Horsey Occupations and a Giveaway!

This has been a busy month for me. My little sister got a hip replacement and I’ve been her nursemaid. She gets calls from folks telling her to heal up quick so they can have her teach riding lessons again, train their horses and that sort of thing. And of course her fellow horsemen (and women) have been calling and wishing her a speedy recovery. One such fellow stands out though.

I’ve been around horse people pretty much all my life because of my sister’s occupation. As many of you know, she’s a retired race horse jockey and teaches hunter/jumper horses now. An old friend of hers, Mr. Meling, has been in contact with her over the last few months and I finally got to meet him. As an author, this guy is a treasure trove of resource material! He holds riding clinics, he’s competed at the national level in jumping and in Grand Prix’s. He exercised horses at the race track for 19 years in his younger days. He’s roped at a semi-pro level, he breaks colts, he’s also been an outrider at the race track. Outriders are responsible for the safety of all racing participants, both equine and human during training and live racing. And, (yes, there’s more) he’s also a high end horse shoer with a focus on reconstructive shoeing. He’s been shoeing for 47 years.

This was the part I found interesting.  People fly him into Texas, Kentucky and New York among other places just to shoe their horses. And yes, we’re talking Churchill Downs and Belmont race tracks. He shoes horses for those races. He said I could pick his brain and I plan to, but the whole horse-shoeing thing sort of amazes me.

One thing I didn’t think about when he told me what he does, is that he takes his own tools with him. Yikes! That’s one way to set off the metal detectors at the airport. Of course, he’s not about to carry any of that stuff onto a plane himself. Still that’s a lot of weight to have to haul around when you get to where you’re going. Mr. Meling said he has two 24x24x18 pelican cases that each weigh ninety pounds. He keeps sets of tools at some of the places where he shoes often, but when he does have to heft his own tools along, it’s a chore. 

Horse shoeing is also not for sissies. He can shoe from one to as many as a couple dozen horses when people fly him in. When doing what are called gluons and reconstructive shoeing, he said he can do no more than eight pair in a day. The before and after photos of some of the horses he’s done are amazing. 

Do you know someone with an interesting occupation? As writers, we can dabble in different genres and be very good in each. Mr. Meling works in different parts of the horse world and is very good in each. But what other occupations are out there that you or someone you know has branched into different areas of and made a life long career out of? For Mr. Meling, it’s horses. For my fellow fillies and me, it’s stories. I’ll giveaway one e-book of mine of choice to one lucky winner from the comments.




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Kit Morgan is the author of over 100 books of historical and contemporary western romance! Her stories are fun, sweet stories full of love, laughter, and just a little bit of mayhem! Kit creates her stories in her little log cabin in the woods in the Pacific Northwest. An avid reader and knitter, when not writing, she can be found with either a book or a pair of knitting needles in her hands! Oh, and the occasional smidge of chocolate!

34 thoughts on “Horsey Occupations and a Giveaway!”

  1. Since we’re talking horses, my dental hygienist is a horsewoman. She and her new husband bought a farmette so she can keep her horses and ride when she wants.

    She’s been taking classes so that she can be an equine dental hygienist. She’s a really good people hygienist–I’m worried she’ll leave. I’ll miss her if she does. We’re the same age an get along nicely. But, I do find it admirable she wants to work on horses.


    • From human teeth to horse! I’ll have to tell Marijo my sister about her. She knows a few equine dentists but I don’t think she knows any that once worked on people’s teeth first.

  2. I once had an acquaintance that was a nuclear power plant inspector. He suited up from head to finger to toe in a bulky space-looking suit to do his inspections and traveled all over the country.

  3. Yes a good farrier is worth their weight in gold and the ones that do the special work even more!

  4. Interesting post but it looks like back breaking work. I wish your sister luck with her new hip, I had a replacement several years ago and it was well worth it. A few weeks and she want know the different in the hips. They do amazing things in this day in time.

  5. I have known some farriers but not any other unusual occupations. I did met someone who was a dentist and no longer practiced. Instead he interpreted w-rays and told dentists how to proceed.

    • Ah me, so many of us were raised to find one career and then retire out of it. I don’t think a lot of us realized you can do other things using talents you’ve learned along the way. I think that’s why there are more unusual jobs out there now. People saw a need and created one.

