Traditionally horseshoeing has been a male-dominated industry, but women are entering the profession at unprecedented rates. The most recent American Farriers Journal Farrier Business Practices survey indicates 6% of full-time farriers and 10% of part-timers are women. While many females are finding success in the trade, the road hasn't been easy and they still face some challenges.
Earlier this year, horseshoers gathered in College Station, Texas, for the Texas A&M University Farrier Conference. Some came for the clinic itself, while others made the trip for the American Farrier’s Association certification exams that were held over the weekend.
A cold morning 2 days before Christmas found Blane Chapman and two apprentices shoeing at the famed 6666 Ranch in Guthrie, Texas. They didn’t let the closeness of the holiday keep them away, because it was Monday, and Blane has been traveling the 100 miles from Lubbock to Guthrie every Monday for 14 years.
In central Texas ranch country, Shawn Nanny shoes a variety of horses, including ranch horses, rodeo horses, backyard ponies and even some gaited horses. However, the backbone of his business and his specialty is the all-around horse.
Feedyard pens are typically fairly dry, but heavy rain will make a mess of them. Deep, sloppy cow manure such as this will literally suck shoes right off horses' feet. In the Texas Panhandle, as well as many other areas across the nation's midsection, feedlot cattle outnumber people. Some hold more than 60,000 cattle at the same time.
Zach Dicken made the decision 3 years ago to become a part-time horseshoer, and the farrier-fireman combination really works for him. He works a 24-hour shift every third day at the Lubbock Fire Department, which provides a steady paycheck and those elusive benefits that so many farriers struggle to pay for.
Whether to pull out that nail or other object found stuck in a horse's foot is a dilemma all horseshoers face occasionally. The wise and recommended move is to leave it until an X-ray can show how deep it goes and exactly what it punctures.
Mark Milster gave some tips on everyday shoeing and forging at the first-ever clinic held at San Marcos Feed, near Santa Fe, N.M. When San Marcos Feed took over the farrier supply side of Wagon Mound Ranch Supply, owner Tom Macdonnell decided to continue the tradition of hosting an annual shoeing clinic.
Campbell, Texas, farrier and American Farriers Team member Sawyer Spradling demonstrates his approach to tuning a distorted pritchel to a punch, a skill that has served him well when he travels to clinics and competitions.
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