Day At The Track

Business is thriving for 'The Hoof Master'

09:10 AM 05 May 2013 NZST
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Jarett Kelley's first win A pensive Jarett Kelley Jarett Kelley aka 'The Hoof Master'
Jarett Kelley's first win - Behind Keep Going at the Meadowlands in 2011
A pensive Jarett Kelley
Jarett Kelley aka 'The Hoof Master'
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At a time when harness racing numbers are struggling world-wide 'The Hoof Master' is bucking the trend. 'The Hoof Master' is New Jersey horseman Jarett Kelley. He's a more than adequate trainer and driver, but insists he is a blacksmith first - and not just any old blacksmith, one of America's finest.

Kelley learnt the trade from his late father Jeff, who was also a blacksmith who trained horses.

“Dad taught me everything I know. I started jogging horses with him at a very young age and then at 21 I was voted ‘Rookie Driver-of-the-Year’.

“I’ve always loved training and driving racehorses, but I am a blacksmith first. That’s what I’m best at,” Kelley told Harnesslink.

And hundreds of owners, trainers, and standardbreds would vouch for that. You see ‘The Hoof Master’ has a bit of a reputation for delivering state-of-the-art quality.

“I usually shoe between 10 and 17 horses a day and business is booming. Last year was my best season ever. There’s heaps of business for me.

“That is encouraging considering some people within the industry are struggling. Even though it’s slowed down a little bit last this year I know it will pick up when the top stake horses come out to play,” said Kelley who specialises only on standardbreds.

‘The Hoof Master’ has three shops operating out of Showplace Farm, Gateway farms and White Birch Farm. He specialises in reconstructing feet and is renowned for his work with quarter cracks, glue on shoes and fibre glass acrylic.

Kelley insisted a good reputation was the making or breaking of his business.

“If you are reputable the clients keep coming back. I have horses being shipped in from Canada and all parts of the US. I owe all of my knowledge and success to my late father.

Workaholic Kelley also trains a team of five out of New Egypt (NJ). He’s driven and trained 55 winners for $335,161 and $272,572 respectively since the early 1990s.

“I love the horses a lot but its shoeing I enjoy the most. I think it’s because I am fairly efficient at it and I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember.

“Positive comments from clients make you want to keep delivering the best possible workmanship. I also take a lot of pride in what I do – and I think people see that,” the 39-year-old said.

Kelley has shod many champions over the years – too many to mention but the quadruple millionaire pacer Eternal Camnation did slip out mid-conversation.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

The art of blacksmithing:

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