A New York Yankee in a Cattle King's Court

Farrier Steve Kraus takes part in a Montana roundup and does a little barefoot vs. shod observation on the side

Steve Kraus mounted on the barefoot ranch horse he used during a cattle roundup in Montana.

Farrier Steve Kraus takes part in a Montana roundup and does a little barefoot vs. shod observation on the side

When some friends of ours told us about the ZN Ranch cattle roundup in northern Montana, events were set in motion for my wife, Betsy, and I, as well as friends Tacie and Peter, to go on an adventure.

The ZN Ranch is located above Whitewater, Mont., just below the Canadian border. Founded by Connie Cox and now run by his son, Clinton, it spans 29,000 acres of beautiful rolling prairie and vast canyons, known as coulees.

Connie is 78, a former rodeo champion, a lifelong Montana rancher and sits a horse as well as anyone I have ever seen. He has been inviting guests to his ranch for about 19 years to not only help with the round up, but to expose folks to the rich heritage of Montana ranch life.

Professional Curiosity

Aside from having a new experience in a new part of the country (I live in upstate New York), I was curious to see the kind of horses used and how they were shod. I normally spend my riding time in an English-style, polo saddle and I hadn’t been in a Western saddle for years. I also am an advocate of shoeing horses for their work and environment, so this would be a completely new experience.

We made arrangements to…

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Steve Kraus

Steve Kraus, CJF, is Cornell University’s head of farrier services and senior lecturer for large animal surgery. He has been a farrier for more than 45 years.

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