Horseshoes bring business, and luck, to farrier

In his job, Justin Ray mounts and balances tires - of a living kind.

Ray recently graduated from farrier school, Casey and Son Horseshoeing School of Georgia and has moved back to Barnwell County to start his business.

A farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care who can correctly trim and balance a horse's hoof and properly shoe them.

"I enjoy horses. A happy horse makes a happy owner," Ray said.

Ray said his schooling was 12 weeks long and he was always doing farrier or forge work.

Ray leases a barn on the corner of Galilee and Green Branch Roads, just outside of Barnwell.

Ray first worked at the barn taking care of horses owned by Gary Adams.

Adams said Ray mentioned he would like to learn the farrier trade. So the two found a certified school for Ray to attend.

Horse shoes offer improved traction for the horse, he said.

Ray said a farrier also must learn blacksmithing skills and have extensive knowledge of a horse's anatomy, particularly its feet, legs and natural gait of the horse.

As a recommended standard for horse and rider safety, a horse should be on a six-week schedule of hoof trimming, Ray said.

"Any horse is better shod because it keeps the horse's boney column of the leg in alignment where when the foot strikes the ground, the entire boney column including the spine equally absorbs the concussion," Ray said. "A horse performs best at its natural (hoof) angle."

Ray said the correct trimming and shoeing of a horse will keep the horse more naturally balanced, ensuring a safer ride for the rider.

"I want to ride something safe," said Adams.

Ray said owners can do their part in keeping their horse's hoofs in good condition between farrier visits by correctly and completely picking out their horse's hoofs.

This action is similar to cleaning under ones own fingernails.

Ray will travel to the horse's home barn or will work out of his barn if the owner transports the horse.

Ray can also provide overnight boarding if needed, he said.

Ray said he has reasonable rates and will provide discounts for multiple horses.

Ray is certified through the Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association and can be reached at (803) 300-3322 for free evaluations.