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Learning What to Do and What Not to Do to Avoid Injury

Working under a horse all day is hard on the body — especially the back. And there are always risks for a wreck. With close to 30 years of shoeing, 18 of those full-time, Jacob Manning of Roosevelt, Utah, wishes he had taken better care of his back. He stretches daily and sees a chiropractor every 2 weeks to manage five herniated discs and tendinitis in both hips.

“The best advice I can give is to try not to do bad horses,” he says. “There are three options I give clients: train it, drug it, or call somebody else.”

Jacob Butler of Crawford, Neb., agrees that stretching in the morning and evening is essential to staying flexible and stretching sore muscles. And that he has found horseback riding to be great therapy for a sore back. Also, being strategic in the work process supports longevity.

“Don’t stay under the horse any longer than you need to,” he says. “Always push yourself to become more efficient. A stopwatch help improve your efficiency. Pace yourself, so you don’t overdo the number of horses you are able to work on. You only have so many horses in you, and you can do them all at once or spread out over a career.”

Levi Trnka of Albuquerque, N.M., also relies on stretching and chiropractic care to protect his body in this physically demanding career. When he moved to Pennsylvania to ride with FARRIER, he quickly learned a long career is a marathon, not a…

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Katie navarra

Katie Navarra

Katie Navarra is a freelance writer who draws from her experiences owning and showing horses, and inter­viewing the industry’s leading pro­fessionals.

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