Shoeing Where It's Always Wet

One shoer shares the secrets to keeping the foot healthy even in the wettest of conditions

In Arizona, it’s the drying heat. In Florida, it’s the sweltering humidity. But in the Pacific Northwest, particularly western Washington State, it’s the relentless rain.  

As annoying as these conditions may become, they’re a key player to the strategies farriers choose for the most effective care of their client’s horse’s feet. It’s up to them to become familiar with these situations and to compensate for them.

As any good farrier knows, there’s no one universal equation to plug into every situation. No one knows that better than Greg Burdette of Enumclaw, Wash. On a recent “Shoeing For A Living” day, I visited Greg as he “did his rounds” in one condition every good western Washingtonian dreads—snow.

8:00 a.m. As I pull up to Greg’s house, nestled in the mountainous terrain of the Cascade Mountains and the foothills of majestic Mt. Rainier, it begins to snow. Greg answers the door with a smile and comments, “It never snows in Washington.” Greg welcomes me in and offers me one of the treats of the Northwest—Seattle-style gourmet coffee.

“Got to get that caffeine before we head out,” Greg muses. We say goodbye to Greg’s dog, “Gus,” and wife, Kate, a former farrier.

8:05 a.m. We set out for the first of the stops—45 minutes away in Issaquah, Wash. On the way, Greg emphasizes the importance of continuous education for all farriers, old and new alike.

“I went to Arizona’s Western’s School of Horseshoeing in Phoenix,” he says. “Schools are a good place to…

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