Val Wilkinson (Clayton, N.M.)
My dad started shoeing horses shortly out of high school when he went to work for the UU bar ranch in Cimarron, N.M. He was given a string of horses to ride and was told he was responsible for their shoeing as well, and one of the hands would show him how. When it came time to shoe the horses the foreman told him “you level the foot and turn the nail this way, I be at the cabin fix’n dinner when you’re done.” That was his instruction on horseshoeing.
I started when I was 14 years old under his tutelage, paid for college and still am paying for vet school by shoeing horses at 50 years old.
He is now 80-years-old and still shoeing most days, weather permitting, from one to five or more per day. He still takes on an occasional “the last guy had to… “ to get it done or could get it done at all, but mostly tries to avoid them nowadays.
—Dean Wilkinson, DVM (Socorro, N.M.)