Looking back on the year 2000, I am struck by the great contrast between today’s farrier and what I remember of the days when I first started out in this industry.
I am by no means the elder in our association, but I remember when horseshoers had less to work with and little hope for much more than a comfortable living—and that was only possible if you watched your pennies and kept your sights set on a small family and simple needs.
I have to laugh when I recall those days with old friends. The thought that I once called a 1965 Chevy Bel Air station wagon a “horseshoeing rig” seems laughable.
Most of us shod horses cold. My anvil was a vintage cast iron Vulcan blacksmith’s pattern I had found in a barn, and my tools where made by Diamond. Most—and there were only a few—were purchased at the hardware store. Shoes and nails could be found there too.
However, the market was opening up for farrier supplies because the local steel supplier had discovered that shoes and nails were available in Japan.
Outside racetracks, which were closed to most shoers here in California, the big market in horseshoeing was the Arabian horse industry and that was only because Hollywood had discovered the breed. Most of us, though, shod backyard or rodeo horses, unless you could find a gaited horse guy to take you out where the “wealthy” people lived.