Backyard Horses Deserve Farriers’ Respect

Retired shoer owes his 50-year career to backyard horses

The farrier business provides a broader range of working situations and income possibilities than just about any trade or business

I was driving taxi in Boston in 1971 when a 10-minute conversation with a fellow cabbie changed my life. He was going to quit driving cab and learn to shoe horses. My profound ignorance was revealed when I replied that I figured they stopped doing that when they phased out the equine cavalry. He said his uncle had someone come around his farm regularly to shoe his horses. I wanted to be my own boss, and in my youthful enthusiasm I envisioned traveling around the country in an old pickup, shoeing horses as I went. I had no idea how the business worked. I didn’t realize that horse owners wanted to know the quality of work that farriers did, and whether you were going to be around when the horse came due again.

Once I was made aware of the realities of the business, my expectations of the future changed, just a bit. The head instructor at the farrier school at Rogue River Community College had shod Saddlebreds for years, so he was a wealth of information as to the realities of the business and the many avenues open to someone just getting started. I knew my education would continue for a while (I hadn’t a clue it would continue for the length of my career), but I had no idea where I wanted to land in the business.


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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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