Monday, May 3, 2010

Horseshoeing season underway

Steve Ritter photo
Johnnie Martin: Have Horse will Travel

Emmett--Springtime is the busy season for farriers, horseshoer Johnnie Martin is in demand and on a good day he’ll travel a three-hundred mile loop shoeing horses from Boise to Riggins.

“I think I have an advantage because I grew up around horses and I train horses as well; I’m not just a horseshoer, I relate with the horse. I know how they are going to react. I know when they are going to throw a fit, where I need to be, but I usually get a long pretty well with them.
Martin says skittish horses are his specialty, the 20-something farrier has a calmness that he brings to work each day. “I can get by a lot of horses that people have problems with, how to be quiet, go around them, get the job done, make things simple non stressful and that’s the way it has to be.”

With all the moisture this spring one of the things Martin says to look out for is thrush. Thrush is a degenerative hoof condition that develops when too much muck and bacteria invade the sole of the hoof. Martin says the moist environment; unhygienic stable conditions and bad hoof-care lead to thrush, with symptoms including a foul smelling, black discharge in the frog and a soft and crumbly bottom of the hoof. In advanced stages, the condition can cause lameness.

Johnnie Martin says he’s working sun-up to sun down seven days a week. “Average for me is 4-5 head a day, there’s a few days there above average. I have a client in Riggins and he has a bunch of pack horses and the most I’ve done from daylight to dark is 18 head, and that’s a day of work. I go all over the Treasure Valley, Eagle, McCall, Horseshoe Bend, Emmett, Sweet, Donnelly, it’s a pretty big loop.”

Martin says these days his arms are sore and he’s tired but its work that he loves, and when you love your work, it doesn’t seem like work.

Steve Ritter photo

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