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Woodstock, Ill., farrier Joel Nielsen understands when he hears other farriers say they don’t want to work with draft horses.
“To succeed with draft horses, it
really must be a labor of love,” he says. “You can’t charge what it is worth for the physical wear and tear in comparison to any sort of riding horse. I think shoeing a draft horse can require three times the physical effort of a regular riding horse.”
Nielsen should know. He grew up in a family active in showing draft horses. At one point they had 24 drafts on his family farm. The lifestyle would continue as his career.
“This is what I started with and thought I would work with for a career,” he says. “At 19, I was driving to clients with stocks in the back of my pick up.”
Nearly 30 years later, the drafts largely have been replaced in Nielsen’s books by other breeds. He still has one account with two draft horses used for pleasure driving and another that uses two for dressage. Although his career took a different path, Nielsen’s experience with drafts may…