And the hoofs of the horses as they run shakes the crumbling field.
-Virgil, The Aeneid
Walter Davis came as a recommendation to us when we were looking for a dependable farrier for our two adopted/orphan foals over six years ago. We have also recommended him every time. He is that good. He is that dependable. We asked him if we could post an article about him on our blog. He agreed. He is a man of few words. When we told him on a recent trail ride his horse talks more than he, his quick witted response was, “That’s because she’s a mare!”
Well, he may be right, but he will talk horses and horseshoeing.
Walter is a Virginian. Born in Winchester, Virginia, he was seven years old when he got his first pony as a Christmas gift. Riding horses has been a part of his life ever since. While attending school at Ferrum College, he rode English on the Intercollegiate Riding Team on the flat and over fences. Extra time was spent working in the stables. He earned his B.S. in Biology from Ferrum, but turned his attention to farrier’s school as his life’s occupation. After twelve weeks of study and graduation from Eastern Farrier School in Martinsville, VA, he returned to Winchester. There he began his professional career running his horseshoeing business for nearly thirteen years.
He works Monday through Friday and spends the weekends with his wife and children riding their horses. His clients range from mules to minis to drafts and pleasure riding horses like ours. He does not work with, “heavy shod gaited horses or racing thoroughbreds.” He says,”I feel that the horses best interests are often put aside in favor of performance for those two groups.”
“Working with the horses, being outside, not having a boss,” are the best parts of being a farrier he says. When we asked if it is easy to shoe a horse he replied,” The concept of trimming the foot and applying the shoe is relatively simple. The practice of doing so is not so easy. Dealing with 1,000 lbs that may or may not want to stand still is difficult. Adjusting to the size range of horses from Drafts to minis works every muscle in your body.”
We asked about being hurt. His matter-of-fact reply,” Stitches from nails going through my hand after they were nailed in the hoof, cracked ribs from a horse that pulled back and broke the hitching post which sent the rail flying into my side, but that’s really it in thirteen years of shoeing.”
Walter says the best hoof care we can give our horses is to keep them on a regular trimming or shoeing schedule.
Although he has changed his own shoes, no more English boots on thoroughbreds but Western boots on his breeding stock paint, he rides and still spends as much time as he can in his barn.
Have any question you would like to ask him? Direct them here, we will get them to him!