Tails of a Horseshoer
by Ray Legel
Reviewed by Chris Gregory
Being able to get your hands dirty, work outside and be your own boss are why so many of us got into horseshoeing. But, being able to laugh at yourself during those days when you just shouldn't have stepped out of bed is what keeps us in horseshoeing.
Ray Legel has spent 30 years in the horseshoeing business and after reading his 297-page book, Tails of a Horseshoer, you'd never think he's spent a "normal" day on the job.
Not Like Today's Shoers
Legel started shoeing horses more than 30 years ago when there weren't as many opportunities to become educated as a farrier. In that time, he's experienced a diverse, successful career that still is going strong today.
Despite not growing up with the advantages of today's farriers, Legel is making up for lost time under the current farrier atmosphere of camaraderie and learning.
We've All Been There
Thirty years ago a book like Legel's might never have been written, but today, with farriers working together and learning from one another, his book is a must-read for anyone who gets under a horse.
Legel's stories are told from the farrier's point of view. You can feel the different emotions that all farriers go through as he tells about the wide array of predicaments he has found himself in over the years.
Being a humble man, Legel does not try to hide from the mistakes that we have all made in this profession. Instead, he points them out in a way that makes them both humorous and educational. Just like all of us, he has customers he wants to take off the books, as well as customers he maintains the utmost respect and loyalty.
Right There With Him
As my wife Kelly and I read this book, we found ourselves cheering for Legel as he battled bad horses and found out the painful limitations of the frail human body.
You feel like you are right there alongside Legel. After reading about the many situations he became entangled in, we felt like he had taken a page right out of our personal careers.
Doesn't Beat Around The Bush
Tails of a Horseshoer is a straightforward book. Legel writes in a style that doesn't waste words and gets directly to the point. There is a quality to his writing that finds humor in any kind of situation.
To accompany almost every story, there is a photograph or a detailed illustration, which makes the text flow even faster than it already does. My only complaint is that the book isn't longer. Even though the book contains 297 pages, it only took us two sittings to finish it. I hated to see it end, which is always the mark of a good book.
Add It To Your Library
If you shoe for the general public, know someone who wants to be a farrier or have ever had any interest in the "behind the scenes" life of a farrier, you need to get this book.
There are plenty of stories in Tails of a Horseshoer that I'd like to make copies of and give to my customers. I'm sure you'll feel the same way.