Owner: Jim House
Location: Fayetteville, Ark.
History: “After winning the Vietnam draft lottery and serving two years, I used the G.I. Bill to attend farrier school in Oklahoma. One of the main reasons was that my wife had horses and I wanted to take care of them. People immediately began calling and I traveled to the horses for 12 years at night while holding down a day job. I worked in public service in environmental sanitation finishing as a regional director in nine counties for the Arkansas Department of Health. I also served as a two-term as State Representative for District 89. After the 12 years, I built a blacksmith shop, one of few in Arkansas. People have been coming to me ever since. The switch to on-site shoeing did not decrease business at all, but made the job easier because the horses had to be calm enough to get in a trailer and travel. Later, I build a larger facility with 10-foot ceilings, more windows for better natural light and the capacity for cross ventilation because it gets so hot during the summers.”
Products and Services: “I work with specific types of horses: gaited, trail and Western performance. Consequently I don’t need pads, heavy shoes or glue on shoes. I use factory-made steel horse shoe sizes 000-4. I carry four styles: plates, heels, rims and toe heels. The biggest change in the industry is the emphasis on trimming and the number of specialized products available, though I choose to sell no accessories. Also, shoes used to be set to the outside edge with perimeter trimming. Now the shoes are set back some to ease motion. My goal is to maintain, not change, balance. The first question I ask the customer is what a horse is used for and then pick the correct shoe for that purpose because a shoe for a barrel racer is different than that for a trail horse. I shoe by appointment only and I am a member and listed on the American Farriers Association website. Most clients are long-term or have been referred by one to me.”
Future: “Horseshoeing is an excellent occupation for many strong young people because they don’t need extensive education and the investment is limited. What they do need is a good shop vehicle with supplies, common sense, good dexterity and a strong willingness to work hard. I am an older horseman who would like to encourage others to consider horseshoeing as a profession because the demand far outweighs the supply of people to fulfill that demand. College is not the best decision for everyone and horseshoeing provides a viable alternative.”