The Broadus Brothers care for 600-700 Thoroughbreds without anvils and forges, but they find themselves fighting for farrier respect.
The business, run by Pat Broadus with his brother and father, takes care of notable racehorses including Forever Unbridled and The Pizza Man.
“We’re dealing with athletes who are asked to run at a very high rate of speed for a pretty significant distance, so we want to keep them as light as we can,” Broadus told the Paulick Report. “You don’t see many human sprinters wearing big, heavy shoes.”
They meet the lightweight needs of athletic horses with aluminum plates, which they apply cold.
“We shoe racehorses on a 4-week schedule most of the time, so we don’t need great-big nails, and we’re shoeing them on such a short cycle that we don’t need a real heavy shoe,” Broadus says.
While Broadus does not need to customize a shoe often, he says that he will forge steel Z-bar shoes to protect hoof irregularities or V-bar shoes to improve circulation.
Racetrack farriers’ infrequent forge usage is also due to the facilities they use. Racetrack barns do not have fireproof areas — using a forge where these farriers work would be a fire hazard.
The American Farrier’s Association (AFA) certification mainly deals with forge work, resulting in few racetrack farriers taking the test. Consequently, they sometimes are looked down upon.
Broadus passed the AFA test and plans to test for certified journeyman farrier (CJF) status in August.
“I think there are a bunch of platers who are talented and handy enough to kick it in that test. I wish more of them would just do it to prove that we [racetrack farriers] are pretty good, too,” Broadus says. “It’s just a different game.”
“I’m never going to use [forge work] on the racetrack, but I wanted to prove that we platers still have plenty of talent on the racetrack, and we can get it done.”