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Farrier Turns Horseshoe Pile Into "Art"
In more than a decade as a farrier, Jay Russell,
Caldwell, Idaho, accumulated tons of used
horseshoes. Then one day in 1998, he was
hit with a bolt of creative lightning (or
something like that) that awoke the artist in
him. He decided to use those old shoes to
sculpt a horse.
Russell nailed his first set of shoes on a
horse at the age of 13, when his dad told him
$12 was too much to pay to have a farrier
shoe his old horse. That was in 1965.
In 1986, after about 15 years as a dairy
farmer, he decided to try something different.
Since he'd gained some proficiency at
trimming hooves and shoeing horses, he
decided to make his living as a farrier.
Russell's records show he's been under nearly
20,000 horses since he became a professional.
When he started working on his first
sculpture, he spent hours cutting out old nails
and bending, straightening and fastening
shoes together using measurements made
from a stallion owned by his wife, Shannon.
"I've never had any formal schooling as a
farrier or as an artist," he admits. "I've gone
to a lot of shoeing clinics and extension
classes to learn more about taking care of
horses. But my only training as an artist is
my own experience."
He finished his first horse sculpture in
November, 1998. He figures it took him
about 80 hours to put it together, not including
the time it took in cutting the old nails out of
the shoes. Russell figures that first horse used
about 1,000 lbs. from his old shoe collection.
Since then, he's made five more sculptures
- all lifesize - including a Cinderella carriage
pulled by a single horse. He's currently
working on the six-horse team that will pull
a stagecoach he's already finished.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jay and
Shannon Russell, 12537 Chicken Dinner
Road, Caldwell, Idaho 83607 (ph 208 454-
8560; E-mail: lostcoz@juno.com).

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2002 - Volume #26, Issue #3