing like it."
Thank you Bare Feet by Katy, it’s a pleasure having you as part of our amazing team of hoof care practitioner dealers.