The Lexington, Kentucky thoroughbred market is in a phase that pushes farriers exceptionally hard every year at this time. The Keeneland September Yearling Sale is just around the corner and the yearlings that have been trimmed since they were foals are now about to get their first shoes. The pressure is on the farrier to achieve the most correct look but avoid creating problems for the future.
The market has shrunk. In past years the September sale cataloged as many as 5,500 yearlings, this year numbers are projected to be around 4,300. Another downward shift has been in the shoeing schedule. First shoeing often took place in early to mid-August with another shoeing just before sale day. In some cases, there might have been 3 shoeings. Today, a combination of economic pressures has caused many farms to plan a shoeing only once, just before the sale. Nevertheless, the trimming that started as foals has gone on with a 3 week interval being a typical schedule.
Typical shoeing involves putting light steel training style shoes on the front, usually a Kerckhaert DR 15×7, and just trimming the hind. A lot of effort is put in cleaning up the outer wall and putting a “shine” on the job. After all, it is sale time and looking good is part of the game. The farrier has a significant role in the annual sale ritual.