A farrier’s day can bounce from trimming a backyard pet to placing corrective shoeing on a retired reiner to helping a show jumper compete at the highest levels. Some tasks are routine, and some require careful and consistent collaboration with a farrier, veterinarian, and owner to keep the animal comfortable and healthy. Joao Neto, owner of Equine Hoof Solutions, LLC in College Station, TX has dedicated his career to helping horses get back on their feet, both literally and figuratively.
Neto, originally from Brazil, came to the United States in 2000 to ride cutting and roping horses for a year. While here he became fascinated with horseshoeing. He remembers the fire, the trimming, and the craft was all very interesting to him. So, upon returning to Brazil he made it just two weeks there before realizing he wanted to move to the U.S. permanently to pursue becoming a farrier. In 2001, he began apprenticing under Quinn Hansen. Hansen worked on a lot of cutting and roping horses and was local to the Navasota, TX area. They mostly worked on Quarter Horses and once a week would work out of the vet clinic there. It was at this time that Neto got his first taste of therapeutic shoeing, and knew this was his ultimate passion. He loved working with the veterinarians, taking x-rays before and after his work, and the attention to detail needed to make slight adjustments to ensure the horse was on the right track. All of it was extremely satisfying to him. In 2003, the vet clinic flew Dr. Ric Redden, DVM, the nation’s first equine podiatrist and a member of the International Equine Veterinarian Hall of Fame, out to work on some unique cases. It was at this time that Neto realized he wanted to learn as much as he could from Dr. Redden and was encouraged by Hansen to do so.
Over the years, Dr. Redden taught Neto to read x-rays, taught him the anatomy and physiology of the hoof and leg, and how to treat debilitating hoof diseases. He had the opportunity to travel all over the world with Redden giving clinics in places like England, Germany, Switzerland, and Brazil. He says that this educational opportunity taught him the importance of the relationship and collaboration of the farrier and the veterinarian in a horse’s healing process.
Now, Neto runs his own farrier business, Equine Hoof Solutions, LLC. He mostly specializes in the care of hunter jumpers and dressage horses. He says 70% of his cases are typical shoeing clients but roughly 30% are therapeutic podiatry cases that require collaboration with the local veterinary clinic. He sees navicular, heel pain, and laminitis most often and says that each client makes him better than the last. He enjoys the podiatry work immensely and says that the best part of his job is seeing horses become sound again after being in pain.
Because of his travels to Europe, one of his go-to Mustad products is the Mustad LiBero size 2 shoes which are only sold there. His favorite U.S. Mustad products are the Concave Nails, Equi-Librium shoes, the LiBero shoes, and the Heller rasps. He has, and always will, use Mustad products in his business. Neto shared that he is now a Mustad influencer, his love of the products allows him to share their premium products with the public and showcase their use in horses performing at the highest levels.
Neto shared that if he could give advice to someone interested in becoming a farrier, he would urge them to attend farrier school first before becoming an apprentice. He explained that learning the basics and having the opportunity to explore what specialty the person might be interested in is the best way to start this career.