A recent sales trip to visit farrier suppliers in the West took me through southern Idaho, from one side of the state to the other. For anyone coming from the East, it’s hard to grasp how tough the environment is in this region. You can go miles without seeing any sign of crops and then pass through some extremely lush hay, potato and grain producing areas. This brings home the whole notion of how critical water supplies are for the Western states. Without irrigation, there aren’t many square miles that can produce even the most basic crops.
It’s fascinating to see all the varieties of irrigation systems, many supplied by water from the Snake River. The river originates in Western Wyoming and travels 1,078 miles to end up as the largest tributary of the Columbia River. It is definitely a lifeline for the region.
What’s fairly certain is that without irrigation it would be difficult to keep our industry going strong in environments like southern Idaho. The equine industry is dominated by the western disciplines and trail and pack horses. We’ve found that most of our customers look for strength in the shoes first and foremost with traction right there at the top of the features list. This is a strong area for shoes like the Kerckhaert Standard, Standard Extra, Triumph steel as well as Pride sliding plates and other shoes for the event horses. If you see how much rock and gravel surface they have to deal with you would appreciate the need for good steel materials in the shoes on horses working outside the arena.
The farriers of this area have to deal with the dry nature of the region and combined with the extreme heat of the summer, it creates some very hard feet. The bonus may be the hoof is stronger and less susceptible to damage, but trimming and nailing is no walk in the park.