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Thriving in Northern Idaho

Part-time shoer Jeff Minor learned the trade as part of being a trail guide


SHOEING IN HE SCENERY. Jeff Minor, who developed his shoeing skills as part of his work as a guide for trail riders in Colorado and Idaho, prepares to shoe a horse near Salmon, Idaho, with the mountains in the background.

Jeff Minor is a craftsman who makes saddles, chaps, various kinds of tack and beautiful leather braid work, all while maintaining a horseshoeing business on the side. He’s lived in Salmon, Idaho for 20 years, but started shoeing horses on ranches in Nebraska.

“I didn’t have any formal training in farriery. My shoeing began out of necessity, on the ranch, and then later working for outfitters in the back country,” says Minor. “Being able to shoe was a prerequisite for that kind of work. If you hired on as a guide, you had to know how to shoe horses.”

His family worked on ranches in Nebraska when Jeff was growing up. “We didn’t shoe very many horses in the sand hills, but we had to trim them, and worked with their feet a lot when we were breaking horses,” he recalls. “We put shoes mainly just on the horses we used in 4-H.”

In 1981, Minor went to a guide school in Colorado. That’s when he first started shoeing other people’s horses. He worked for an outfitter that had a string of about 35 horses. He and 4 other guides kept those horses shod.

“My family started an outfitting business in 1982 and we also rode for a grazing association…

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Heather Smith Thomas

Heather Smith Thomas is a freelance writer based in Salmon, Idaho. She has been writing books and articles for nearly 50 years.

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