Jack Montgomery III was one of the dozens of farriers who had the opportunity to service horses from all over the world during the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG), according to Tryon Daily Bulletin.
This third-generation farrier has worked at stables, racetracks and horse arenas across the country, but this time, the horses were all in one place for an equestrian highlight of the year at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C.
Before the first day of WEG on Sept. 11, 2018, Montgomery was the resident farrier at Tryon and was responsible for providing hoof care for 52 horses. Montgomery says the WEG granted him 12 more to assess their hoof care needs, including horses from the U.S. dressage and eventing teams, as well as teams from Brazil, Columbia and Ireland.
In addition to working with international horses, this year was a first for Montgomery in working beside top farriers from around the world.
“It’s been amazing. Just to have everyone here, from all these countries together, and see the camaraderie between everyone, has been really amazing … we’re like one giant equestrian family,” says the Landrum, S.C., farrier.
Montgomery is from Ionia, Mich., where he grew up on a 72-acre farm nestled between two Amish farms. Without a television and with the availability of horses, Montgomery grew quite comfortable around animals. He was often brought along when his father, who works as a farrier, would service fox hunting horses. It was through his father that he learned secrets of the trade and nurtured his deep passion for horses that began at an early age.
“I remember, beginning when I was 6 or 7 years, coming home, tacking the horses and just riding for three or four hours at a time,” he says.
Montgomery’s passion led him to farrier school in Oklahoma, after which he moved south to the Carolina foothills in 1998. There, he learned even more while shoeing under Jimmy Misenheimer. During this time, he also began working with horses at show grounds such as the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center and even the Tryon facility when the Block House Steeplechase was still held there.
As Montgomery’s work brought him into the hunter/jumper A-circuit, people began to notice his talent. He traveled across the East Coast and, on several occasions, to Wellington, Fla.
In 2014, Montgomery was asked to serve as the resident farrier of the Tryon International Equestrian Center. WEG will be one of the highlights of Montgomery’s career in equestrian care, he says. In 2020, he will service horses during the Olympic Games in Tokyo. While these are honorable positions, Montgomery says that’s not why he’s a farrier. The horse's well-being is what matters most to him, not the status of the horse or who its owner is.
“I love the fact I have a job where I’m able to use my mind and my hands for something,” Montgomery says. “You get to help horses out and make some neat stuff along the way.”