Chris Beymer of Lexington, Ky., has been providing hoof care for Thoroughbred farms and racehorses in the Bluegrass country for 27 years.  Ideally, he says, this type of hoof care is a matter of maintenance, rather than repair.

“Shape, angle, then correction, in that order of importance,” says the American Farrier’s Association Certified Journeyman Farrier. “My goal is to constantly work at maintaining the best hoof shape for the conformation of that particular horse.”

Beymer divides his work between breeding farms and the racetrack, which he says is somewhat unusual, as many farriers prefer to do one or the other.

Beymer, who works with two apprentices, D. J. Harrington and Dustin Burke, will often see foals, yearlings and brood mares as well as horses that are in training on the same day.

Brood mares, he says, provide a good example of his approach.

‘We rarely have to shoe a brood mare — usually only when there has been an injury,” he says. “If you find that you have to shoe a bunch of these mares, that means you’ve got problems that you aren’t heading off before they get to be problems.”

When shoeing horses that are training or racing, Beymer says it’s necessary to develop a feel for just how much foot to trim.

“You want to trim a racehorse as short as you can without making him sore,” he says. “You don’t want the toe to be too long lever that he has to break over.”

We’ll share more of what he had to say in a Shoeing For A Living feature in the May/June issue of American Farriers Journal.