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Shoeing horses is one of the toughest jobs in the horse industry, affecting the neck, shoulders, back and knees. Steps to prevent injury and pain and maintain a healthy spine need to be a part of a farrier’s daily routine, but who has time?
Harry Serio, a farrier in Finksburg, Md., takes his back pain seriously. He’s been shoeing horses for 22 years, specializing in Quarter Horses and Western performance horses. He was the official farrier at the Quarter Horse Congress for 5 years and worked at every major reining futurity in the country during the 1980s.
Serio credits his expertise to working with and watching great farriers like Terry Stever, Dave Farley and Lee Liles. “These guys taught me there’s a difference between being a successful farrier and making a living and just shoeing horses.”
When Serio injured his back in the first 5 years of shoeing he knew if he wanted to last he had to make some drastic changes in his lifestyle and work habits.
Serio works out for 90 minutes every morning, using a stair stepper for 50 minutes and then performing a series of stretches and strengthening exercises.
The key to longevity in his opinion is “working out regularly, deciding how many horses you can safely do in a day and sticking to it, watching your posture all the time and using palliative therapy like magnets during the day,” he says.
The first time Serio injured his back while shoeing, a horse…