After nearly 50 years of shoeing horses, the basics remain critical in Dick Becker’s hoof-care work.

“Yes, I still believe in a basic approach because I can build from that foundation,” says the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame member from Lapeer, Mich. “If you lack a foundation, the house will collapse.”

It’s equally important to remember that there’s “no such thing as a perfect horse or perfect shoeing job.”

“We need to shoe the whole horse, focusing on the hoof capsule. Again, our job is preserving the integrity of that hoof capsule. You have to deal with what you have. The job is to improve the horse, so what can you do to help the horse improve a little each time? As farriers, we are best when we can get to where we manage the hoof capsule.”

If you are trying to find a solution for the horse, Becker warns against being too aggressive. Stick to the basics and avoid doing too much at once.

“You don’t throw the kitchen sink at the horse,” he says. “If it doesn’t work, you won’t be able to tell which part failed. Less is more. If you look, the horse will teach you.”

Learn More

  • Advice on Shoeing Hunters and Jumpers with Dick Becker: The International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame member shares insight on managing the feet of top level sport horses.
  • An Interview with Dick Becker: In this episode of the American Farriers Journal podcast, we welcome Dick Becker of Lapeer, Mich., to share the many important lessons he's learned during his years of shoeing.
  • $300 For A Shoeing Job?: To some this is just an old invoice. But as a farrier, I see the history of our trade. It also tells me of the value of a farrier.