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In the farrier world, there is an impressive list of legends. But there are the shoers who work quietly for decades, often somewhere in the backcountry — certainly far out of the spotlight. Those farriers still manage to acquire a sterling reputation for their ability to successfully tackle any number of challenges. They have been responsible for mentoring generations of farriers. Even after retiring, I still remember the influence of one of these unknown legends
Bud Ferguson had been around the farrier world of central Washington for decades before I showed up in 1973, fresh out of farrier school. Born in 1912, Bud showed the strain of the hard life he had lived. When a number of the people I was shoeing for, in addition to a couple of vets in the area, recommended I seek him out for any advice I might need, I took the first opportunity to do so. He was gracious to the extreme, inviting me to ride along anytime he had interesting work.
Years after I met Bud, the phone rang one night and his familiar voice on the other end, asking if I wanted to go with him to a Thoroughbred farm near Moses Lake, Wash. Not only was it a chance to watch this skilled shoer and pester him with questions, but there also was the hour-long ride from Ellensburg to Moses Lake to pick his brain. I heard many great stories from him. For example, Bud told me that he and other…