Ray Amato, 4th Generation Horse-Shoer
After moving to the United States, Ray Amato, Sr. started shoeing at the racetrack in 1940. Ray Amato is a second generation farrier, or horse-shoer, as he is known in the parlance of the thoroughbred racetrack.
Ray Amato is a second generation farrier, or horse-shoer, as he is known in the parlance of the thoroughbred racetrack. Ray’s father began shoeing horses in his native Italy. After moving to the United States, Ray Amato, Sr. started shoeing at the racetrack in 1940. In an interview in 2013, Ray Amato, Jr. spoke about starting to work with his father as an apprentice in 1949. He joined the service during the Korean conflict and was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne. After his military service, Ray started working again with his father and completed his three year internship in about 1956. Now in his 80s (in 2013) Ray Amato joked to me that he had again returned to the role of the apprentice, shooing away flies so that the horse would remain comfortable and therefore “quiet” while being shod. Ray taught his skills in horse-shoeing to both his own son and a nephew. Today, he and his son work in tandem at the thoroughbred racetracks, from Florida to New York. Occupational folklore refers to the expressive culture of workers – the language and verbal skills, songs, and arts that are shared by those who work within the same workplace. At the thoroughbred racetrack, occupational folklore includes the skills of tradesmen, including horse-shoers such as Ray Amato, who have learned their skills through apprenticeship and through one-on-one instruction.