Shoeing Down the Highway

Young Georgia farrier takes to the road as a sensible compromise between lifestyle and income

Even in Georgia, late February doesn’t qualify as early spring. Nevertheless, it’s a spring-like day, with temperatures already hovering around 50 in the bright early morning sunshine as farrier Derrick Perry drives the pickup towing his shoeing trailer south on I-75 from his home near the Georgia-Tennessee border toward Atlanta. It’s not a short drive, but it’s one he makes fairly frequently.

“It’s a compromise,” the 24-year-old shoer says as he munches on a fast-food breakfast sandwich and pilots the truck. “I moved up to the Resaca area when I wanted to buy a house. I was able to get a house with a few acres and a small barn for a fraction of what it would have cost me near Atlanta.”

The drawback, he says, is that he can’t charge the same prices near his home that he can closer to Atlanta.

“If you shoe up here, you can hardly make a living,” he says. “Near Atlanta, you can charge $150 to $200 to shoe a horse. Around here, you can probably get $60.”

So Perry — like a lot of other people across the country – in effect, commutes. He estimates that more than 60 percent of the horses in his regular shoeing book are in the Atlanta area. 

Although he’s relatively young, Perry has already been shoeing for 7 years. He got into horses while in high school and became interested in finding a career that would involve them. He started riding along with veteran farriers, both…

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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