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Specializing in applying glue-on shoes, Ian McKinlay says many track blacksmiths simply don’t want to be bothered doing this kind of work. As a result, he’s been able to make a career out of the techniques his father taught him from years of work experience with Standardbreds.
Ian McKinlay’s shoeing rig is different than what you’ll find being used by most farriers. First, the rig used by the South Amboy, N.J., blacksmith is a 2008 Lincoln Continental Town Car.
Second, you won’t find a forge, an anvil or nails in the car’s trunk, which stores all the products and tools needed in his daily work.
“I don’t do any normal shoeing, only glue-ons and crack patches,” McKinlay says.
There are over a dozen blacksmiths working at Belmont Park on the western end of New York’s Long Island where McKinlay does the majority of his work. Most don’t want to do glue-on shoes.
“I’ve made patching cracks and gluing shoes my specialty, and it’s earned me a good living,” he says.
McKinlay learned the patching and gluing techniques from his father, who started lacing cracks in the 1960s.
“I started in the business in 1977,” he says. “Like my dad, I’ve shod a lot of bad-footed horses over the years.”
During today’s 7 1/2-hour workday at Belmont Park, McKinlay will examine or work on 16 horses. He estimates 60% of his work deals with gluing shoes and 40% with patching hoof cracks.
Here’s how our “Shoeing For A Living” day went.