Living Life In The Slow Lane, But Shoeing On A Fast Track

Amish farrier Eli Beiler excels at getting the most out of high-performance Standardbreds

Eli Beiler at work on the feet of a Standardbred near his Gap, Pa., home. Beiler has been shoeing horses since 1974. While the Amish are known for their adherence to old ways, Beiler does use some modern materials and tools in his shoeing.

When I hear my cell phone alarm announcing the fact that it is 5:45 a.m. and time to get up, I feel a bit like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Clearly, I am not in Wisconsin anymore. The sun is peaking above the horizon, assuring the prospect of a beautiful day.

I am in Eli Beiler’s yard, near Gap, Pa.. I’m parked next to his shop in my camper-shoeing rig. I arrived from Wisconsin 2 days earlier and am enthralled to be in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Outside, the sounds of rural living are competing for my attention.

The farm rooster is crowing with a fury, trying to rouse the neighborhood. The horses in the barn are whinnying in anticipation as Beiler begins feeding them. The twin Holsteins are bellowing in competition. It is a glorious symphony of life. I jump up out of my cozy sleeping bag, do a little dance in the cool air and quickly dress, eager to record a “Shoeing For A Living” day.

6 a.m. I make my way to Beiler’s back door and am invited in. His lovely wife, Rebecca, has made egg sandwiches and coffee for Beiler and me. As we sit down to eat, Rebecca leaves to help…

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Red Renchin

Red Renchin is a long-time farrier who calls Mequon, Wis., and Wellington, Fla. home. A native of Minnesota and a member of the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame, he serves as Technical Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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