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Third Career Is A Charm

California farrier Donnie Karr was 34 before he started his shoeing career, but he’s found that the job fits him as well as he fits shoes

Loomis, Calif., farrier Donnie Karr shapes a shoe while working at a small ranch in Granite City, Calif. Karr has been shoeing full-time for just over 13 years. This particular ranch is home to a number of cutting horses, as well as other horses used in Western riding disciplines.

Back in the late 1900's,  Donnie Karr ran into a little problem.  His farrier, Dave McFarlane, had decided to leave Northern California for Tucson, Ariz.  At the time, Karr was working as a general contractor near his home in Loomis, Calf., but also side business startring colts for other horse owners in the area.

Under McFarlane’s tutelage, Karr had learned to get the colts in his charge started on footcare, training them to stand for a farrier and doing some light trimming. During a conversation with McFarlane about finding a new farrier, McFarlane suggested he look in a mirror. The timing turned out to be fortuitous. Karr wasn’t enjoying his contracting work. He’d earlier trained and worked as an auto mechanic and found that didn’t really suit him either. He did, on the other hand, enjoy working with horses and Bob Smith’s Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School wasn’t far away. So a little more than 13 years later, Karr is about to start his day Shoeing For A Living Under McFarlane’s tutelage, Karr had learned to get the colts in his charge started on footcare, training them to stand for a farrier and doing some light trimming. During a conversation with McFarlane…

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Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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