When a horse is unfit for one purpose, some other pursuit might be a great fit. Photo by: Jeff Cota

No Strings Attached

Mare finds a new purpose after dumping rider & getting kicked out of summer camp

I had the account to shoe the riding string at a well-known kid’s summer camp in the late 1970s or early ’80s. There were anywhere from 15-25 horses at any one time, and they fit just about any description you might want to give them. They ran the spectrum from, “I wouldn’t mind owning this one,” to “I’m glad I’m done with that one for this time around.”

I had a spot just outside the tack barn to shoe so I could work on the horses that weren’t under saddle at the time. There was always a gaggle of kids sitting on the rail fence watching my every move and coming up with one question after another. Many of them came from an urban background and had no notion of what I did. Their curiosity seemed boundless. I never minded answering their questions and enjoyed watching the amazement on their faces as I went about my business. It was as entertaining for me as I was to them. “Doesn’t it hurt when you clip their toes?” “Wow! Look at how hot that shoe is. It’s glowing!” “Why do you have to burn their feet? I bet that hurts.” Somehow having such an attentive audience made the work go easier.

The owners of the camp were George and Penny. They were great folks who made sure I had whatever was needed to get my work done. Ever notice how people who make their living with horses in one way or another…

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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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