Farriers come from a wide range of backgrounds
There are some farriers who are practically born with a hammer in one hand and a hoof-knife in the other. I met quite a few of those while doing Shoeing For A Living profiles for American Farriers Journal over the years.
Bill Poor and Nick Hannan of Houston, Texas, both had fathers who were farriers. So did Jacob Manning of Roosevelt, Utah, Don Richardson of Urbana, Ohio, Portor Green of Yucaipa, Calif., and Steve Stanley of Louisville, Ky.
It’s easy to understand why they became farriers. They grew up around it, learned it at a young age and knew what they were getting into.
I rode with a number of other farriers who transitioned into horseshoeing from other equine pursuits — most often because farriery offered a better opportunity to earn a living.
Neal Poort of Sedalia, Mo., David Manuel, of Ocala, Fla., and Dean Moshier of Delaware, Ohio, all started shoeing horses after first being trainers. Pete Rosciglione of Defiance, Mo., became a farrier to supplement the income he earned as a rodeo calf roper. Moves such as that seem more like a shift than a career change.
But I also spent time with quite a few farriers who came from much further afield. Here are a few examples. Most of these also had a fair amount of equine experience, but they also all had careers such as in other fields and found that a hoof-care career suited them better.
- Renee Dohmen of Sauk City, Minn., has been a registered nurse.
- Jeff Ridley of Leighton, Iowa, was a police officer.
- Jamey Carsel of Carthage, Mo., was a plumber.
- Jay Evans of Minturn, Colo., had been a ski instructor and helped rig overhead cameras for NFL football games.
- Jeff Pauley of Burnsville, N.C., had degrees in mechanical engineering and manufacturing and was working for Rockwell International.
- Gregg Kremer of Aurora, Neb., was farming full-time.
- Doug Anderson of Mount Airy, Md., had worked in the jewelry business.
- Ken Norman of West Pawlett, Vt., exchanged his carpenter’s hammer for a driving hammer.
- Donnie Karr of Loomis, Calif., started shoeing after first being an auto mechanic and then a general contractor.
- Matt Frederick of Napa, Calif., had been working in the hospitality business.
Obviously, horseshoers come from a variety of different backgrounds, but they seem to have one thing in common: There’s something about hoof care that makes it a career that works for them.