At the recent Santa Ynez Valley Polo Classic, one spectator in the stands was paying an inordinate amount of attention to the horses' feet.
That would be Adam Teixeira, who is the farrier taking care of the 30 or so polo horses at Joel Baker's Circle JB Polo Ranch in Buellton, site of the Polo Classic that's a fundraiser for People Helping People.
Adam Teixeira Horseshoeing is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and in this highly competitive business along the Central Coast, has already made quite a name for itself.
"I have about 200 horses on the books from Morro Bay to El Capitan," says Teixeira. In addition to Baker, his clients include Flag Is Up Farms in Buellton, Zacara Ranch & Polo Fields in Santa Barbara, a private owner in Los Olivos with nine horses, and a number of what he calls "backyard accounts," with one or two horses.
Born, raised, and still a resident of Nipomo, Teixeira is a fourth generation member of the family who owns Teixeira Farms in Santa Maria. He worked for the family business briefly when in high school but his heart was in horses.
"My hobby was always team roping and I was doing rodeo a lot," he says. "With rodeo you need horses, and horses need a farrier. He went off to the Tucson School of Horseshoeing in 2005, and launched his business on his return.
Teixeira calls horseshoeing a "dirty business but it's a good way to raise a family. I'm not going to miss a soccer game or a softball game. I can take my daughter to school."
Teixeira is something of an expert on equine anatomy.
"The foot is the first thing to hit the ground and then everything travels up. If a horse's foot is really flat, I have to put shoes on that are thicker in the back to stand the foot up," he explains.
Horses used for polo, like the thoroughbreds at Baker's Circle JB Ranch, have cleats on the back shoes. "They get those done every 5-6 weeks," Teixeira says.
Baker, a high goal player and coach of the U.S.A. Polo team, calls Teixeira "the best in the business." Teixeira is more modest but happily accepts the compliment.
"Joel's horses are sound. Their feet are amazing. He can take eight horses, play polo and not blow a shoe. That's why he's happy. If I can keep them from limping and keep shoes on them, I've done my job."