Saturday, October 25, 2014

Guts. Glory. Horseshoes: Farrier Travis Baker Drives a Dodge.

Is this an ad for Ram Trucks, farriery as a career, or California as a place to live the good life? Maybe it's a little bit of all three. Travis Baker's farrier life in California looks good from behind the wheel of a new Dodge Ram pickup.

But make no mistake: that's not a Hollywood actor pretending to be a farrier, he's the real thing. Travis Baker probably really is driving that Ram truck somewhere along the Central Coast of California right now, unless the surfing is good, of course.

horseshoeing rig trailer Georgia Farrier Supply

The film, which exists in standard 30- and 60-second commercial formats as well as this long form, is the work of Los Angeles filmmaker and commercial director Ben Tedesco. Ben went north to Travis's beautiful area of San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast to spend day after day riding to barns and vet clinics with Travis--with occasional surfing and fishing sidetrips.

Obviously, Ben liked what he saw of the farrier's life. And his camera lens did, as well. The film has already been shown at the New York New Directions Showcase for advertising media, and won an award. That's just the beginning.

Ram Trucks for horseshers

Travis is an interesting accidental spokesperson for the farrier profession. He didn't set out to be a farrier. A native of Reno, Nevada, he went to high school in Lodi, California and graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, a university known for its horse education programs and once famed for its excellent horseshoeing program, which sadly closed years ago.

After college, Travis worked on a ranch in Oregon where, as he describes in the film, part of his job was keeping shoes on his horses. He learned by doing, but what that experience did was make him want to learn more, so he spent a few years riding with San Luis Obispo farrier--and 2013 National Reined Cow Horse Non-Pro Champion--Shawn Rinshaw.

California horseshoer Travis Baker

Travis eventually started his own business, but has been going to clinics and competing in contests, and has passed the practical and shoe board sections of the American Farrier's Association certification. He lives on a ranch in Morro Bay where he works his two horses on cattle and practices his roping.

A busy sports life means he needs the bed of that new Ram truck to be open, so Travis has fitted out one of Georgia Farrier Supply's Kodiak shoeing trailers as a detachable rig.

farrier truck and trailer

So it all came together on the beautiful Central Coast of California. Ben and Travis hope you like it--if you do, let Ram Trucks know--and let's get more farriers in more commercials.

As it turns out, Ram Trucks are pretty farrier friendly. They sponsor the Kentucky Derby (Ram is the official truck), and produced a six-part video documentary on Thoroughbred care last year. They have some farrier elements on their Facebook page, like this one:

farrier ad Ram Trucks

and this one:

Steel Not Superstition

No doubt you noticed that something--or someone--is missing from this commercial, if you are familiar with the sound of Ram truck ads from recent years.

Sam Elliott, voice of Ram Trucks

Yes, this feature for Ram Trucks has everything except the deep, resonant voice of actor Sam Elliott sending some symbolic words reverberating through the layers of his perfect mustache.

Sure, "Guts. Glory, Ram" has a certain ring to it, but how about "Guts. Glory. Hooooorseshoooooes"?

And Sam Elliott could pause and tag on a flashback to what he said so prophetically at the close of The Big Lebowski in the bowling alley: "I don't know about you, but I'd take comfort in that."

California. Pickup trucks. Horseshoes. We do take comfort in those things, don't we? Thank you, Ben and Travis for your great work reminding us of that.

--Fran Jurga

Fran Jurga launched Hoofcare Publishing and the Hoofcare + Lameness Journal in 1985 to provide independent, progressive information about hoof science and lameness problems in horses. The Hoof Blog followed in 2004. Stay in touch to receive useful information via email from


Ben Tedesco, director
Director Ben Tedesco
Learn more about this video and director Ben Tedesco, who is available for projects in the horse world, now that he's gotten his hooves wet:
:30 version

While researching this article, the Ram Trucks "Guts. Glory, Country" playlist on Spotify was playing. "Trucks Are For Girls" was my favorite. Yes, they're all songs about trucks.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: The Hoof Blog (Hoofcare Publishing) has not received any direct compensation for writing this post. Hoofcare Publishing has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned, other than products and services of Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.