No one can guarantee that a child will grow up to become a horseshoer, but families in which the farrier trade has been handed from one generation to the next share remarkably similar memories.
The experiences of parents and their now-grown children appear to fall into three stages: The youngsters have fun while being exposed to horseshoeing early and often, they ease into the different farrier tasks as they grow more able-bodied, and they chose a shoeing career only when it is time to make a decision. At no time are the children ever pushed into the job.
Horseshoeing is apparently a positive experience right from the start for second-generation farriers. Matt Johnstone, a Chesterfield, Mich., farrier, remembers taking his son, Bill, on shoeing trips when he was a small boy. “He really loved sitting on the tractors at the farms while I’d do the shoeing,” Matt says.
Jacob Manning recalls his early exposure to the trade from his father, Dennis, in Roosevelt, Utah. “As far back as I can remember, I used to ride with him on shoeing trips,” he says. “I was always amazed that he could take a foot that was in bad shape, maybe with a chunk missing, and make it look like it was supposed to.”
Mike DeLeonardo Jr. of Salinas, Calif., says he took Mike III to job sites, where the young boy would sit off to the side and play with horseshoes.
Denise Jones remembers similar trips with her father…