  6. Good morning. My brother works at a printing press company which I worked at once for 3 years. We made the tax books you had to used to use, maps and other brochures.

  7. I don’t know how many people will find this interesting, but I do. My husband lost his job last summer and the one he found is at a shop that restores classic cars. A couple of the guys there have worked on car restoration tv shows and the shop owner knows a lot of the big name builders. Speaking of horses, my husband was once approached by someone wanting him to train as a jockey because of his size. Right now, he is 5’3″ and 120 lbs. When I met him he probably only weighed 100 lbs. He’s been asked to drive races cars too because of his lighter weight. The only interesting thing I have done was volunteering at a rescue socializing kittens.

  8. My dad once worked at a race course with horses. He left me a picture of him at the race course. In the army he was a soldier who rode horses along the Texas border.

  9. I don’t know of anyone in an unusual occupation, but I recently met a gentleman who raises llamas and has over 20 years. I talked to him about 20-30 minutes- found out a lot of information about llamas.

  10. Hope your sister heals well and quickly. Wow this man really is an all around cowboy. I really dont know of someone who has an interesting career that stands out like this. My sister works in the field of concrete repair. She is the head of the art department of this. She has come up with some fantastic ways to display concrete in colors and patterns. Her work is all over the world. My husband and son (since he was 13) reenacted Civil War and World War 2. Our son has researched, sewn and sold the clothes that men need. He has become very well know in this world as reliable and accurate.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

    • Wow, Lori! That’s cool! I’ve seen some of the fancy concrete art that’s out there. We put concrete floors into a couple of rooms. Love that your son does reenactment clothing. I knew a couple that did that years ago. I have about a dozen pieces of reenactment clothing.

  11. It’s not an unusual profession, but nursing can be quite diversified. Once the basic RN degree and license are obtained, then comes the specialty training. The sky is the limit! So any specialties: newborn, obstetrics, geriatrics, ICU, ER, general med-surg hospital nurse, surgical, school nurse, camp nurse, nurse on the set of a movie production, prison nursing, home health, nurse practitioner in many areas, anesthesia, teaching nursing, the list goes on and on. Plus, if you get tired of one specialty, you can always train for a different one. Boredom is not in a nurse’s vocabulary!

    • My niece just graduated from nursing school, Sherry. I have no idea if she’s thought of a specialty yet. She has a graduation party next month. I’ll have to ask her.

  12. I worked in a show dog kennel once. The owner even took me to a few showings and had me help her once because she could not be in two rings at the same time. I liked the outdoor course work better than walking around a ring.

  13. Thank you for the exciting post. My Mom was an Avon representative for 55 years. When she began selling, Avon was just a beauty company selling cosmetics. They then began to sell fragrance, jewelry, decanters, vitamins, bath products, children line of toys, clothing, and cleaning supplies to name a few. With each new addition, my Mom would need to learn about the product as well as the best way to promote the products.

  14. Our daughter always loved horses (don’t most little girls?), but we were never able to have one. Through working as a counselor at a high adventure Boy Scout camp for several summers, she got the opportunity to indulge her horse love. She worked in the Wagon Train unit and got to work with mules there to pull the wagon and did some horse stuff with the family that supplied the mules and horses for the unit. She even rode as an outrider for a commemorative anniversary wagon train to Richmond, VA. When she graduated from high school, she went to farrier school. She had all the equipment, but never really worked at it to have it become a career. She was thrown by a mule at camp and they said she bruised her hip and sent her back to work. She was never able to take the weight of the horse when working on a hoof. It bothered her for years and we finally discovered that she had really had broken her hip in the fall. Just a hairline fracture, but enough to cause problems, especially since she never gave it a chance to heal properly. Our son, 8 years her junior, started playing with her little forge and taught himself to be a blacksmith. He is also good at woodworking. One of his first projects when he was about 14, was a 4 foot, wooden, fantasy sword for his other sister’s boyfriend. It was impressive. He worked with his dad to renovate our 1898 house and build an addition to the house and one on the garage starting when he was in 5th grade. They eventually built a forge building. He is self taught in everything and does renovations and construction. The only class he took, with his dad, was welding. He can do just about anything he puts his mind to and does really nice work.

    Thanks for an interesting post. I am going to share it with our daughter.

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