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From the ground up

Farrier Leslie Jones and wife Rebecca show, train horses that stay healthy on Pinnacle feed
Story by Hannah Nave, Photos by Sarah Geyer and Hannah Nave 7/31/2018

 

Healthy hooves are important when caring for horses. “If they have a good foot, they have a good coat.” says farrier Leslie Jones of Christiana. “If they have a good coat, they have good overall health because you can tell that they don’t have worms or other problems. If you have a good foot, everything else is going well, too.”
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If anyone understands the importance of horse health, it would be a farrier.

Leslie Jones is a full-time farrier, and on his family’s farm in Christiana, he and wife Rebecca raise and care for their eight horses that they show and exhibit in several disciplines. And Co-op Pinnacle horse feed is an essential part of their operation.

“The [Pinnacle] feed makes them shine.” says Leslie. “I can simply dust them off before a show and they shine because they’re healthy.”

Leslie expresses that nutrition and healthy hooves are the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy horse.

“First, start from the ground up,” he says. “If they have a good foot, they have a good coat. If they have a good coat, they have good overall health because you can tell that they don’t have worms or other problems. If you have a good foot, everything else is going well, too. That Pinnacle feed puts a good foot on a horse, too.”

Leslie and Rebecca have been feeding Pinnacle horse feed to their beloved animals since it was developed and sold at their local Rutherford Farmers Cooperative in Murfreesboro.

“We’re members of the Co-op,” says Rebecca, “We feel it is important to support them however we can, and the Pinnacle feed is a good product.”

After working with the employees at Rutherford Farmers, Rebecca chose to add Pinnacle Balancer (#336PE) to the feed ration to replace Calf-Manna.

“I read the labels,” she says. “Balancer has everything as Calf-Manna, but more, and we haven’t gone back. I use it to give to any horse that needs extra protein added to its diet.”

Leslie and Rebecca now work to find the best mix of the Pinnacle options for their horses depending on their use and the time of the year. They feed a combination of the Pinnacle Balancer, Pinnacle 1200 (#333CO), Pinnacle 1400 (#321PE), and Pinnacle Mare and Foal (#331CO).

“We used to completely mix our own feed,” says Leslie. “But there are people who went to college to balance feed rations, and some of them are working for the Co-op. You think you can do better than that? Plus, the horses love the feed.”

After temporarily trying a competitor’s brand when offered as promotions, Leslie and Rebecca chose to return to Pinnacle.

“Why would we ever change?” says Rebecca. “The horses look great, they don’t ever have digestion problems, and we like the options Pinnacle has to vary the rations depending on the horse.

“I know where my Co-op feed is made, I know what I’m going to get in the bag when I buy it, and I know if I ever have a problem, the people at the Co-op will take care of me.”

Rebecca points out that not only are the horses continuously shiny and healthy because of Pinnacle, but there is another benefit to feeding it, too.

“I am able to give back to organizations through payback programs,” she says. “The Ranch Horse Association and the Paint Horse Association will trade $1 for one label, and I am able to support youth programs by offering a feed that the horses enjoy.”

Their shared love of horses has been a big part of the Joneses’ relationship since the beginning. Leslie kept a horse for Rebecca even before they were married in 1983. Now they enjoy training, showing, and caring for the horses together.

“What our horses are, we make them that way ourselves,” says Rebecca. “We don’t get to the show and the trainer hands them off to us. We ride all our own horses.”

Their group of horses, consists of five quarter horses, one classic Foundation Shetland pony, and two miniature horses.

“That’s the kind of horses we have,” says Leslie. “Not just specific horses for specific purposes.”

Rebecca laughs and adds, “We like to say we’re the jack of all trades, master of none. We try to have fun at all the shows we attend.”

Leslie is a highly skilled farrier who has been servicing horsemen throughout middle Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is a certified farrier with the American Farriers Association. He began shoeing horses as a school-age youngster, helping his father, George. Once Leslie began calf roping, he used horseshoeing one or two horses to support his hobby.

“Before I knew it, I was shoeing more horses and roping fewer calves, and now I’m here,” he says. “Back then, I only wanted two [shoeing jobs] a week: one to pay an entry fee and one to pay the gas. There was a point where I just liked shoeing more than any other kind of work. I still like it, and most of the horses and the people are good to work with.”

When he decided to start shoeing full time, Leslie says he “wanted a job where I see something different every day and stay busy.”

“I definitely stay busy,” he laughs. “I go all over – Leiper’s Fork, Gallatin,

Manchester, Shelbyville,

Columbia, you name it.”

Two years ago, Leslie became the farrier for the horses at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). This partnership makes him responsible for all shoe work on the university’s horses.

“MTSU is a good group to work with,” he says. “And they have a little bit of everything to work on. I like being involved with what’s going on at the university.”

Having different horse breeds keeps Leslie sharp in his farrier skills. He shoes upper-level dressage, hunter jumpers, reiners, pleasure, and Tennessee walking horses.

“I have to study,” he says. “Sometimes, I see new things or need to find a different way to help a horse, so I have to study for the work and to improve in the American Farriers Association.”

What Leslie says he enjoys most about his chosen profession is the freedom.

“I can go here or there,” he says. “I get to help horses and help people, and I feel like I’ve done something. There’s no better feeling than leaving a horse that wasn’t doing good, but you know it’s going to get better. It feels so good to accomplish something and be part of a winning team.”

To find a certified farrier in your area one can go to the “Find a Farrier” link on the American Farriers Association website, www.americanfar-riers.org. To learn more about Co-op Pinnacle horse feed or other equine products, visit with the experts at your local Co-op or online at www.co-opfeeds.com.

 
 
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