The New Rig

by Matthew Taimuty, CJF

Published in the January 2000 Issue of Anvil Magazine

Well, the old `53 DeSoto pickup just rolled over half a million miles. That wouldn't be a problem but for the transmission laying on the driveway waving a white flag.

Time to build a new shoeing rig, I guess. Whooppee! What fun!

The first place to start is thinking about the fact that I need enough space for all my stuff. The term "equipment" does not fit the bill anymore. There is some stuff that just isn't quite "equipment." After this many years making a living with my butt higher than my head, I guess that isn't surprising.

First there is the lounge chair - the one with the bent leg that ol' Pesto the donkey kicked in 1972. Then there's the transistor radio I build in electric shop in high school. I think seven of the eight transistors still work. I can get the ball games if I set it on top of the truck with the piece of baling wire bent just right. That changes from day to day, but it's half the fun. And last but not least, there is the eight track. Too many good tunes to leave that out.

Now that I have the good stuff taken care of, the next consideration is all the other items I use to make a living. For example, the anvil and stand. Pesto got one of the legs on my stand in 1985. I was able to bang it out fairly straight. I have a small rock I use to even out that one leg.

I have four drill presses: one for studs, one for rivets, two for parts. Same goes for my grinders. I have a belt sander with a wire wheel on the other side and a regular grinder with stuff to sharpen my knives. I have a third one, but I don't remember what I use it for. Matter of fact, I haven't seen it since the last time I cleaned my truck. I think that must have been early in 1993. I know it's in there somewhere.

I have a nice big set of welding tanks. Haven't needed to fill them since I got back from `Nam. I do have a problem keeping tangles out of the 50 feet of welding hose, though. `Course I don't use it much since I got one of those newfangled wire feed welders. I bought an extra one in case the first one gave up the ghost in the middle of welding a bar shoe, but I'll be danged if I know where that one is buried.

Gotta have room for all my hand tools. I have 12 rounding hammers, 11 pairs of tongs, 10 hot-cut hardies, nine ball-peen hammers, eight hot rasps, seven finish files, six pairs of vise grips, five anvil devils, four forepunches, three different creasers, two pairs of hot gloves, and one pritchel in a pot of hoof grease.

I also have 35 drill bits, 34 of which need to be sharpened, and 26 hoof knives. (Never know when you might need a spare.) I own 15 old pairs of nippers; Pesto stepped on my only pair once, so I take no chances these days. And six aprons (I occasionally have visitors).

There are three propane bottles, one of which does not leak. Four hoof stands: different heights for different horses. Five stall jacks: one for fronts, one for hinds, one for race places, and one for aluminum. Learned that one the hard way, too. Pesto sat on one, and broke the leg off.

Then there are my supplies. I like to keep a well-stocked rig. I carry 57 sizes and styles of keg shoes, 20 pairs of each. Don't want to get caught short. And 23 different types of pads. Two cases of silicone. Fifteen sizes of nails. I make sure to carry a case of each of the nine sizes I use regularly. Forty-six sizes and styles of bar shoes. Four different kinds of hoof repair material in two different colors each. Two dozen rasps. And three pad cutters - one for big pads, one for little pads. And, you guessed it - one for parts.

Then there is the little stuff: hoof springs, heel lifts, razor blades, duct tape, oakum, Forschner's, rubber tubing, chewing tobacco, band aids, bug spray, pipe thread tape, a handful of propane fittings, a ground positioning system (GPS) in case I get lost, a CB, and a cell phone.

I do carry a bit of miscellaneous stuff, too: water jug, coffee thermos, a cooler full of soft drinks, hot plate, tea bags, Cup-O-Soup. Oh, and Snickers bars, by the case.

Can't forget my four forges: one coal and three gas. I have a big gas forge for drafters and a little one for everyone else. I usually carry about 200 pounds of coal to make sure I don't run out. The third gas forge is for parts.

Now that all the inventory is taken care of, time to decide how to lay things out. I'm gonna design several swing-out arms for the drill presses and grinders, the welding tanks and mig welders, the pad cutters and the forges. The coal forge might be kinda tricky, what with a flexible flue and all.

Gonna build in a nice little microwave for my coffee and maybe add a satellite dish so I can get the games better. That ol' radio might not last much longer.

I'm thinking of some sort of hydraulic arm for the anvil. Maybe it will fold out from inside the truck. I found some 10,000 lb. rams off an old John Deere that might work. Gotta make it strong enough that ol' Pesto won't hurt it. I'm getting tired of his antics.

Well, it's decided. I know what I need for a new rig, I just have to go out and find it. It has to be big enough to hold twelve thousand pounds of stuff, able to turn around in its own length, get 35 miles to the gallon, cost less than ten grand, and be no larger than a Volkswagen.

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