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How Yoga Can Help Your Footcare Practice

Wyoming farrier credits system of poses and breathing techniques for avoiding hip and knee surgery and prolonging his career


Pictured Above: After revitalizing his farrier work through yoga, Mitch Shelhamer does it on and off the job.

Long days working under horses that weigh more than 1,000 pounds take a toll on a farrier’s body.

A farrier for more than 30 years, Mitch Shelhamer knows this all-too-well.

“As I got older, I was starting to have some problems with my hips and was told by my doctor that I should consider changing professions,” says the Basin, Wyo., farrier.

Shelhamer works with pleasure, ranch, performance and draft horses within a 100-mile radius in the Big Horn Basin. At 58 years old, he provides hoof care for 315 horses a year on an 8-week rotation without an assistant.

“That’s a lot of horses for a guy my age,” he says. “Most younger farriers don’t shoe that many horses. I was facing a double knee replacement and my left hip as well.”

Surgery wasn’t an option for the third-generation farrier. He loves what he does — it’s in his blood.

“I decided that there had to be a better way,” he says.

Farrier Takeaways

  • To start yoga, pay close attention to your breathing. 
  • Yoga benefits the muscles and tendons without high-impact exercise. 
  • Yoga can be a key component to career longevity.

Life-Changing Direction

Fortunately for Shelhamer, his wife Suzi pointed him in a life-changing direction by introducing him to yoga. Suzi has been doing yoga for 5 years and teaching in their home studio for 3.

“He is my best and most…

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Linda_braus

Linda Braus

Linda Braus is the editorial intern for American Farriers Journal. For the love of stories, she plans to continue writing and editing after graduating with a degree in English and communication in May 2018.

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