Most high school students prefer to spend their summer hanging out with friends at the beach, but one California teen got a jump on his future by completing horseshoeing school.

Sebastián Verbera admits that he was “a little hesitant” about giving up his summer to receive formalized hoof-care training at Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Plymouth, Calif. However, “I made a new group of friends,” the 17-year-old told the Napa Valley Register. “It’s like a little family.”

Farriery isn’t new to Verbera, though. In fact, he’s a third generation farrier.

“I’ve been doing it since I was 12,” he says. “I don’t think I could see myself doing anything else.”

The first horse he worked on was a miniature pony.

“I was jumping all over, stomping on my feet,” Verbera recalls with a laugh. “For a miniature pony, it did a lot of damage.”

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His first experience obviously didn’t deter him.

“You can’t let one ruin it all for you,” Verbera says.

Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School isn’t unfamiliar to the Verbera family, either. His father Roberto completed his training there in 1995.

“I’ve already been shoeing horses for a few years but I just wanted more formal training,” says the younger Verbera.

He plans to initially apprentice under his father before striking out on his own.

“He has a lot to teach me,” he says, “and I have a lot to learn.”