Shoeing for Speed

Shoeing a few hundred Standardbreds every 3 weeks requires fast, precise work

Harness horseshoer Chuck Bright leads a double life.

On weekends, he’s a fairly typical guy, working on his small farm near Beloit, Wis., mending fences, caring for horses and other pets and doing other odd jobs around the house.

For 4 1/2 days during the week, however, he lives about 130 miles from home, shoeing Standardbred racehorses around the Balmoral Park racetrack in Crete, Ill., just south of Chicago.

While he’s working at the track, he’s responsible for shoeing a variable number of horses stabled there, plus about 120 Standardbreds at the nearby farm where he lives during the week. All of them get shod about every 3 weeks.

He works with no apparent rush, just a very efficient working style with his assistant Ruben Ferraro that still manages to get six horses done by lunchtime.

Here’s how our Shoeing For A Living day went.

7:15 a.m. I meet Bright at the gates of the Balmoral Park Track and we head over to the Track Kitchen for breakfast. We’re the only ones in the restaurant, and Bright educates me on harness racing while we wait for the staff to finish making our breakfast.


SAFETY IS KEY. Chuck Bright of Beloit, Wis., always wears tinted safety goggles when working with Borium.

“Trotters are more natural than pacers, but pacers are faster,” he says. “They’re easier to gait now because of better breeding.

“The problem is that some people overshoe them and they start moving so wide that they slow down.”


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Christy West

Christy West is a freelance writer and the Web site editor for The Horse. She is also a former editor of American Farriers Journal.

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