With a layer of sand situated over a clay base, sudden rains often lead to the sand washing away and leaving sink holes. Itâ??s easy for a horse to twist or injure a leg when stepping into a sink hole that develops in a pasture or paddock.

No Need to Specialize

By handling many kinds of footcare work in a concentrated area, this South Texas farrier stays close to home so he can spend valuable time with his family

With a huge number of horses in his South Texas area, Matt Cooper finds he doesn't have to specialize with his trimming and shoeing work. Instead the Cleveland, Texas, farrier’s diversified business offers quality footcare services to clients involved with trail rides, drafts, miniatures, rodeo, backyard horses, racing, mounted police and performance events.

“I average 6 to 8 horses a day,” says Cooper, who grew up in the horse world. “I do all kinds of horses from a few miniatures to 10 teams of draft horses, along with show horses and trail ride horses.

“There are enough horses around here that you don’t have to specialize and I could work 7 days a week in this area if I wanted.

“If I worked with just one discipline, I’d have to spend more time traveling and couldn’t be home by mid-afternoon most days to be with our three girls after they get off the school bus.”


Matt Cooper finds it is often difficult to decide how to most effectively shoe trail horses that travel over long distances through an ever-changing combination of grass, concrete, dirt, mud, water and blacktop surfaces.

Cooper spent a number of years roping calves on the rodeo circuit before deciding to concentrate full-time on hoof-care work. “It was a lot of fun, but expensive,” he says. “I’ve been shoeing full-time for 10 years.”

While he’s diversified, trail riding horses makes up a sizeable chunk of his Arrowhead Professional Horseshoeing business located 45 miles northeast of Houston. And…

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Frank lessiter

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has spent more than 50 years in the agricultural and equine publishing business. The sixth generation member to live on the family’s Centennial farm in Michigan, he is the Editor/Publisher of American Farriers Journal.

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