The Reluctant Remedial Shoer

California farrier Travis Koons finds success relying on a minimalist approach in therapeutic cases

Pictured Above: Travis Koons takes a minimalist approach to therapeutic cases, focusing on proper trimming and fit. “It’s not so often the therapeutic device that helps the horse,” he says, “but good, solid horseshoeing helps the horse the most.”

You don’t want to shoe lames horses, trust me.”

Bob Marshall tried to warn the confident young farrier, but the then 18-year-old Travis Koons had made up his mind. The Hemet, Calif., youngster had printed business cards, announcing that his farrier practice specializes in pathological, remedial and corrective horseshoeing.

“Why would you ever put that on your business card?” the legendary shoer asked him forcefully. “You don’t want to shoe lame horses!”

Farrier Takeaways

  • Good, solid, basic horseshoeing helps the horse more in therapeutic situations.
  • Determining the shoeing schedule for your clients will help prevent lame horses.
  • Just remove what’s necessary for hygiene, balance and integrity when trimming feet.
  • Concave mimics the horse’s foot in the way that it functions on the ground.

“Yeah, I do, Bob,” Koons told him. “I can charge more money.”

“No, you’ll get those old chronic horses sound and then you’re a hero,” Marshall told him. “But the minute they go lame again, you’re a zero. You’ll be getting calls in the middle of the night. You don’t want to do this.”

Koons was sure that this was the right path for him and carried on. It didn’t take long, though, for Koons to realize that the Hall Of Fame farrier knew a thing or two…

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Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 25 years. A native of Maine, he is the Managing Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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