Amy Hauck lifted the hoof of the horse, cradled it between her knees and began cleaning the sole with a hoofknife. Then she snipped away part of the hoof wall with a nipper. Using a rasp, she gave the hoof a final manicure.

It’s the same process her ancestors used in the early 1900s.

Amy Hauck, a Kansas farrier who has been shoeing for 2 years, discovered after she learned the trade that working with horses' feet is in her blood. Both her great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were farriers.

Hauck, 19, has been a farrier — a specialist in equine hoof care — for about 2 years.

After learning the trade, she learned that both her great-grandfather Guy Tucker and her great-great grandfather Austin Tucker were farriers.

The tools of the trade haven’t changed much in 100 years. Hauck even carries an old-fashioned anvil.

“I love it,” Hauck says. “I like being around horses, and I like people.”

When people ask her what she does for a living, she says, “I wrestle 1,200-pound animals.”

A tough job

Kenny Wilcox, a Minneapolis, Kansas, rancher, is a regular customer.

Salina Journal photo

“I’ll tell you what, we are glad to have her,” he says. “It’s pretty hard to keep one around. It’s a tough job. You have to be young to do it. You are bending over all the time. It’s hard on your body. Those horses are jerking on you all the time.”

Although a lot of Ottawa County ranchers use four-wheelers to check livestock, Wilcox still uses a team of horses.

Hauck discovered the hazards of the job when she attended Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School near Ardmore, Okla.

The six-week, 300-hour course prepared her for the basics of hoof care, including hoof problems such as founder, abscess and torn hoof walls.

The first three weeks of school were the most difficult.

“There is being in running shape and there is being in horseshoeing shape,” she says. “You can be a great athlete but be as sore as crap the day after you shoe a horse. It’s just hard on your body.”

Hauck has been stepped on and kicked in the head.

“It’s kind of gross, but I am missing a toenail because it has been stepped on so many times,” she says.

She’s also had horses chew on her ponytail while she was working on their front hooves.

Grew up on farm

Hauck said there was no driving force behind her becoming a farrier. She grew up around horses and other animals on the farm north of Ada owned by her parents, Steve and Cindy Hauck.

“I grew up surrounded by animals all the time,” she says. “We never did have a scheduled farrier come out to the farm and trim our horses. I’d watch my dad trim a horse a time or two whenever they needed it. He didn’t trim them every six weeks.

“When I saw him, I didn’t think, ‘Wow, that’s what I want to do,’ ” Hauck says. “I kinda of stumbled upon the school on the Internet. That looked fun.”

She found out through her uncle Guy Hauck that her ancestors ran a livery in northeast Kansas. Later they moved to Lamar. There, her ancestors readied the horses for the U.S. Army.

“They would bring in horses on boxcars to Miltonvale. They would drive them to Lamar to break them to ride,” she says. “They also trimmed them and shod them.”

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