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BROKEN IN, NOT DOWN. Thomas Breningstall’s Bronco shoeing rig had a certain charm that earned him extra tips from sympathetic shoeing clients.
Back in 1976, when I decided I didn’t want to work for a living any longer, I decided to become a horseshoer and enrolled at Bob Reaume’s Wolverine Farriers School in Howell, Mich. I was one of an ever-growing number of people who took advantage of the renewed interest in horses, which skyrocketed in the 1970s.
I started shoeing out of a Chevy Vega hatchback. Actually, it was the family car at the time. My first real shoeing rig was a Ford Bronco. I paid a friend $200 for it after he rolled it over. (Thankfully, it had a rollover bar.) It needed reshaping to make it roadworthy again, but I was new to the farrier business and had lots of spare time. So, in the time between straightening bent horseshoe nails, I worked on that old Bronco.
I removed the top, the doors, the hood and the front fender. I used little hammers and big ones, a few 2-by-4s, jacks, clamps and whatever I thought might work to reshape and repair the parts of the Bronco that I had scattered all over the backyard.
After much hammering, pushing, pulling, bending and sweating, I got most of the dents out. Then I tried to put all the pieces back together. Easier said then done.
Most of the stuff didn’t fit anymore. The top was twisted, the doors were…