Our interview with Sean Crocker, farrier to the three-day eventing stars, continues! Keep reading for a key job often overlooked by horse owners, the most challenging foot to shoe, and why he’s still a fan of the three-day.
Q. What don’t people think about when they think of your work? What would surprise people?
A. One thing that’s kind of interesting is it’s not always a good thing to have to teach the horse ground manners on top of shoeing the horse. That’s something horse owners could pay attention to. It’s hard enough to shoe the horse, let alone worrying about the ground manners not being so great. It makes our job more difficult.
Think about what we’re doing to their feet and the skill and the accuracy that you need when you’re driving in a nail. Fortunately you do enough of those types of horses that you get really good at it. You gain experience from it. It’s another thing horse owners could probably help their farrier with.
Q. What’s the most challenging foot to shoe?
A. Traditionally your ex-racehorses, your Thoroughbreds off the track, have the poorest quality of foot. It’s difficult for nailing shoes on the thinner wall since there’s more likelihood of quicking the horse. But nowadays you have technology for horses off the track and horses with poor quality hooves—you can put them in glue-ons. That buys enough time for the hoof wall thickness to come back. It’s significantly different than foxhunters or draft horses who have good quality hooves.
Q. What’s your take on horses?
A. I’ve been so involved with horses for so long—there’s nothing more humbling on the planet than horses.
Q. What’s it like to be so closely involved with the upper-level eventing?
A. It’s nice to shoe for upper level event riders—I get to live vicariously through them. I can really appreciate and understand their triumph and heartbreaks more than most farriers. There are parts of it I miss. I miss the competing part. I don’t miss the seven-day week 24-hour day part of it.
I’m still such a fan. Going to three-days at some of these major competitions is really exhilarating. We try to make it rewarding too. When you’re at these major three-day events and you see the support that’s being given to riders and horses by vets and farriers at all hours, it’s nice to see it come to a good result at the end of it. You feel like you’re part of a team.
Read Part 1 of Sean Crocker’s interview. Courtney Young conducts in-depth interviews with the elite of the equestrian world on her blog Three Days Three Ways. Check it out for a behind-the-scenes look into three-day eventing.