IF YOU’RE looking for an article about a guy who just takes keg shoes out of a box and nails them onto horses’ feet, you might as well stop reading.
That’s because Steve Stephenson of Molt, Mont., believes each horse, no matter how “textbook” the feet look, deserves individualized attention, even if that means additional forge work or more time.
While I knew this about Stephenson, I wasn’t sure exactly how deeply he believed in it until I spent my “Shoeing For A Living Day” with him yesterday. Here’s how our day went.
7:30 a.m. Stephenson picks me up right on time in the lobby of the Holiday Inn in Billings, Mont. As he leads me out to his brand new rig, he introduces me to his wife, Peggy, and grandson, Cash. Peggy typically goes with Stephenson on his shoeing routes, helping out in numerous ways from walking freshly shod horses to holding fillies to opening gates. She also handles the business end of the farrier practice, preparing taxes, ordering supplies, scheduling horses and record keeping. After a quick exchange of hellos, we get in the truck and head to breakfast.
7:32 a.m. As we pull into the restaurant parking lot, we are greeted by Jim Clark of Laurel, Mont. Tragically, Jim Clark was killed in an automobile accident a few weeks after this shoeing day. A 1995 graduate of Tom Wolfe’s shoeing school in Bozeman, Mont., Clark sometimes shod horses with Stephenson, consuming every morsel of good shoeing knowledge…