This blog is sponsored by the PRO FEET range of hoof care products from NAF

I’ve been back “in the saddle” this week having returned to my training farrier, Kris Parsons. College already seems a long time ago and being under a horse feels a little strange again. I have lost quite a lot of fitness in the month I was at college and the all too familiar leg trembling has returned.

Anyway, I’m hoping for a speedy return to fitness as very soon I’ll adding trimming to my other duties. Trimming is the most important aspect of shoeing and takes the longest to master. Kris has already started prepping me for this work by explaining the rationale of his trimming on each horse.

This part of the farrier’s job is the most crucial. It doesn’t matter how well all other aspects of the job go, if the trim is not right, then the whole job falls apart. I’m quite apprehensive about how well I’ll master trimming but I’m also really excited about it too. It’s a big step forward in my education and will feel like I’m really making a difference to a horse’s well being. I’ll start by trimming the frog and then the sole. By the summer, once those skills have been mastered, I’ll begin trimming the wall and ground-bearing surface.

In the meantime, Kris is really keen for me to improve my shoe-making. I have a lot of work to do on this front and if I am not up to a certain standard by my second block at college in October I will be sent home, with the possibility of being ejected from the farrier training program for good.

Kris is giving me more time in the forge and is really pushing my shoe-making on. He’s also entering me into the Devon County Show shoe-making competition in May. At my current standard I would be utterly humiliated so I am under pressure to improve rapidly. Incidentally, Devon County Show is 19-21 May if you fancy coming along. Kris is running the farriery competition and I’ll be assisting him as well as competing. Yikes — that’s only five weeks away!

Finally, I’d just like to say thank you to the Hand Made Shoes team, who put on a fantastic seminar with Rob Renirie, the Dutch and German Olympic Eventing Team farrier. Rob has been their team farrier for the past five Olympics and gave a very powerful and interesting talk on keeping shoeing simple. There were over 70 farriers at the seminar and we all got a tremendous amount from it. Once again, I’m impressed with the sense of professional interest that prevails amongst farriers who wish to continue to learn and develop their skills and, just as importantly, share ideas with each other and discuss experiences. It confirms, once more, that I am part of something that I really believe in, enjoy and get a professional buzz from.

Until next week

Roland

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