Shoeing Backyard Horses Is Tough To Beat

Although shoeing backyard horses comes with challenges, working with these horses can sustain a healthy shoeing practice

When a farrier embarks on this remarkable career, it is common that he or she will shoe horses commonly referred to as “backyard horses.” Some will say this with disdain, but in reality, this segment of the horse population may be the very best kind of horses to be shod — especially in this economy.

Most of these horses live on small acreages (backyards) and are a member of a family. They are used for pleasure and companionship, but not for work or show. Being this type of horse puts the animal in a category where its value may not be easily represented in dollars. As a family member, their value is based on the family union instead of what the horse could bring in an auction. I find that at barns, you can be viewed as a laborer, although a skilled one.

With any type, style, discipline or population of horses, you can make a list of pros and cons concerning that market. Writing these down will give you an idea if you want to shoe that type of horse. 

I delivered a talk on this subject at the February 2010 International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio. As I went through the process of making my list, I found that I shoe a fair number of this population, and I really enjoy this portion of the market. I’ve worked on more than the average share of backyard horses — many that I reminisce about with mainly good memories.


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Chris gregory

Chris Gregory

Chris Gregory is a Hall of Fame farrier and owner of Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo.

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