No horsing around for the blacksmith responsible for keeping the NYPD’s Mounted Unit on its hooves

As a farrier horseshoer for the NYPD, Marcus Martinez Jr. can be found most days bent over an anvil and hammering away at horseshoes inside the NYPD Mounted Unit Troop B headquarters on 530 West 53rd St.

Working as a farrier for over two decades, it is Martinez’s job to ensure the horses are cared for and ready for duty by crafting shoes for the animals, a profession that has become more of a lifestyle.

Being a farrier horseshoer is no easy feat. Photo by Dean Moses

“I love it. Love it. Every day is fun. Every day is great. Even the bad days are good. I get to work with these wonderful animals every day. And I get to make sure that they’re well taken care of in terms of their feet, safety, and that they’re safe out in the street, and I get to look out for their health overall,” Martinez told amNewYork Metro. 

Marcus Martinez Jr. and Montauk. Photo by Dean Moses

Even after many years wielding the hammer and toiling amidst the sparks of his profession, Martinez’s eyes still glow for the love of the craft and for the animals he serves. Still, there is no time for horsing around on the job; safety is key for both himself and the four-legged equine officers. 

Over his tenure, Martinez believes he has developed almost a sixth sense in terms of caring for the creatures stabled on the west side. From the structure of their body to the sound of their jump, the smith says he can tell the fit of a shoe.

Marcus Martinez Jr. spends his days bent over expecting horse hooves. Photo by Dean Moses

“I look at them everyday. You can see when they grow, they grow out of balance. My job is to balance the foot to the horse, his spinal cord and skeletal structure, so when he lands he lands as flat and as comfortably as possible. I can also hear it, I can hear the footfall and hear when they are working too hard or when they are not landing as flat as she should be. I also pay attention to their walk, I can see that, I can almost feel that,” Martinez explained.

Martinez loves his craft. Photo by Dean Moses
Martinez measures the horseshoe, ensuring a comfortable fit. Photo by Dean Moses

Building new shoes for horses is by no means an easy feat, however. According to Martinez, it takes a tremendous toll on the body and if not executed properly could leave him with pain. Still, he loves his profession to the point he ensures his body is kept as safe as the animals. Martinez ensured amNewYork Metro that the horses feel no pain while they are shoed and in fact the shoes are designed to protect the creatures as they trot on the New York City streets.

For Martinez, the NYPD Mounted Unit not only serve as fellow officers, they also showcase the department’s inclusivity.

“They’re approachable. If you see an officer on horseback, you’re gonna walk up to that horse because everybody is interested in horses. They’re beautiful. They’re unique,” Martinez said.

Marcus Martinez Jr. at work. Photo by Dean Moses