Shoeing Mackinac Island’s Horses with Limited Resources

Michigan farrier Jennifer Horn applies sound principles to maintain driving and trail riding mounts

Farrier Takeaways

  • The addition of Drill-Tek provides the necessary purchase and confidence that some horses need on asphalt streets and hills.
  • A shoeing package that includes Drill-Tek should be accompanied by a pad to provide ground reaction force. This engages the frog and sole and mitigates a platform effect in the foot.
  • Punching a second set of nail holes can extend the life of a shoe when a heavy horse puts a great deal of pressure on nails.

There are few places in the United States where a modern community has no use for motorized vehicles. One such place can be found on Mackinac Island, just south of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in Lake Huron.

The island, which is 3.8 square miles, outlawed horseless carriages in 1898, leaving three modes of transportation — walking, bicycling and horses. During the peak of the summer season, the island is home to roughly 500 horses. Many of them are employed to power island tour carriages, horseback riding rentals, taxicabs and freight drays. Some private summer residents bring their mounts with them for driving and trail riding.

Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., farrier Jennifer Horn has been shoeing horses for one discipline or another on Mackinac Island for nearly 30 years. Today, her island clientele are private residents and lesson horses. On this “Shoeing for a Living” day in early July, Horn is making her first trip to the island this summer. The Wolverine Farrier School grad, who learned under the tutelage of International Horseshoeing Hall…

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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the Lead Content Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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