California Riding Magazine • December, 2013

Flying Changes


Al Guinup: Fond Farewell To A Farrier

Al Guinup, long-time San Diego County horseshoer, passed away on Oct. 22 at the age of 91. Al worked on horses for nearly 70 years and remained passionate until his retirement at age 87. He regularly worked on horses from the Mexican border to Temecula, and as far east as El Centro, plus the Imperial Beach Riding Stables and the Tumbleweed Horse Club in Lakeside.

Al shoed horses on the race tracks of Arizona, where his brother Charles was a jockey. He also worked at the Pancho Kibbee stables, which is now the Fashion Valley mall. He was known for his genuine smile and love of horses.

Allen Alton Guinup was the second of 12 children born to Truman and Julia Guinup in upstate New York on May 20, 1922. Al's parents were sharecroppers, tending to cows and a field of vegetables to support their large family. The Great Depression hit the family hard and Al went to work at age 12 with the Civilian Conservation Corps, earning $30 a month and later cutting lumber in the Adirondacks.

Al was a proud third-generation horseshoer and began his apprenticeship at age 14. His uncle was a blacksmith and his grandpa worked on horses before that.

Al joined the Navy in 1939, trained in San Diego and was at Pearl Harbor when Japan attacked. He spent the next six years on a high-speed minesweeper in the Pacific theatre.

At the conclusion of World War II, Al returned to horseshoeing and apprenticed with a Master Horseshoer, attending to the coal fire, sweeping the floors and paying attention to what would become his life's passion for the remainder of his life.

Al would spend the next 60 years shoeing horses. He was often found at the horse shows smiling and ready to help working the gate or whatever was needed to be done. On several occasions Al was asked to put shoes on the Budweiser Clydesdales. He loved his customers and their owners. Al would say with a laugh, "A lot of people say I have it made because I am my own boss. Well, I have over 500 bosses and they are opinionated."

During the 1960s he took a position with the El Cajon Animal Control. He also was a bouncer for the Bostonia Ballroom during his 20s.
Horses always were the center of his life. He was very protective of their care and was not afraid to scold a young farrier that trimmed a hoof too close to the quick or an owner not treating their horse with respect. Even after hanging up his hammer and chaps, he continued to come to Bar None stables every day to feed the horses and watch kids develop their own love of these creatures.

Al was a fountain of knowledge when it came to doctoring horses with various ailments. His "Horse Bible," as he called it, was a horse book published in the 1880s, filled with Al's notes and diagrams for salves and treatments. If you knew Al, then you know Absorbine Jr. and Campho-Phenique always came in handy.

In the last few days of Al's life, he was still talking about the horses he worked, especially one named Rico. Rico had a bad habit of nipping at people. Al was the only one that Rico would not nip.

Al is survived by three sons and seven grandchildren, and many good friends.

Submitted by Kenneth Guinup


Rocky Retires

From the very moment Rocky arrived mid-circuit of Thermal 2008, he has been a pure joy, After jumping one Level 7 class to warm up, Rocky then placed in almost every Grand Prix he entered that year, culminating with a win of the Los Angeles Jumping Festival World Cup that September.


Rocky, his owner Kimber Butts and Charles White,
partner with Macella O'Neill in Diamond Mountain Stables.

Sidelined with an injury at the start of 2009, Rocky made his "comeback" by winning the Bubba Courtney class in 2009 and then began his successful career with his owner Kimber Butts. In 2011, the duo had several championships in the Adult Amateur Jumpers, including shows where they had "clean sweeps" of the division winning every class! In 2012 they were A/A Champions three weeks during Thermal, ending up Circuit Champion. They followed that up with other Championships last year and have had some wins this year. The time has come to give others a chance to win and let Rocky enjoy his life at Diamond Mountain Stables where he will continue to be the joy he always has been.

Submitted by trainer Macella O'Neill of Diamond Mountain Stables in Calistoga.