For the Love of Shoeing and Teaching

Ritner Goff emphasizes hard work and continuing education in his North Carolina multi-farrier practice

Pictured Above: Employing apprentices has allowed the 62-year-old Goff to take pressure off his body, yet continue to shoe horses and teach future farriers how to properly shoe horses and expose them to the business side of managing a successful practice

Just 4 months ago, Ritner Goff was ready to hang up his apron and call it a career after 30 years of
shoeing horses.

He had stocked his shop with a plasma table, forges, anvils, powder coating system and a Big Blu hammer to start CrossRoads MetalWork LLC, a metal business that he launched with his wife Susan Hermanson.

“My last apprentice finished up at Christmas,” recalls the Burgaw, N.C., farrier, “and I said, ‘You know, I’m going to retire and focus entirely on metal work.’”

The plan was for Ritner to perform custom metal work full-time and let his son RJ and RJ’s brother Blake Rivenbark take over the shoeing business.

Over the next 2 weeks, Ritner’s morning routine remained the same. He cooked RJ and Blake a big breakfast and made a plan for the day. When the brothers cleaned their plates, they jumped into RJ’s farrier rig and hit the road for a day of shoeing.

“You know how long my retirement lasted?” Ritner asks with a smirk. “Two weeks, because after they’d roll, I’d stand in my shop by myself thinking about all the horses the boys were trying to cover while I was working on metal projects. They were having a tough time keeping…

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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the editor of American Farriers Journal.

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