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Spending a pleasant spring day in farm country is always worthwhile. But this particular day comes with added bonuses. A trainer and barn owner gets the benefit of two experienced farriers instead of one; one of the farriers gets help with a busy shoeing day and the farrier providing the help benefits from a hands-on lesson in shoeing long-footed horses.
And American Farriers Journal got to go along for the ride.
7:55 a.m. Jeff Ridley leads a small caravan down the gravel driveway toward the Emery Training Center. The barn, situated amidst picturesque and rolling Iowa farmland, 20 minutes or so west of Des Moines, is home to 16 “long-footed” horses — Arabians and Arabian crosses. It’s a regular stop for the Certified Journeyman Farrier from Leighton, who has also recently become just the second farrier to earn the American Farrier’s Association’s (AFA) Therapeutic Shoeing Endorsement.
Following Ridley is Kyle Ballard with his own truck and trailer shoeing rig. Ballard, a Certified farrier from Omaha, Neb., has made the two hour-long drive to meet Ridley. Ballard, a graduate of Chris Gregory’s Heartland Horseshoeing School, has been shoeing for a little more than 5 years. This isn’t the first time he and Ridley have worked together. The younger farrier has joined the 10-year shoeing veteran on a number of occasions, taking advantage of Ridley’s willingness to share what he’s learned.
“That’s one thing that really seems to have changed,” says Ridley. “You hear stories of the old days when guys wouldn’t…