The Test

Decades later, the appreciation of this early shoeing challenge remains with the farrier

In 1974, I had been living in my area of Washington state for a little more than a year and was working hard to build my farrier business. One day, the phone rang — it was equine veterinarian Ken MacRae. Doc told me that a horse needed my help. With where I was in my business, to have a veterinarian call me, I was jazzed, to say the least

I was nervous while driving to meet one of the busiest and most respected equine vets in Washington state. Dr. MacRae was one of the vets used most often by the ranchers in the area. Back then, if you wanted to make a living shoeing horses in Kittitas Valley, you must have ranch horses on your books. These horses were essential to the ranch operations and work every day.

As I drove to the clinic, something occurred to me. I wasn’t a well-known farrier, so if I got the call, it was probably because he had already called the other farriers that he worked with. Knowing I was a last-resort call, this was a test I did not want to fail.

Dr. MacRae greeted me with a smile and a firm handshake, then he got right to business. We walked behind the clinic to the holding pens and he pointed to a big palomino Quarter Horse.

“He’s come up footsore and they’re moving cows into the summer pasture, see if you can help him,” says MacRae.

The horse had been working…

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David hazlett

David Hazlett CJF

David Hazlett is a certified journeyman farrier based in Ellensburg, Wash. He has been shoeing for nearly 50 years.

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