Don Baskins

Looking Back with a Southwest Shoeing Legend

Don Baskins has a lot of tales and tips from a 60-year shoeing career


LONG CAREER. Don Baskins is still shoeing horses after more than 60 years as a farrier. He started shoeing horses on the Wyoming ranch where he grew up when he was just 11.

Anyone who has spent time in shoeing circles of the Southwest has almost certainly heard of Don Baskins. At any gathering of horseshoers in the area, his name will inevitably come up — not surprising, considering that Baskins has been shoeing for over 60 years and continues to do so at age 75. Baskins is also a man with a big personality, who makes big waves wherever he goes.

Starting Young

Baskins was already doing some shoeing by the time he was 11 years old. “I grew up on a ranch in Wyoming,” he recalls, “and if you rode a horse, you had to shoe him.”

About the same time, Baskins left home for good — on horseback.

“That winter I rode into a Seven Day Adventist Academy in Loveland, Colo., and stayed there and finished high school,” he says.

Baskins wound up shoeing horses for the United States Marines during his enlistment, and later shod horses in California for several years before moving to Tucumcari, N.M., where he has lived ever since. But while New Mexico may be his home, he’s taken his shoeing abilities on the road. At one point, he had customers in six different states and today his shoeing rig has 557,000 miles on it.

“I can remember trimming for $1 a head…

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