Four years ago, Dakota joined our family and I pulled his shoes off the day he arrived. Since 2005, none of our horses have been shod. I am one of the few hoof boot dealers in the area and for this is my 6th year in business as a Barefoot Trimmer. Today, my title official changed to Farrier.
Anna and I have had great success with hoof boots and my personal experience is what gives me the credibility as a boot dealer. After everything I have learned and my years of experience, why would I nail shoes on my horses? The answer is simple. I want to learn more. I have seen hooves that were in horrid condition from years in shoes, but I have also seen horses that had feet that looked great. I’ll be honest, there have been occasions when I wished I didn’t have the hassle of dealing with boots, but there have been times when I was convinced boots were an advantage. The bottom line is, I don’t believe shoes are evil and I also don’t believe that shoes with proper farrier care is harmful to horses.
Which brings me back to Dakota. I had considered learning to nail shoes for a long time. In fact, that was original objective in 2005 when I started asking questions of our farrier at the time. I am fortunate to have a friend who I believe is one of the best farriers around. I bought Mojo from Vikki Fortier and our friendship has grown ever since. Recently, I decided to start using my days of leave from the Navy to spend time working with Vikki to learn about shoeing horses. So tonight, I nailed my first set of shoes on a horse. I know I have a lot to learn, but I am committed to learning. There are flaws in the job I did on Dakota and I know that:
-The medial heel is too long.
-My nails do not all come out at the same height.
-My clinches are not all the same size.
I am fortunate to have 6 horses here at home that I can work with to improve my skills. I will continue to sell hoof boots and I will continue my business as a trimmer, but if you see us at a ride, don’t be surprised if you notice the sun glinting off some shiny shoes as the horses trot by.