Keeping any horse sound can be a tall order. Keeping a Thoroughbred racehorse sound is nearly impossible. That doesn’t stop Wes Champagne from trying, though.
“No horseshoer can keep a horse perfectly sound,” says the Arcadia, Calif., farrier. “They all get injured eventually, but farriers can try to prolong their longevity.”
Champagne has been doing his best to keep racehorses sound for nearly 40 years. Yet, he’s probably best known for his work with keeping American Pharoah on the track so the colt could claim the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing by winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Champagne customized a half-plate shoe to protect a bruise on the bay stallion’s left front foot. He wore it in each of his races in 2015.
Champagne discussed his approach to shoeing racehorses for soundness in mid-November at the Thoro’Bred Extravaganza Clinic and Contest in Anaheim, Calif.
Generally, the first things Champagne look at when picking up the foot are the frog and the placement of the shoe.
“Like most farriers, I shoe my horses using Duckett’s Dot,” he says…