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Being an Official Show Farrier is Often Like Being the Maytag Repairman

The official horse show farrier’s role is not to evaluate, change or improve the shoeing work, but to imitate the work of the hundreds of farriers whose horses he is trying to keep going

SUPER SHOEING SHOP. Built in 2002, this well lit and ventilated 24-by-74-foot permanent shoeing shop on the Winter Equine Festival grounds in Wellington, Fla., serves as the home base for official show farrier Tony Bucci.

During the Winter Equine Festival that attracts 4,000 horses to the West Palm Beach, Fla., area from November through March, more than 150 farriers normally register to work on clients’ horses. They come from as far away as Canada, South America and Europe.

But even with this many farriers journeying to Florida for a few days, a few weeks or even a few months, official show farrier Tony Bucci plays a key role in keeping hundreds of horses performing at the peak of perfection. And with this many horses on the Wellington, Fla., grounds, it takes three shoers to handle the shoeing work.

While it is the horse owner’s right to have whomever he or she wants to shoe their horses, Bucci earns his income by being available to shoe horses for anyone on the grounds. In addition, he handles last minute emergencies as horses enter and exit the show ring. Besides handling the Florida winter shows in Wellington and Tampa, Bucci works a number of northern horse shows in the spring and summer months.

When working as an official show farrier, Bucci says you must do things differently. “For example, you don’t want to have just one horse at a time tied in the shoeing shop,” he says. “You are strangers to these horses…

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Frank lessiter

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has spent more than 50 years in the agricultural and equine publishing business. The sixth generation member to live on the family’s Centennial farm in Michigan, he is the Editor/Publisher of American Farriers Journal.

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