Just like the champions he tends to, Wes Champagne was bred to work on horses. His grandfather, Frank Shipley, was a notable USDA Vet. His father, Gerald Champagne, was a successful jockey, trainer and breeder. Wes’s brother is a farrier and their sons now follow in their footsteps.
Wes quickly rose through the ranks to become the go-to farrier for the world’s top trainers and owners, vet schools and hoof care specialists. Bobby Frankel (National Hall of Fame and 5-time Eclipse Award Winner for Outstanding Trainer), Neil Drysdale (National Hall of Fame and winner of two Triple Crown races), Bob Baffert (National Hall of Fame and winner of a half dozen Triple Crown races) are among the legends who rely on Wes Champagne.
Vladimir Cerin, a future Hall of Famer who won more than 1000 races, called Wes the best farrier in the country.
Farrier’s work is one for true cowboys, not playboys. Still to this day, Wes is usually at work by early morning and often remains at the park 12 hours later. Horse after horse, six to seven days a week during season. At night, he finds time for family and running the thriving Champagne Horseshoe Company.
Wes Champagne’s influence is felt far beyond the tracks where his horses compete. He revolutionized the equestrian industry with a simple discovery: iodine prevents commonly used adhesives like bondo and putty from sealing onto the hoof. This led to a simple invention: a glue on horseshoe that actually works.
Long before the practice of using cadaver legs as training tools was banned, Wes was thinking about how to take farrier apprenticeship to the next level. Learning the precision of the craft was one thing, practicing it while keeping a 1200-pound horse calm, is quite another. It takes tremendous upper body strength to hold the leg at the right angle, while handling tools and nails with the ease of a magician.
A dozen designs and prototypes later, the BLACKSMITH BUDDY was born. Faster than horses out of the gate, the BLACKSMITH BUDDY was embraced by veterinary schools and top breeders around the country.Now that BLACKSMITH BUDDY is a success, one can only imagine the next big idea that Wes has up his sleeve.