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Birmingham, Ala., farrier Mark Rikard at work in a picturesque setting. Whenever possible, Rikard likes to do his shoeing beneath overhangs, rather than in barn aisles. Such areas offer shelter from the hot Alabama sun in summer and the often heavy rains of other seasons.
The final days of February can’t quite decide if they want to be winter- or spring-like as we meet farrier Mark Rikard outside his home in suburban Birmingham, Ala. The temperature is pleasant, but the wind carries a hint of moisture and the clouds hang low and dark.
Rikard has agreed to let a couple of American Farriers Journal editors spend a day with him while they are in Alabama for the American Farrier’s Association convention in Mobile. Rikard is ready when we arrive. He climbs into his rig and Technical Editor Red Renchin hops in with him for the drive to the first of two barns we’ll visit during Rikard’s day of Shoeing For A Living. I follow in our rental vehicle.
8:30 a.m. First impressions are usually lasting ones. The first thing I notice about Mark Rikard is that he clearly has a desire to present himself as being very professional. This is evident in the pressed khaki trousers and button-down collared shirt he works in, as well as the clean, orderly truck he works out of. Rikard has a passion for photography and has produced some notable pictures, including the cover photo from the November 2011 AFJ Farrier Supplies…