Lapeer, Mich. farrier Dick Becker at anvil

Advice on Shoeing Hunters and Jumpers with Dick Becker

Dick Becker shares insight on managing the feet of top level sport horses.

Farrier Takeaways

  • It requires everyone on the team to help an equine athlete perform, but the farrier has to focus on the hoof capsule.
  • No matter what continuing education you pursue, spend time with others in the industry to avoid isolation.
  • Realize what you can control as a farrier to find how you can best help a horse.
  • Always look at how you can improve a horse, not get in its way.

At 74, Dick Becker isn’t talking retirement. While contemporaries might look to call it a day, Becker dismisses retirement for now, saying he isn’t interested in playing golf. Instead, he still finds motivation working with horses and clients. Especially at his age, there is a difference between shoeing because you want to and shoeing because you have to.

“I already consider myself retired because I’m doing what I want,” he says. “Father Time will eventually win, but I’m going to give it a good fight.”

Part of doing what he wants means Becker doesn’t let clients dictate his practice like he did in busier years. Those days of difficult sacrifice are behind him, so he can be more deliberate and selective about the clients and horses he works with. Becker has reduced his books from a peak years ago of 350-400 horses down to about 120, primarily hunter/jumpers. Most of Becker’s clients who remain on his books have been with him for 35-40 years. Typically Becker works 4 days a week, reserving Fridays off for travel for his…

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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