Shoe time

  • BRYAN CORLISS / Herald Writer
  • Sunday, October 15, 2000 9:00pm
  • Local News


Herald Writer

SNOHOMISH – Steve Redenbaugh is the only horseshoer in the Yellow Pages, but he’s far from the only farrier in Snohomish County.

Most of them don’t advertise, he said, as he measured a horse’s hoof for a new shoe. “You try to be anonymous so you don’t get so much work.”

There’s a shortage of trained farriers – horseshoers – here and nationwide, those in the industry say.

Older farriers are retiring faster than young ones are being trained, they say. And as this happens, the demand for them is rising, as the booming economy means more people can afford the cost of keeping a horse.

These days, there are as many horses between Woodinville and Bothell as there are in any part of Kentucky, Redenbaugh said. And Snohomish County is home to one of the biggest 4-H horse programs in the country.

As an adage heard around stables goes, “No hoof, no horse.” Since a horse’s hooves grow out like human nails, old shoes have to routinely be pulled off, the hooves trimmed and new shoes pounded into a perfect fit and put on. A bad shoeing can cripple a horse, while a good shoeing will help keep a horse sound and, in some cases, bring a lame horse back to service.

Folks pay top dollar – $65 to $170, every six to eight weeks – for a farrier who knows how to shoe correctly.

In California, farriers can make from $75,000 to $130,000 a year in gross income. Newcomers learning the trade say they are attracted to the idea of self-employment and working outside with animals.

Redenbaugh has been doing it more than a decade, and said he enjoys it more than his other jobs, which have included graphic design, construction and working with computers.

But it’s hard work, he added, and a job that carries the risk of injury. “You’ve got to want to do it.”

There are three training programs in Washington, based in Olympia, Walla Walla and Yakima.

Redenbaugh said his clients run the gamut from $100,000 show horses to animals people have given away. Those include the horses at EquiFriends, a Snohomish stable that provides horseback rides as part of a therapy program for children and adults with disabilities.

Redenbaugh shoes EquiFriends’ horses for free. It’s a worthwhile program, he said, and since many of the horses were rescued from bad owners or given away after suffering injuries, it’s a chance for him to work on corrective shoeing techniques, he said.

EquiFriends executive director Mel Thomas held the horses while Redenbaugh worked on their shoes, one breezy morning last week. The two horses he was shoeing have had foot and leg trouble, which makes the process uncomfortable for them. They squirm and stomp.

Redenbaugh said he’s been kicked around some, and lost a week’s work a while back when a horse fell on him. He won’t shoe draft horses.

“You get knocked around by them, it’s bad enough,” he said, indicating Sonny, a gimpy-kneed gelding once ridden by a calf roper. “You get knocked around by something weighing 2,000 pounds, it’s worse.”

But he stays with it because he loves horses, Redenbaugh said. A few minutes later, Sonny reached over to nuzzle his bald head.

“You’ve got to admit, though,” Thomas teased. “If your first six horses were bad, you probably wouldn’t have stayed with it.”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

Kathy Purviance-Snow poses for a photo in her computer lab at Snohomish High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Snohomish, WA. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
To ban or embrace ChatGPT? Local teachers fight AI with AI — or don’t

“It has fundamentally changed my teaching in really stressful and exciting ways,” an EvCC teacher said. At all levels of education, ChatGPT poses a tricky question.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside WSP District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed in a collision on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
State trooper killed, 1 arrested in crash on I-5 near Marysville

Authorities said Trooper Chris Gadd had been stopped along the freeway around 3 a.m. near 136th Street NE. A Lynnwood driver, 32, was arrested.

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. Pfizer will spend about $43 billion to buy Seagen and broaden its reach into cancer treatments, the pharmaceutical giant said. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, File)
Pfizer backs out of Everett manufacturing plant after $43B Seagen deal

Pfizer finalized the acquisition of the Bothell-based cancer drug developer in December.

Madi Humphries, 9, Rose Austin, 13, and Eirene Ritting, 8, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No grades, no teachers: Inside a Bothell school run by student vote

Each day at The Clearwater School, 60 students choose their own lessons. It’s one vote per person, whether you’re staff or student.

SonShine Preschool inside First Baptist Church Monroe is pictured Friday, March 1, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
SonShine preschool in Monroe to close at the end of the year

The preschool, operated by First Baptist Church, served kids for 25 years. School leadership did not explain the reason behind the closure.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night on December 11, 2017. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Following lawsuit, Providence commits to improved care for Deaf patients

Three patients from Snohomish County sued Providence in 2022 for alleged Americans with Disabilities Act violations.

Cars drive through snow along I-5 in Snohomish County, Washington on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
In March, 7 p.m. sunsets are back for Western Washington

Washingtonians will finally start seeing more sun starting March 10. But a little more winter could be on the way first.

One of the parking lots at Stevens Pass Thursday afternoon on December 30, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Stevens Pass to charge $20 for parking reservations on busy days

Two-thirds of spaces will remain free for early arrivers on weekends. Cars with four or more occupants can also park free.

Days after shootout with Lynnwood police, suspect checks into hospital

Police learned the 18-year-old was in a hospital in Portland, Oregon. His alleged role in the shooting remained unclear.

Snohomish County pharmacy tech accused of stealing 2,500 opioid pills

Rachel Langdon stole oxycodone while working at a Snohomish County pharmacy, according to state Department of Health allegations.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.