Roland’s nags and nails: early spring and missing shoes

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

    It feels like spring. At least the horses seem to think it’s spring and they’re turning themselves “inside out” out in their fields. As a result we’ve had an unusually high number of lost shoes, which we have to find time to put back on in our busy schedule.

    As a farrier, you can never be sure what hours you will work. Try as you might to be home at a reasonable time, there’s no controlling when a horse might spread a shoe or lose one altogether. It’s sods law that a horse will lose a shoe when we have to be home at a certain time. That’s almost a given! Because we’re busy, we have no option but to deal with call-outs promptly otherwise the workload will back-up.

    Another sign of spring coming early is the high number of new customer enquiries we have had. Usually, Kris, my training farrier, would expect to have such calls in March as people start to bring their horses on for the summer activities. Perhaps the mild weather has brought forward people’s plans?

    My own plans are to keep pushing hard towards my next milestones. I’m doing more fee-earning work as my trimming is improving and I hope that I’m becoming more useful to Kris and easing the work load a bit.

    I’ve also noticed that I’m starting to see and understand hoof conformation and the various abnormalities such as flat, sloping and upright a bit more. Kris will often ask me to explain how I intend to trim a particular horse or pony based on its conformation.

    It used to be a complete enigma to me as I stared hard at the legs of my intended project. Was it “broken back” or “broken forward” or did the pasterns and hoof angle line up. If only it would stand still and stand squarely!!? Not a chance!

    Were the feet symmetrical or not and, if not, what would I do? Anyway, these assessments are becoming easier and a feel I’m starting to get my eye in a bit.

    The horses, however, never seem to stand squarely or still unless I pretend I’m not looking. I often ask myself: “How do they know I’m an apprentice? And how do they know how to be as unhelpful as possible?”

    Until next week,



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