. Ok. So here is another one that I didn’t expect. I do these blogs about students that are willing to tell me their story, so the ones that don’t get a profile are the ones that don’t want one. That being said, I am always amazed when I get to find out more about these folks. It seems like we get the most interesting and dynamic folks in the Heartland with stories to tell.

This blog is about Thad McGregor, who we call Berries. The name came early on when I was demoing forge welding the horseshoe sandwich. Thad kind of turned and covered his wedding tackle with his hands when the sparks were flying. Then he said, “Gotta protect the Berries”, so that became his nickname.

Berries is a 23-year-old cowboy from Zalma, Missouri. He has been working several jobs since he was 15, starting out in carpentry with his father. That did not suit him perfectly, so he began working as a row-crop farmer. The money wasn’t that great and he also did not get the fulfillment out of that job that he wanted, so again he moved on. After graduating from high school in 2012 he got a 40-hour a week job with good pay and benefits, and did that for a couple of years. Once again, the feeling of fulfillment and going somewhere in life were not there with that job so he kept searching.

Berries has also been a rodeo cowboy and has the surgery scars on his shoulder to help tell the stories of that career. Good scars help tell good stories and I’m sure his children will one day enjoy them. It is good that he is not doing that anymore since farriery and bull-riding do not go that well together as career choices.

During these years his mom and dad were developing Bar MC, their Quarter Horse Ranch. On the 4th of March, 2016, Thad’s life took a drastic change when his dad was murdered. An event like that changed Thad’s life into a whirlwind and as he looked at his life he decided that he was the furthest thing from what he wanted to be. He moved back to the ranch and found himself like never before. His rock and future wife, Paige, has been such an influence and beacon for him through this. He decided that working with horses is where his heart is and how he wants to spend his life. He has always been the happiest when working with horses, and farriery is the best way that he has found to work with horses and also make a good living in the process.

Berries ended up at Heartland Horseshoeing School from doing a lot of research into the schools available and what they could offer. The more he found out about us, the more he felt that we were the perfect place for him to learn more about farriery. He is very happy with his decision, although it is a tough place with a lot of demands.

Moving forward with Paige by his side, Berries has three major goals that drive him. First, he wants to follow in his father’s example and be the best man that he can possibly be. To lead a life that would make his father proud of the man that he is. The next goal is to become a top farrier. Finally he wants to do whatever he can to help his mother develop Bar MC into a great Quarter Horse ranch. From what I can see, Thad is well on his way to realizing these goals. We are proud to be a part of his journey, and know that a lot of horses are going to have a better life because of the work that Thad will be able to do on their feet.

Baby watching Berries working on his mom.

These fires are great.

Getting introduced to the coke fires.

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