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Who Are You Working For?

A day spent with Illinois farrier Tom Rock reinforces that a successful hoof-care practice is built on a commitment to providing footcare on an individual horse’s basis and solid business practices

Tom Rock’s philosophy is to let the horses dictate their trimming or shoeing schedules — unless circumstances demand otherwise.

Tom Rock, like other farriers, is a strong advocate of pursuing hobbies and interests outside of the equine world. He’s a knowledgeable farrier and a solid horseman, but says if you don’t “get away” from it once in a while, you’ll burn out. The Wadsworth, Ill., farrier has a few pursuits outside of farriery to relax — chief among these being golf.

If Rock wanted to play golf at the end of this “Shoeing For A Living” day, he would be smart to catch a flight to a destination far from the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan. With a subzero wind chill through most of the January day, golf and most outdoor activities are off the table for any sensible person.

But no matter how cold or hot the temperature is, horses always will need proper hoof care, so farriers endure. And so will Rock, as the chill is more of an annoyance than an obstruction — he’s lived in northern Illinois most of his life and has been a farrier in the area for about 10 years. All of the work today is set in nice performance horse barns, so there is some shelter from the arctic air.

When asked what his best winter shoeing tip is, Rock says, “Go somewhere warm.” Although this is his wry sense of humor coming forward, the joke is similar to Rock’s approach…

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Jeremy_mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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