Trey Moncrief carefully crafts therapeutic shoes, often four at a time, for users who are on their feet much of the day and night.
For the better part of 25 years, the Fallon-based farrier has been pounding out horseshoes.
A surprising number, says Moncrief, are custom-designed to provide therapeutic assistance for horses with hoof problems.
Working closely with veterinarians and horse owners, Moncrief retreats to his truck, complete with metal stock to create shoes, using a small forge, a blacksmith’s anvil and other gear to create custom therapeutic shoes.
One recent day, he was called out to help a horse that was having serious problems with her front hooves — a particularly troublesome issue for the large horse.
Moncrief devised for her a set of front shoes thicker than normal, with a rubber pad attached to their tops. A side flange eliminated the need for some nails.
This solution has allowed the horse to walk normally and live out her full span of years.
Moncrief began learning the farrier’s craft at the Oklahoma Horse Shoeing School in 1989 and launched Trey Moncrief Horseshoeing in 1990.
His motivation: He wanted a career with variety and independence. Plus, he likes horses and the smell of a barn.
“I got interested in horseshoeing for three reasons,” he recalls. “If it was treated like a business, a guy could be successful. I was around a mentor and liked the lifestyle he had as far as making appointments and so forth. And most important, I get to move around a lot and am not at one particular place all day.”
After going to school to learn the basics of the farrier’s art — which includes a healthy dose of blacksmithing to ensure that a shoe will fit — Moncrief fine-tuned his skills more informally.
The World Championship Blacksmiths, which sponsors competitions around the country, provided hands-on education.
He learns, too, during his work at events such as the Reno Rodeo and Snaffle Bit Futurity, which give him the opportunity to watch other top farriers at work.
“I’ve worked for some of the best in PRCA and one of them is Trevor Brazil. I did his horses and he’s won the All Around Cowboy for the last few years,” Moncrief says. “There are several guys like that that come here.”
His customers come from as far as eastern Nevada, trailering their horses to Fallon for Moncrief’s work. He also drives to some distant customers or flies out if they have the necessary equipment on site.
Most horses are shod every four or five weeks, although some with special needs get a set of new shoes every two weeks. That allows Moncrief to set a regular schedule for himself.
Those visits to different barns, each with their own equine personalities, keeps him enthused about the business.
“I like everything about this business from driving to client’s places,” he says. “We do a lot of driving, but it’s still my passion.”
But for all of his success, Moncrief feels he should have started a little differently.
“I wish I had spent a year or three years as an apprentice,” he said. “Guys that have been around me have done that and started way more successful. Just general things like how to set up for a credit cards, reading people and horses, things you don’t learn in school.”