The Invincible Farrier Rig

Imagine having a farrier and vet examine your horse, take X rays, evaluate the film, and shoe your horse accordingly, all on-site and without waiting. Sound impossible? Harry Krippes, a farrier based in Lowell, Fla., has found a way to make this happen. He designed and built a traveling farrier shop complete with the equipment needed to develop X rays. Then he worked diligently to learn the fine art of taking radiographs from expert veterinarians.

"I wanted to expand my knowledge of the inside as well as the outside of a lame horse, with a vet," said Krippes. "Taking a film and seeing what you want to see before the horse is shod is an advantage. You cannot make an accurate assessment without a full view (of the bones)," says Krippes.

After seeing the need for this type of work, he started with a horse trailer body and designed his own workshop. Main features of the trailer include an extensive farrier work area, a darkroom for developing X rays, living quarters, and a conference area for customers or veterinarians.

When a vet, farrier, and client can discuss options of treatment for a lame horse on the spot, a significant amount of time can be saved. Such discussions sometimes can stretch out over days or weeks. The price of treatment, advantages and disadvantages, and aftercare can be discussed face-to-face, with all parties participating and understanding the process. "The time saved can save a horse's life," he said.

Although his main client base is in Florida and Georgia, Krippes travels to shows in Arizona, Kentucky, and New Mexico. He often works the Arab Nationals, as well as regional shows. "For the type of work I do-show horses-I can set up for a week at a time. That is a big advantage," he said.

Krippes pulls his "live-in office" with a Dodge one-ton Ram 3500. "The Dodge Diesel is very economical, and very maneuverable," he said. The truck itself is equipped with a less-extensive set of tools and a forge inside a compartment on the side of the truck. This allows Krippes to unhitch the trailer and travel to smaller jobs.

He bought the Essex horse trailer as a blank, built the shop himself, and had an Ocala outfit build the coach, interior, and darkroom. The combined cost of the whole rig was about $60,000.

Since Krippes spends two weeks out of the month on the road, six months a year, the rig serves him well. "It's new generation; there's nothing like it," he said.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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