Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Shoeing his first horse at 17, local farrier John Gorton says he can't imagine doing anything else.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

Gorton places the heated shoe on the horse's hoof, preparing to customize the shoe to fit.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

Gorton taps and pounds the shoe into the proper shape.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

Gorton trims the hoof of a horse before applying a new shoe.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

With a truck full of various types and sizes of horse shoe, farrier John Gorton and his co-worker, Clem Crum, right, don't have to go far to get what they need.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

Gorton attempts to calm down an unhappy donkey that needs new shoes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

Farrier Don Reed looks over Digger's hoof as John Gorton finishes shaping the horse's shoe.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

Digger waits as farriers Don Reed and John Gorton prepare to replace his shoes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

Heat and smoke rise as Digger gets a new set of shoes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

One of John Gorton's clients shows off some new shoes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

One of the horses at Woodland Oaks Ranch steps into the light.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

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Farrier shoes horses for 35 years in Southern California

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Farrier shoes horses for 35 years in Southern California

When farrier John Gorton fires up the forge and starts to shape a horse’s shoe, he opens a door onto an ancient trade that thrives in this modern region. The work is physically demanding. The clients can be skittish and their owners temperamental. But in the company of these animals — alive to the flicker of their ears and the darkness in their eyes — he finds a wildness that is beautiful and life-affecting.

Read the full story by Thomas Curwen and watch the video “Living life to the beat of an anvil and hammer” and see the photos by Mariah Tauger in the gallery above.

2 Comments

  1. February 24, 2011, 8:25 pm

    I want to thank Thomas Curwen for such an uplifting article about an art that has been around for years, but most don't know anything about. I feel he portrayed John in a wonderful way. Anyone who knows him or has him for a shoer will attest to that. As John's mom, I was so pleased to see this article so beautifully put together. Thanks for your insight into a wonderful profession, and the outstanding manner in which you put it all together.

    By: grandmajan9@juno.com
  2. March 25, 2011, 8:07 am

    My name is Daniel Arreola and I have been a farrier for 6 years. I personally know John and he is a great example for us young shoers. He is a great shoer, who always has time to give advice and time to listen. I read this article and am very pleased with the potrayal of our profession. I want to thank John for all the advice and kindness he shows us young shoers. Thomas Curwen couldnt have picked a better guy to do write this article on. Thank you for your time

    By: Danny369

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