David Hazlett always enjoyed shoeing mules, but one stands out over his nearly 50-year farrier career. Photo by: Budmir Jevtic, Adobe Stock

Shoeing at the Gate

Lessons learned while shoeing government mules

When the man in charge of the pack and riding stock for the Wenatchee National Forest in Cle Elum, Wash., called and said he wanted me to take over the shoeing, I was delighted

I was at the stage of my career when I considered large hoof-care accounts positive. I had shod Dick’s personal horses, so he knew my work. While my views about large accounts have changed over the years, I counted it a compliment to receive the offer at the time.

I showed up early at the compound because I knew there were 10 horses and four mules to be done. Dick requested toe and heel shoes because the terrain they worked in required them. In the years since, I have counseled my clients that a rim shoe will provide better traction without the strain of calks on those old shoes. He assigned a helper to fetch the stock, and I completed six on the first day. I finished the horses and got one mule done on day two, leaving three mules to go.

I showed up for the third day to find the three mules in the smaller catch pen next to the corral. I figured I’d finish up early. The first two went smoothly, which wasn’t a surprise. I have always found mules to be easier than horses since they are a bit smarter, and I get along fine with them. There was one mule left to go.

This mule was the last one for a…

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David hazlett

David Hazlett CJF

David Hazlett is a certified journeyman farrier based in Ellensburg, Wash. He has been shoeing for nearly 50 years.

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