Laying 'Em Down

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly...All 1,000 Head

One thousand head of horses, one customer, all at one location; a horseshoer’s dream or nightmare? At 6 to 10 head a day, you would have one-third to one-half year’s worth of work already in your appointment book, a dream...

But if the customer needed all of the horses shod in 1 or 2 months, averaging freshly shod groups of 25 head and only budgeted $75 to $90 per day per shoer, this opportunity could turn into your worst nightmare.

Seasonal Shoeing

Throughout Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, thousands of horses are put to heavy use from the start of the tourist season in June through the hunting season’s end in October. These horses need to be shod to keep their hooves from wearing faster than they can grow while being ridden over rugged, rocky terrain. When the horses have put in a full summer, the shoes are pulled and the horses go to pasture until May, when they get sorted and shod for another season.

Many of these guest ranches and backcountry outfitters have begun leasing their horse strings for the summer season. This way they don’t need to feed an animal when it’s not in use and can save the time and money needed to find well-broke horses. But when they need a string of horses, they want them gentle, named and above all, well-shod and ready to go.

In the late 1960s, Lonnie Mantle decided to start a horse leasing operation in Hudson, Wyo. He also shod horses…

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