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Jeff Ridley thinks a lot of farriers let themselves be intimidated out of shoeing long-footed horses — sometimes by farriers who are already shoeing those horses.
“I want to take away the scary part of shoeing long-footed horses,” he told attendees at the first International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati. “I think sometimes there’s a stigma out there and maybe some long-footed horseshoers want there to be that stigma out so you don’t invade their territory. And really, shoeing a long-footed horse isn’t any different than shoeing a short-footed horse. Everything is just magnified.”
Ridley, of Leighton, Iowa, is a certified journeyman farrier and one of the few farriers to hold the therapeutic endorsement of the American Farrier’s Association. A significant portion of his shoeing business involves long-footed horses and he says there are definite benefits to adding them to your shoeing book.
“Arabians and Saddlebreds are very flexible animals,” he says. “Some of the Quarter Horses are so big and muscular that when they lean on you as you work it wears you out. I’ve never had an Arabian lay on me. They just don’t do it. That can prolong your career.”
“It’s also good winter work,” he says. “I’m from Iowa. Trail-riding people say it’s cold out and don’t ride. Long-footed horse owners show year round and train their horses year round. I’m shoeing in January and December and that’s a good thing for my business.”
Ridley also says he enjoys the atmosphere at many shows that feature long-footed…