Scott Weidner’s resume reads like a script for a reality show.
He’s been a bull rider, a commercial fisherman in Alaska, a landscaper, a handyman, a truck driver and a wild animal handler.
“Being in an office wasn’t for me,” he says. “I can’t be locked up. There’s gotta be a little excitement and danger in the job.”
About that whole excitement and danger thing, yes, he’s been trampled by bulls.
Now, though, Weidner has settled down into a regular gig — although most people wouldn’t consider his livelihood “regular.”
Weidner is a farrier. And, even though he spends most of days covered in dust and sweat and tramping through horse manure, he loves it.
“It’s not a job people usually want to do. You’re bent over all day long, holding up a horse, fighting with them,” says the Naples, Fla., farrier. “I want to do the job, but I’m not normal.”
Working with horses provides a challenge, he says. Some kick and bite and don’t behave. Others have medical problems that require special horseshoes.
“That’s what I love about the horses — it’s always a challenge,” he says. “You could work at this job for years and never master it. With my other jobs, I got so good at them that I got bored.”
And there’s plenty of farrier work to be done. He trims and shoes 10 to 16 horses a day, 6 days a week. His average work day lasts 12 hours.
Weidner sees how his work affects his body. He spends most of the time bent over. trimming hooves. He’s got two herniated discs, spine deterioration and nerve problems. His right shoulder slopes lower than his left. His hands are full of scrapes and calluses.
“I’m 44, but I feel like my body is 80. I hurt every day, but you just gotta do it,” he says. “I feel better when I’m working. The second I stop, I get stiffened up.”
Weidner doesn’t just work to ease the aches and pains. He said he works because he always feels like he has to be doing something.
“I did everything backward in my life. All the things I people normally do when they retire, I did early — the travel, the adventure,” he says. “I figured everyone sits in their office hating their jobs saying, ‘I can’t wait until I retire.’ Then they retire and they’re afraid to go anywhere too far from their doctor. I did all the good stuff first. Now I can work till I die.”