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Don't you hate it when you have trouble getting farrier supplies? Al Martineau did too, so he started Northwest Horseshoe Supply in Maple Valley, Wash., to give farriers the supplies they need when they need them.
The business was started in 1975, the same year that American Farriers Journal got its start.
In the last 25 years, Martineau has seen preferred shoe brands change, prices go up and demand grow for ready-made shoes. In 1975, his customers wanted mostly Izumi shoes (they were the most available) and Diamond shoes. Four years later, Diamond raised their prices and St. Croix Forge and Nordic hit the market. Today Martineau sells 10 St. Croix shoes to every one of other brands, and the others are mostly Kerckhaert, Nordic and Diamond.
Martineau has also seen a huge increase in the number of products available to farriers. “Almost everything is ready-made now,” he says. “Farriers have so many more choices. There’s very little forge work done now on a daily basis. People tend to use their forges just for specialty stuff.”
Not only are farriers doing less manual labor than a quarter-century ago, they’re also better educated. “Today farriers are smarter than 25 years ago,” Martineau remarks. “They’re also a lot friendlier. Everything used to be a mystery or secret. Now with associations, knowledge is more shared, probably tenfold over 25 years ago.”
In the next 25 years, Martineau expects to see the knowledge level keep going up with university experimentation…