You've Got 7 Minutes To Fix That Foot!

Besides taking care of last-minute problems, paddock farrier Terry Carrier represents the bettor in looking for shoeing situations that can give a horse an unfair edge

Standing around and doing little other than looking at the shoes on the horses entered in 8 to 12 races may seem like an easy way to spend an afternoon.

But for paddock farrier Terry Carrier, what starts out as a leisurely afternoon can turn extremely busy and stressful when there’s a shoeing problem.

The Cicero, Ill., farrier has served as the paddock farrier at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill., for 3 years and has been the paddock farrier for 4 years at Hawthorne Race Course and Sportsman’s Park in Cicero, Ill. In addition, he shoes about a dozen horses a week.

We caught up with Carrier for a few minutes during last fall’s Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championship at Arlington Park. The day’s events included 8 stakes races with a total purse of $13 million that attracted many of the best racehorses from around the world.

Q: What does a paddock farrier look for? 

A: You look for shoes or attachments that may be illegal for a particular track. Besides protecting the track against shoes that can damage the turf, you serve as a safety valve for bettors so no horse has a racing advantage over the other entries.


You’re looking for blocked heels, stickers or bends that may be illegal on turf. Even if you find something out of the ordinary with a shoe that’s legal, you still report it to the track announcer who immediately informs the betting public of the shoeing changes.

Since each track…

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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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