HYRUM – Sean Burton works as a local farrier. A farrier is someone who specializes in hoof care of horses. The Hyrum man trims and balances horse hooves, then takes a blank horseshoe and molds it with a hammer to fit the hoof of the horse. He will also treat diseased hoofs.
Shoeing horses is Burtons side-hustle; he works at GE full time.
“I shoe about 200 horses a year,” he said as he cut into the hoof of a horse in Millville. “My kids have soccer and other kid activities keep me from doing more.”
He said shoeing 200 horses a year is on the low side of what some guys are doing in the valley.
Burton’s daughter, Brooklyn, held the reins of the horse he was working on. “The horse was pretty tame and easy to handle,” he said. Having a good horse goes a long way, he explained.
He was working on a horse from Nibley. Burton had already done some of the horses in the same corral and said he would come back to do one more.
“There are plenty of horses in the valley and farriers can be pretty picky on which horses they will work on,” Burton said. “If they aren’t well behaved, I just tell them no.”
He said there are about a dozen farriers in the valley and a bunch of closet farriers out there.
“I started shoeing horses 16 years ago when we got horses, about the time our first child was born,” Burton said.
The Burtons now have seven horses and five are too young for shoes.
“Shoeing horses is kind of rewarding,” he said. “When you are done you can see you have accomplished something.”
Burton grew up in Millville but when he got married he moved to Hyrum.
He said April to June is his busiest time of year, but when Fall comes he gets busy with horses for hunters.
All of the farriers in the valley are good to each other, they don’t try to undercut each other. If someone calls him and he can’t do it he will refer them to one of other guys in the valley.
Some farriers use blacksmith’s skills to fabricate, adapting, and adjusting the shoes with some veterinarian’s skills to care for horses’ feet.
Some farriers can also deal with injured or diseased hooves and application of special shoes for racing, training, or “cosmetic” purposes. Horses with certain diseases or injuries may need a remedial procedure for their hooves, or need special shoes.