- Associated Press - Friday, February 20, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS, Kan. (AP) - Amy Hauck lifted the hoof of the horse, cradled it between her knees and began cleaning the sole with a hoof knife. Then she snipped away part of the hoof wall with a nipper. Using a rasp, she gave the hoof a final manicure.

It’s the same process her ancestors used in the early 1900s, The Salina Journal (https://bit.ly/1zLZALT ) reports.

Hauck, 19, has been a farrier - a specialist in equine hoof care - for about two years.

After learning the trade, she learned that both her great-grandfather Guy Tucker and her great-great grandfather Austin Tucker were farriers.

The tools of the trade haven’t changed much in 100 years. Hauck even carries an old-fashioned anvil.

“I love it,” Hauck said. “I like being around horses, and I like people.”

When people ask her what she does for a living, she says, “I wrestle 1,200-pound animals.”

Kenny Wilcox, a Minneapolis rancher, is a regular customer.

“I’ll tell you what, we are glad to have her,” he said. “It’s pretty hard to keep one around. It’s a tough job. You have to be young to do it. You are bending over all the time. It’s hard on your body. Those horses are jerking on you all the time.”

Although a lot of Ottawa County ranchers use four-wheelers to check livestock, Wilcox still uses a team of horses.

Hauck discovered the hazards of the job when she attended Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School near Ardmore, Okla.

The six-week, 300-hour course prepared her for the basics of hoof care, including hoof problems such as founder, abscess and torn hoof walls.

The first three weeks of school were the most difficult.

“There is being in running shape and there is being in horseshoeing shape,” she said. “You can be a great athlete but be as sore as crap the day after you shoe a horse. It’s just hard on your body.”

Hauck has been stepped on and kicked in the head.

“It’s kind of gross, but I am missing a toenail because it has been stepped on so many times,” she said.

She’s also had horses chew on her ponytail while she was working on their front hooves.

Hauck said there was no driving force behind her becoming a farrier. She grew up around horses and other animals on the farm north of Ada owned by her parents, Steve and Cindy Hauck.

“I grew up surrounded by animals all the time,” she said. “We never did have a scheduled farrier come out to the farm and trim our horses. I’d watch my dad trim a horse a time or two whenever they needed it. He didn’t trim them every six weeks.”

“When I saw him, I didn’t think, ‘Wow, that’s what I want to do,’ ” Hauck said. “I kinda of stumbled upon the school on the Internet. That looked fun.”

She found out through her uncle Guy Hauck that her ancestors ran a livery in northeast Kansas. Later they moved to Lamar. There, her ancestors readied the horses for the U.S. Army.

“They would bring in horses on boxcars to Miltonvale. They would drive them to Lamar to break them to ride,” she said. “They also trimmed them and shod them.”

Her basic fee is $35 for a trimming and $75 for four shoes. Hauck works seven days a week. On any given day, she may have one horse scheduled or as many as nine.

The basic trimming includes picking up the foot and cleaning it out with a hoof pick.

“After I clean it out, I will brush it out and you can see what needs to be taken off,” she said. “Basically, if you look at a foot, it will tell you what you need to do to it. There is a growth line. There is a white line. You take the rasp and you flatten around the edges.”

The white line separates the sensitive tissue from the non-sensitive tissue, she said.

“You can drive your nails into the white line or just outside of it,” she said.

___

Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, https://www.salina.com

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