Roland’s nags and nails: busy times as the sun shines

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

    Last week has been the busiest so far in my short farriery career — now 14 weeks and counting. Kris, my training farrier, went on holiday last Friday so we have had to fit in as many customers as humanly possible to make up for him not being around for the lead up to Easter. It’s been intense!

    Although Kris is now on holiday, Alex (the 4th year apprentice who is usually in Kris’s second van) is now my boss so shoeing continues at a frantic pace, including working through our lunch break! It has been a truly massive week with very early starts and late finishes. And it’s likely to continue like that for the foreseeable future, as Kris being away will have a knock on effect for a few more weeks to come.

    On top of that, just to add further stress to an already burgeoning appointment list, we have taken on quite a few new customers all needing shoeing urgently. Before we know it, it will be the Devon County Show farriery competition (19-21 May), which Kris organises, and this will again put huge pressures on Kris’ diary. It’s looking like it’s going to be a very busy summer.

    Anyway, before heading off on his holls, Kris found time to introduce me to sole and frog trimming, which has been a very exciting addition to my other duties. This is a big step up in my education and I now feel I’m really beginning to contribute to the workload. I am a bit tentative when taking the frog and sole excess away, as all the time I’m very aware of how sharp my knives are. I would absolutely hate to cut a horse so, until I get familiar with the trimming techniques, I’ll go slowly and carefully.

    Finally, I’m seeing many yards in the daylight for the first time, which has been very confusing as I keep thinking we are arriving at a new customer’s yard. As it turns out, we’ve been shoeing at those yards all winter, but in the dark and with the assistance of head torches. I am hopeful that by the time I take over Kris’ 2nd van from Alex, I’ll be more familiar with hisextensive round. If not, I’ll be spending more time map reading than shoeing!

    Until next week,



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